Disclaimer: I am a life long fan of the ridiculously named Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I say this because there will be some who say my writing is slanted against the Dodgers. I hope the post below dispels this. I am a fan of baseball. And just because I am not a fan of the Los Angeles Dodger’s, that doesn’t mean my intent is to knock them.
I grew up in Southern California. My father, was a fan of the Dodger’s. All kids try to be different from their parents. Too me, the Dodger’s and the National League in general seemed to be stale. It was boring baseball. Well, compared to the exciting hitting in the American League. I mean come on. The American League has the designated hitter. Oh ok. I’ll admit it. I’m a huge baseball fan. But, as I grew older, I came to appreciate the tradition of baseball. I gained more respect for the National League. Of course, living in a town that plays host to a National League team (The Rockies) probably helps. I follow baseball teams on my phone. I keep track of trades during the off season. I’m one of those geeks who keeps a score card during a live game. I’ll even listen to a Dodger game just so I can hear Vin Scully’s voice. I can’t think of anything I don’t like about baseball.
When I first heard about the tragic events that occurred at Dodger Stadium last week, I was stunned, but not surprised. Following the opening day game between the Los Angeles Dodger’s and San Francisco Giant’s, 42 y/o Brian Stow of Santa Cruz, was attacked from behind (such manly behavior). Once knocking him unconscious, the suspects continued to kick and beat him. They then drove away and remain at large. Mr. Stow, a Giants fan, is now in critical care at LA County USC Hospital. He is in a medically induced coma. The left half of his skull has been removed to relieve pressure on his brain. And he may have to have his frontal lobe removed. All of this because he wore a Giant’s jersey to the game. That make sense, really. I mean, if you dare cheer for the opposing team, you should be pummeled, tarred and feathered until you leave town. Unbelievable.
As tragic as this incident sounds, it get worse. A reward for the capture of these two cowards has been offered by the two teams, LA County Supervisors and the employer of Mr. Stow. But, and there is a but. It’s big. And it’s the reason I am writing this. The Dodger’s organization has only offered $25,000 toward the reward. Is Mrs. McCourt forgoing getting her nails done this week? Besides the low amount offered by the Dodger organization, there has been very little outside of a joint statement. No compassion toward the family. No hospital visits by team officials. No assurances by the team that this will never happen again. No details about what the team and the LAPD are going to do to make sure this will never happen again.
This may look like an isolated incident. But, it was just a powder keg waiting to erupt. I’ve been hearing for years now from friends who won’t take their families to Dodger games. An element of the crowd has become both verbally and physically abusive. It’s almost like the L.A. Raiders fans needed a place to go after their team left town.
I hate to think what Walter O’Malley and Branch Rickey would think about their former teams if they were alive today. You tell me. If you were looking for place to take your kids for a fun day at the ballpark, where would you go? Would you go to Chavez Ravine to possibly put your family at risk by unruly “fans”? Or enjoy a fun game down the freeway in Anaheim?
So, I’ve complained. But, what do I think the Dodger’s should do? First of all, they should get in front of this PR disaster and up the reward to at least $100,000. Before every game, the police sketches and descriptions of the suspects should be put on the big screen until they are apprehended. And they should state that they will do whatever it takes to crack down on the disgusting element that now pervades every game. I even heard a creative solution this morning. Dress undercover officers in the jersey’s of the visiting team and scatter them around the stadium. The second someone gets verbally abusive, take them out of there.
No matter how serious you get about sports, there is one thing that remains a fact. It’s just entertainment. Plain and simple. No one deserves to be beaten and possibly killed because they dare cheer for the team who is playing against your favorite team.