Two years ago, the Rangers unveiled a memorial to Shannon Stone, the fan who fell to his death while trying to catch a ball during a 2011 game. Standing just outside the home plate entrance gate at Globe Life Park, it features Stone and his son, and is dedicated to all baseball fans. It's also a handy place to leave your empties.
The photo, tweeted out by Kami Mattioli before yesterday's opening day game, quickly made the rounds and became a source of embarrassment and anger for the club and fans. The plinth of the sculpture, littered with trash, mostly beers.
This is the statue of the Rangers fan who fell to his death at the ballpark in '11. Look what people did to it today. pic.twitter.com/zaZgRnMl7W
— Kami Mattioli (@kmattio) April 1, 2014
Late last night, the Rangers released this statement:
"The Rangers certainly regret and apologize for the trash that accumulated on the Rangers Fans statue at the home plate gate this afternoon. With thousands of opening day fans, many of whom had been tailgating, entering the park in the 30 minutes before game time, large amounts of cans, bottles, and other items that are prohibited in the park, accumulated at all entrances. Numerous clean up calls came into the maintenance department in this period, and the club utilized a large number of employees to continually remove the vast amount of trash that was accumulating. The debris on the statue was removed in a timely manner but it should not have been allowed to be placed there in the first place. The Rangers Fans statue is a cherished component of Globe Life Park in Arlington and the club will make certain this situation does not occur in the future."
Why has this never been an issue before? The Dallas Morning News claims that new security regulations have resulted in fewer trash cans being available outside the ballpark. Anyone who's ever been to any sporting event—where outside food and drink are banned, and bags are rigorously searched upon entry—knows the area just outside the gate quickly turns into a dump. The sculpture suffered for being the only available spot to leave trash. If the Rangers provide more receptacles in the area, the problem will go away. Because fans aren't malicious; they're just lazy.