A spectator died from a fall from the upper deck at Turner Field on Saturday night at the Yankees-Braves game.
The fan reportedly jeered Alex Rodriguez, inserted into the game as a pinch hitter, as he fell over a railing. The man, described as in his sixties, dropped fifty feet to the concrete below after first hitting a railing.
“We have received confirmation that the fan involved in an accident at this evening’s game has passed away,” the Atlanta Braves explained in a statement. “The Atlanta Braves offer their deepest condolences to the family. At this time, all inquiries will be directed to the Atlanta Police Department as this is an ongoing investigation.”
Despite the jarring incident, the game continued; Alex Rodriguez walked in that seventh-inning at-bat and the Yankees won the game 3-1.
The death marks the third such fan fatality at Turner Field, according to the Death at the Ballpark website. In 2008, Justin Hayes, 25, slid on a railing at Turner Field when he slipped and fell fifty feet to his death onto a concrete area behind home plate. In 2013, 30-year-old Ronald Homer died after a fall after he stumbled or jumped over a three-and-a-half-foot wall at Turner Field. Investigators ruled the death a suicide but the family contends the man slipped during a rain delay as he took a smoke break.
Similar incidents have occurred at other major-league parks. In 2010, a 51-year-old fan at Miller Park died of a brain injury after reaching for a ball and falling 15 feet. The following year, a 25-year-old man died after sliding down a railing at Coors Field. That same year fireman Shannon Stone died attempting to catch a ball for his son thrown to him by Josh Hamilton at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.
Critics of ballpark safety point to alcohol, steep upper-decks, and short barrier railings as factors in some previous deadly ballpark falls. Prior to Saturday night’s death, Major League Baseball debated whether to enhance fan safety by mandating increased netting to protect fans from flying balls and bats.