Tags: texas | rangers | nolan | ryan

Baseball Fan’s Memorial Sends Wrong Message

By Chris Freind   |   Monday, 22 Aug 2011 09:40 AM

Is bad judgment becoming commonplace? And whatever happened to honesty? The following stories from the headlines spotlight every day decision-making.

Last month, as Texas Rangers fan Shannon Stone attempted to catch a ball, he leaned too far over a railing and tragically plunged to his death.

The railings exceeded height requirements, and there appears to be no negligence that contributed to his demise.

Because of that mistake, innocent as it was, he leaves behind his wife and small son. (One important point here: most media reports stress Stone was a firefighter, which is irrelevant. He fell as a fan, not a firefighter in the line of duty. Almost all other professions would not merit being mentioned, nor should they. Such reporting only obscures the issue.)

In a bad display of judgment, the Rangers decided to memorialize Stone by erecting a statue of him at the ballpark. Why would they sanction an avoidable mistake?

Rangers President Nolan Ryan explained: "We feel that this statue will be a most fitting tribute . . . to honor Mr. Stone's memory, [and] to recognize . . . baseball fans everywhere."

So the best idea to honor fans is to memorialize someone whose bad judgment caused his death?

The following story shows that faith in mankind can really ltake a beating.

As the motorcycle rider was traveling on Interstate 476, the car in front was exiting the highway. But seeing the ramp clogged with traffic, the motorist crossed over a median to re-enter the highway — without looking — and caused the cyclist to crash.

The bike traveled 200 more feet minus the driver, who lay in shock, bleeding profusely.

The motorist never stopped.

Even worse, three drivers who witnessed the accident slowed down, gawked at the motionless body, and kept going. Guess the ball game was more important than saving a life.

Pennsylvania has a Good Samaritan law. Unequivocally, there was no excuse not to help, and simply calling 911 doesn’t cut it. To the elderly couple that did stop, stabilizing the victim and placing themselves in harm’s way, a tip of the hat.

You know how those folks are called the Greatest Generation? Nothing could be truer.

But just when you thought the world’s gone completely mad, a story emerges that rekindles faith. What just occurred in Minnesota is nothing short of remarkable, and America gained a new hero.

Pat Smith is the father of 11-year old twin boys, Nate and Nick. They bought raffle tickets for the chance at $50,000, but to win, one had to shoot a hockey puck through a small slot 89 feet away. Which could never happen — except it did.

Nate’s arm had just been in a cast, so Nick’s name was written on the ticket. But Nick wasn’t there.

Here’s the catch. Nick’s name was called, though, and Nate, who had just gotten out of the cast, took the winning shot. Being identical twins, who would ever know that Nate was the actual shooter?

No one. And the Smith family would be $50,000 richer.

This didn’t sit well with Pat Smith, and he informed officials. In other words, he told the truth, knowing that the prize money would likely evaporate.

Undoubtedly, we’d like to think that we would do the same thing. But with bird-in-hand and a clean “getaway” virtually assured, reality is such that the number of honest folks would be small.

Smith believed his good judgment would teach the meaning of right and wrong, and that honesty truly was the best policy.  “You've got to do what's right," he said, adding, "You don't want to teach kids to lie no matter how much money is involved . . . we wanted to set a good example.”

The unique American dream is founded upon honesty, trustworthiness and that which is under constant attack — morality.

Mr. Smith, not only did you succeed with your kids, but you set an example for the nation. And you can’t buy that — not with $50,000, nor with 50 million.

It is a priceless lesson, and one for the only record book that really matters. And to think all it took was good judgment.

An accredited member of the media, Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, www.FreindlyFireZone.com He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com

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