Since day one of the 2011 baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers organization has been a total mess, inside and out. As a lifelong fan of the team, which has turned into a obsession the last seven years of my life, I feel it best to use this forum to speak my mind on some of the events that have occurred these past few months.
It’s definitely well known by now what happened on opening day - a few gang-bangers jumped a middle aged man because he was wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey. Is that all there is to the story? Maybe, maybe not. Is it safe to assume that’s all that happened? That two or so drunk thugs jumped a man, blindsiding him and beating him till he was unconscious, JUST because he was in a San Francisco Giants Jersey? In my opinion, it definitely is. If that sounds ludicrous to you, then you haven’t been to Dodger Stadium nearly as much as me.
Dodger Stadium in the last few years has been neither family friendly, nor safe in any aspect of the word. Since 2004 I have seen countless senseless acts of violence, verbal abuse, or otherwise at the hands of people who simply don’t care about a baseball game. The atmosphere has deteriorated as this type of behavior has been ignored by the organization because the attendance numbers the Dodgers have raked in the last few years are right up there with the Yankees, no complaints when it comes to ticket sales. Because of this, we have people like the accused who are in custody for beating Bryan Stow, who attend games simply to align themselves with a new color. People wearing other jerseys are enemies to them - they are neither men with children, or fans who simply want a Dodger dog and to enjoy a ballgame of their visiting team. The kind of mentality that has sunk in from being a Dodger fan is absolutely repulsive to me. I often read fans suggesting those who dare wear jerseys of other teams get what they deserve, and in the early days of the Bryan Stow case this attitude was definitely prevalent. There simply is no excuse for this type of attitude, especially when it comes to sports teams. In this case, if you suggest that he was asking for it, you fall into the category as the person who thinks; “her skirt is kinda short, so she was probably asking for it” as well. Your psychological issues have nothing to do with a man who was sucker punched and then put into a coma. Even more tired are the Angelinos who like to reference the violence in sports in merely a tradition, that fans at football matches in the UK and beyond nearly kill each other all the time. Who cares? Nothing in this country is as beloved as football is to those fans. Here in the US we have many options, including MLS. No one cares about soccer riots, and just because you watched a DVD on Hooliganism does not mean you can punch a fan because he was minding his own business, wearing a Cincinnati Reds jersey. If you fall in line with this way of thinking, do the real fans a favor - stay home and shut up.
Can a visiting fan provoke another Dodger fan? Sure, but that isn’t the focus here, and I’ve come to realize this is rarely the case. Even if Mr. Stow was the boogey man before this incident, I could never bring myself to hold him responsible since this truly is rarely the case. This is about a Mets fan who is in line for the bathroom at a playoff game, chatting with a Dodger fan behind him, who gets bum rushed and assaulted by some other Dodger “fans” because of his jersey. This is the Giants fan who is with his ten year old kid, getting a beer poured over his head while the kid watches for merely walking through the reserve level. This is another Giants fan walking through the loge level with his hot dog, minding his own business while his team is down to the boys in blue, and gets sucker punched, with an emphasis on the sucker. The other Mets fan beaten in the bathroom during the playoffs, the Reds fan who was showered with peanuts and beer, the Pirates (!) fan who one gangbanger shouted, “F**k your flag”, before pulverizing him. That one still baffles me to this day. The stadium being overrun by cholos, thugs, and just plain meatheads needs to be put to an end, and I hope this is finally on the horizon despite it taking the misfortunes of Bryan Stow to get us there.
Here are the basics: Dodger stadium has not been safe or secure for a while now. The lawsuit announced today by the family of Bryan Stow is in no way unjust, and also would be completely beneficial to the true baseball fans of Los Angeles and around the country who wish to visit our stadium. The stadium is a cathedral. It is gigantic, glowing of perfect green grass and the retro-colored seats, appearing untouched since the day it was built rather than refurbished and well-kept. The retro lights, and the darkness of the parking lot at night, and the inability to reach any officials during or after the game is disturbing, to say the least.
In May 2005, the stadium held the infamous “two dollar Tuesdays”. The result was disastrous. Besides a heap of totally unruly, idiotic fans causing hysteria throughout the game - an incident saw fans littering the outfield grass with hordes of trash after stadium security apprehended an idiot who ran onto the field. It was almost a relief to witness it in person, as I didn’t have to hear the shame in Vin Scully’s voice on television when such a sad, disrespectful act was committed. Along with all the fights that ensued at those games, Frank McCourt knew things had to change. Yadda, yadda, yadda. He hired off duty LAPD officers to roam the grounds full time, and they were permitted to do so in full police uniform. Where did that go, though? That was 6 years ago, it has came and gone, and where are we now? In a massive parking lot that has enough room for massive flea markets, as well as just massive amounts of commercials, where are the security to oversee everything? Where is that revenue going?
Bryan Stow’s family deserves, and needs, to be paid for every last cent that they would ever need. Because of his condition, and the fact that it is still unknown if he will ever wake up, he needs 24 hour care. Think of those medical bills, especially these days - it is truly frightening. He has two children who now may be deprived of a father, because he wanted to watch a baseball game at our stadium. Frank McCourt’s organization allowed this to happen, because violence at the stadium was never an issue until it was on the front page. These thugs were welcomed as they were just mere dollar signs. The organization no longer belongs to Frank McCourt, nor will it ever again. The fans that attend the games should not fear authority or any security, and should not tolerate idiocy. Despite the horrific events that have occurred, the true baseball fans of Los Angeles can take back what is theirs, and will know how to share their stadium.
Otherwise? You can get used to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Regardless of the financial outcome of the lawsuit, if you have an extra buck or two you can donate to Bryan Stow and his family at http://www.support4bryanstow.