As Alex Rodriguez approached home plate at Turner Field in Atlanta, a section of the crowd let out a disturbing shout. The players were unfazed by the noise and chatter in the stands, but those nearby the shouting witnessed a man come crashing down from the upper deck of the field.
That fan was later identified as Gregory Murrey, an Alpharetta, Ga., native who was hospitalized and pronounced dead later that night, according to a statement by the Atlanta Braves.
“Gregory ‘Ace’ Murrey was a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, and friend to many,” his family said in a statement to CNN. “He dearly loved his family, Atlanta, and the Atlanta Braves. Greg was a season ticket holder with the same seats for 23 years. The night Greg passed away, he was doing one of his favorite things – watching the Braves.”
The Atlanta Braves organization addressed the stunning and unfortunate events involving Murrey shortly after the game was completed.
“The Atlanta Braves are deeply saddened by the loss of Greg Murrey at last night’s game,” the team said in a statement. “Greg was a valued and longtime season ticket holder and an incredibly passionate Braves fan. This tragic loss is felt throughout Braves Country, and the thoughts and prayers of the entire Braves organization continue to go out to his family and friends.”
This type of accident, which Atlanta police did not believe was caused by foul play, isn’t the first time Turner Field has dealt with fatal events.
In what was ruled a suicide during the 2013 season, a man jumped from 85 feet in the upper levels of the field all the way to his death. In a 2011 game between the Braves and Rangers, a fan fell to his death as he reached out with his glove trying to catch a baseball that was fouled into the stands. The fan lost his balance, flipped over the railing and crashed head first into an outfield scoreboard.
In the same 2011 season, a man who was under the influence died while attempting to slide down a railing at Coors Field during a Colorado Rockies home game.
A fatal event is the last thing anyone is expecting to occur while at a Major League Baseball game. The league has yet to make any changes to safety specifically in the upper balconies. However, if this becomes a more frequent trend, look for changes to be made.