The Arizona baseball fan who narrowly escaped a 20-foot plunge while trying to catch a ball says all he recalls of the incident is the frantic screams of those around him and worries that his brother, who reached in to save his life, would be able to hold him.
- After near-death fall, Keith Carmickle to donate proceeds to foundation for Texas Rangers fan
Carmickle fell after climbing onto a table just 18 inches wide and leaning forward precariously over the railing in front of his right-field bleacher seats to try and catch a ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers star Prince Fielder during Major League Baseball's All-Star Home Run Derby at Chase Field, Phoenix, on Monday night.
"I was using bad judgment on my part," Carmickle told "GMA."
"When it came off the bat it seemed like it was coming directly at us," he said of the moments before the accident occurred. "I stepped up on the ladder and tumbled overboard before I realized what had even happened."
Carmickle fell over the railing headfirst before being grabbed by his brother, Kraig Carmickle, a friend, Aaron Nelson, and other spectators, who managed to save him from the estimated 20-foot fall to the stadium's pool deck.
"I had his arm and his leg while he was falling over," Kraig said on "GMA." "It seemed like forever, like everything slowed down, but it was just seconds."
Carmickle's near-death fall came on the same day as the funeral of Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter who fell to his death while trying to catch a ball for his young son thrown into the stands by Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
"I can only imagine what the Stone family is going through," said Kraig.
Stone's death and Carmickle's close call have raised questions about the safety of major league ballparks, and whether it is the fans who put themselves at risk by reaching for foul balls or the league and the teams who are not adequately protecting the fans.
"In the moment, I don't think people understand, but the Home Run Derby is a pretty big thing," Keith said. "You're just watching people just go and go after the sports memorabilia."
"I've learned a lot," he said of precautions he'll take in any future sports outings.
Keith and Kraig had already caught home run balls by Robinson Cano and Adrian Gonzalez on Monday night and were looking to add another to their collection when the Brewers' Fielder stepped up to bat.
"I was looking at the home run and saw my brother fall and couldn't believe it was happening," remembered Kraig. "But I grabbed his arm and I wasn't letting go. That's a brother's love."
The brothers announced on "GMA" that they plan to auction the remaining home run baseballs they caught at the Derby on the auction site eBay and donate the proceeds to the foundation established by the family of Shannon Stone.
"Keith is alive, he's right next to me," said Kraig. "This is something we can do, something to help the Stone family."