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New Safety Initiatives for Rangers Ballpark

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Texas Rangers say they are raising the height of all rails in front of seating sections. (Published Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011)

    The Texas Rangers have announced new safety initiatives for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

    Though the ballpark's rails are currently higher than code requires, the team said it is raising the heights of all rails in front of seating areas to the highest standards in the United States.

    Ballpark Raises Safety Levels

    [DFW] Ballpark Raises Safety Levels
    New safety measures are being implemented at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. (Published Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011)

    Rangers executive vice president Rob Matwick said Tuesday that the team's intention is for all rails in the front of seating sections to be 42 inches throughout the ballpark.

    Design and engineering of these rails is under way.

    Hundreds Gather to Remember Shannon Stone

    [DFW] Hundreds Gather to Remember Shannon Stone
    Nearly 1,000 friends, family and well-wishers also attended a private memorial, where witnesses say Stone was remembered fondly for his kindness, love of baseball and skill as both a firefighter and a loving dad. (Published Monday, Jul 11, 2011)

    Railings around the ballpark now are 30 or 34 inches in most areas, with 42-inch rails already at the base of aisles that lead to the front row. City building requirements are that guardrails must be at least 26 inches high.

    In the meantime, new signs are being installed on railings stating, "Do not lean, sit on, or stand against rail."

    Players, Fans Pay Respect to Stone

    [DFW] Players, Fans Pay Respect to Stone
    The Texas Rangers and thousands of fans paused for a moment of silence in honor of Shannon Stone, a fan who fell and died at the ballpark. (Published Saturday, Jul 9, 2011)

    Railings in front of all outfield seating from foul pole to foul pole and all upper-lever seating, including the suite levels, will have the signs.

    Pre-game warnings with the same information will be announced on the public address system and scoreboards, and customer service staff and security will enforce the policy.

    Many called for new safety measures after the death of Shannon Stone, who fell behind the left field scoreboard and died from his injuries in early July.

    Matwick said the railing in the area where Stone fell is 34 inches.

    Security personnel were placed at the base of each aisle in left field the next game after Stone fell. Matwick said the plan is to keep those personnel in place in the immediate future, meaning there will be an extra six of seven workers in that area each game.

    The Rangers' next home game is Friday night.

    Matwick said the team is hopeful that the architectural and engineering studies will be completed in "probably a few weeks." He said the process has already begun to measure each rail section to verify exactly what is in place.

    No work on the railings can be done until the studies are completed. Those will help determine if new railing will be needed or if current railing can be updated at the stadium that opened in 1994.

    "We need to check and make sure that the way that the rails are currently anchored can support additional structure on top," Matwick said. "It's just a question of whether it can be done in existing structure or whether it has to be retrofitted. It's not a question of whether or not it can be done, just a question of whether or not we have to retrofit. That could potentially take some more time, we just don't know that yet."

    Matwick said the team's goal would be to start the work on the railings "during the season if we absolutely can." He said it was difficult now to determine when that would be or when the work could be completed.

    "The safety of our fans is our top priority," Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan said in a news release. "The initiatives we are announcing today for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will help to ensure that we meet that priority."

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.