BROWNWOOD, Texas - Opening Day of baseball season at Globe Life Park in Arlington -- home of the Texas Rangers -- ended on a bit of a sour note, due to fans leaving beer cans on a memorial of a late Brownwood firefighter.
Brownwood Fire Chief Del Albright said he understands people did not commit the act with malice, but he hopes fans in the future will pay more attention and give more respect to fallen hero Shannon Stone.
Stone fell over a railing at a Texas Rangers game three years ago and died. He was trying to catch a ball for his son.
The Rangers organization issued an apology via Twitter.
"It's disheartening to see that on statues," Albright said. "This definitely meant something to not only us at the fire department, but it was a monument to the fathers and sons that go to the baseball games."
""It wasn't really an attack on the statue so we're not taking it personally," Assistant Fire Chief Grady Shuey said. "It was more like big crowd, Opening Day, and there was a lot of stuff they couldn't take in the park with them so they just looked for a place to set it down, not even thinking about it..."
People in the community were visibly upset about the incident.
"When I saw the picture on Facebook, I was angry," said Amanda Deeds, an Early resident and Stone's family friend. "It took a lot of hard work to get that memorial up and people are just disgracing it. There are workers nearby so I don't understand why they didn't clean it up before it got out of hand."
"I'm not in agreement with it at all," said Mark Cope, one of Stone's neighbors. "I was very disappointed. I thought it was very disrespectful and inconsiderate. It's a shame that they would do that."
Stone served with the Brownwood Fire Department for nearly 18 years.
"I think the Texas Rangers officials handled the situation well, and I just want the community to remember to just throw trash away," Albright said.
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