April 11

All the right notes were sounded at A T and T Park Monday night before the Giants and Dodgers met in the opener of their three-game series. Jeremy Affeldt of the Giants and Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers said what needed to be said. There was an appeal for fan sanity following the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow at the Dodgers’ home opener.

Giants players made sure their former teammate, Juan Uribe, got his World Series ring on the field. Their message was simple: we fight hard to win during the game, but when it’s over the rivalry is set aside … and if the players aren’t at war with each other, fans should not be either.

As I drove home listening to Affeldt and Carroll speak, I just shook my head. It’s hard to believe we need these kinds of speeches to tell us how to act at a game, but it has come to this for a small percentage of fans.

Maybe Monday night’s appeal kept some borderline loon from exacting revenge, but in all likelihood, the people who really needed to hear it were nowhere in sight.

The people who attacked Stow are probably long gone now. They are either hiding among their “colleagues” or are nowhere near Los Angeles. The people who attacked Stow were probably not real fans, but criminals.

However, it’s still worthwhile to talk about fan behavior at a time when emotions are raw. It’s also worthwhile to continue raising money to cover Stow’s medical bills, which will pile up as high as an outfield wall. Fundraisers were held in San Francisco and at Dodger Stadium Monday.

Dodger Stadium is not like it was when I grew up in Los Angeles, when fans were given a hard time for being too genteel. It has become a more dangerous place in the last decade and the team has been slow to react. That created an atmosphere in which hooligans wearing Dodger gear could carry out a wanton attack on innocent strangers.

However, I don’t think these cretins represent all Dodger fans. In fact, hardly any. And this problem is not confined to Chavez Ravine.

Giants fans were generally classy Monday night, and hopefully they will stay that way, but there has been a history of violence both in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Those days should be over. For good. At least they should, if we’ve learned anything as sports fans.

Rivalry ? Keep it going. Smack talk ? Cool. Tossing popcorn ? Infantile but not the worst thing in the world. Laying a hand on your fellow baseball fan ? Verboten.

Feeling unsafe for wearing your team’s jersey in an opposing stadium ? Extremely uncool. That must end, now.

Fans in Los Angeles, San Francisco and elsewhere need to honor Stow and his family by using that filter that tells us not to do something stupid. Then they need to continue funding Stow’s medical costs. Finally, they need to keep praying for Stow, and thank the stars it wasn’t them.


2 Responses to “Sanity”

  1. ScottBASP Says:

    Well put. As fans we often forget that rivalries enrich our experience. Without them, sports would be mundane, if not meaningless. In such a light, we must remember that it is the “team” we dislike, not the followers of that team. We neeed those opposing fans.

    On an unrelated note, I enjoyed your spot hostings of Sportsphone. I don’t know if you wanted the full-time gig, but you would have done well in that slot. Byrnes is doing great as well. So, I’m not trying to detract from his work, but I felt as though you have a good, inviting voice/tone/personality for radio (insert face joke here).

  2. Paulie in San Ramon Says:

    My memories of my first Dodger Stadium visit are vivid, and also less than two years old. I was nervous, defensive, and on guard. I was with my Santa Monica-born Dodger blue-clad girlfriend, and was…ready, I guess. What followed was unexpected. I was greeted wonderfully and warm by a host at the gate, given directions from hospitable fans (I mean GENUINE directions!!) and was felt so welcome I forgot who won the game. Weird, I tellya!
    Ironically, it’s probably never been safer to wear Giants garb in Dodger Stadium. One out of line comment and you can retort, “What are you gonna do, me put me in a medically-induced coma?”

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