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New Incident, Old Story: Violence at Dodger Stadium

April 2nd, 2011 · 27 Comments · Abu Dhabi, Angels, Baseball, Dodgers

This was an issue before I fled the country. Actually, it has been an issue for about 10 years now.

Going to a game at Dodger Stadium can be just … plain … dangerous.

It appears that two men dressed in Dodgers apparel attacked a Giants fan after the game on Opening Day and beat him so severely he remains hospitalized.

This is a public-relations disaster, as you might expect.

How can we tell? Because as of this writing, at 12:55 p.m. PDT today, it is the “most sent story” on ESPN.com. And when I last looked at the story, 2,748 (!) comments had been posted on it, many of them along the lines of “I don’t go to games at Dodger Stadium because I don’t feel safe.”

Aside from what appears to be the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, what is new about this?

It may be a dirty little secret, nationally, where the perception is that Dodgers fans are ultra-mellow. You know, “they come late and leave early!” thing. Too cool for school.

In point of fact, Dodger Stadium has been filled with dozens, maybe even hundreds of thugs almost every game for years now. Obscenity-spewing, tatted-up gangsters, often-drunk, who can ruin a game for anyone in their vicinity.

They are particularly common in the pavilions and the top deck, but almost no part of the stands are safe, aside from the most expensive seats on the field level.

Frank McCourt is a bad owner. We know that. But his biggest failing is not adequately addressing what appears to be an ongoing, perhaps even growing problem with bad-acting fans.

The Dodgers need to limit alcohol sales. They need to turn away “fans” wearing gang-style clothes or tattoos. They need to have security personnel constantly scanning the stands. And they need to eject, immediately, any of the louts who misbehave beyond booing the opposition.

Bad language, drunkenness, even the threat of violence … that guy is gone. But not before the club takes his name and mug shot and keep them in their files — and check any attempt to buy tickets via mail against the “bad actor” files.

And, clearly, the club needs to have people in the parking lots to attempt to limit the sort of thuggery that nearly got a Giants fan killed.

Again, it’s a dirty little secret across the rest of the country, but Dodgers fans have known for years that Dodger Stadium often is a dangerous, uncomfortable place to be. It is no secret around here. It is a leading reason why many fans now go to Angel Stadium or even Petco Park in San Diego — to find a sedate and safe baseball environment.

Maybe a national shaming will prompt the Dodgers to get tough on punks and thugs. But with Frank McCourt around, don’t count on it.

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27 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Yanks951 // Apr 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I agree went to Dodgers Yankees last June. First they screw you with the mini plan nonsense then you can’t even have a good time because of the rowdy drunks. Stop serving alcohol and you will see how many true Dodger fans show up about 25%

  • 2 Koofax // Apr 3, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I have been a Dodger season ticket holder for 6 years and have never once felt unsafe at a game. Of course, my seats are in the loge. All of the problems are in the so-called “cheap” seats. But, there are no more issues at Dodger Stadium than there are at any other ballpark where alcohol is served. When the beer is more expensive than the ticket, you have a problem in the making.

    Meanwhile, I have friends who have felt unsafe in other stadiums, most noteworthy the Phils ballpark. He and his children were verbally and almost physically abuse at a World Series game!!!

  • 3 Dodger Tony // Apr 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Paul,

    While the substance of your article is accurate, I beg to differ with you on one particular point. The top deck is rarely where this kind of activity occurs. It is the reserved level and pavilion. In all my years of going to the top deck, it is almost always inhabited by school and civic groups and “alta cockers” (yiddish for old farts). I have never experienced anything remotely problematic up that high and over to the end of the world in right field where I sit by the Koreatown sign (I think that changes sometimes as well). I have enjoyed the games for years there and with the ancient mariners who sit center up near the Dodger tower with their scorecard, old transistor radios and tuna fish sandwiches, then walk down the stairs to take the shuttle. You gotta know how to do this thing, man. Still, as much of a devil’s advocate I’m playing, it is criminal behavior on the part of McCourt and MLB for allowing this family to own this franchise and for the city to continue to support him. But, the smallest attendance for a Dodger/Giant home series since 2003 is a good sign, my friends. Hit him where it hurts, attendance is the only way to get him out.

  • 4 Dodger Tony // Apr 3, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    In addition, a BIGGER secret is that many of the same fans are now Angel fans, drive down to Anaheim but wouldn’t dare behave that way in a stadium that is designed properly and normally, to protect fans from this kind of menace. Bottom line is if the owner of the Dodgers cannot guarantee a safe environment, is it incumbent on the mayor to close down Dodger Stadium until it is deemed safe.

  • 5 CJ // Apr 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Gotta disagree there, Dodger Tony. I was at a Dodgers-Pirates game a few years back and the “fans” in the upper deck were pelting a guy in a Pirates jersey with every piece of garbage they could find. Security stood there and laughed at the guy as he was pleading for their help. I was told by a thuggish “fan” sitting near me that the only reason I was not enduring the same fate was that my Pirates jersey was Roberto Clemente.

    Oh, and at the time, the Dodgers were winning by double digit runs. They treat every visiting team’s fan like Giants fans.

    I have been to games in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and 20 other stadiums. Dodger Stadium is the only one were I have feared for my safety.

  • 6 Michael Beltran // Apr 3, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    My wife and I grew up loving the Dodgers and were regulars fans until the McCourts purchased the team. While the problem was less acute before 2004, you could see the roots of it taking place in the Reserved section and the Pavilions. Loud, hostile, hard drinking fans. Many of these guys had the thug/homeboy gang-type appearance.
    My friends say the problem has grown exponentially in the past few years. While the primary blame for crude & violent behavior lies with those who engage in it, the McCourt ownership is also responsible. They have let this beautiful gem of a franchise rot away. They have embraced people like Manny Ramirez & Snoop Dogg, individuals who are 180 degrees different from the values of the organization of the past. Many lifelong Dodger fans stay away for these reasons and others. I feel sorry for tourist who come to watch their team play the Dodgers. Heckling? Sure, repeated verbal abuse, being targets of flying objects, being assaulted? NO ONE deserves that. What happened last Thursday is not a remote incident, it is the evidence of a much deeper cancer. New ownership is not the only answer, not by a mile. But it’s an important step in the right direction…

  • 7 skyharbor // Apr 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    “It is extremely unfortunate that this incident took place on what was otherwise a great day at Dodger Stadium for tens of thousands of fans.”

    That statement alone tells you all you need to know about Josh Rawitch and Frank McCourt…two names that will be linked forever to one of the darkest days in Dodger history. The McCourt/Rawitch team will only behave appropriately in this and every other situation at Dodger Stadium if they determine the almighty dollar is at stake. Then they will don their Boy Scout uniforms and try to rehabilitate their despicable reputations in order to sell tickets. And what will they do about the hundreds or maybe thousands of parents announcing their unwillingness to risk their children’s safety at Dodger Stadium. Frank and Josh will do nothing until the kids are old enough to buy beer.

  • 8 scott // Apr 3, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    I went to a Cubs game at Dodger stadium last year. I had heard about the stabbing 2 years ago, so decided against wearing my Cubs gear. After the frisking just to get into the stadium, I felt like I was inside of a prison as opposed to a baseball stadium. It was a bunch of hammered, mostly Mexicans, stumbling around yelling at eachother. trying to cat-call the barely teenage girls in attendance. when the game started, it was the same type guys swearing, using racial terms, yelling at every player on the field. There is no way in hell that I will ever go back to that cesspool.

  • 9 Defato // Apr 3, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    People act like if you sit in the good seats you are isolated from the problem. You still have to walk to and from your car and to and from the concession stands and restrooms. The stadium has been like this over 10 years now, it’s not because of the Mccourts. The sad thing is that the good people don’t stand up and say anything because they are outnumbered. And it is not the same in every baseball stadium. I have been to many and this is the worst environment. Crazy, considering baseball is such a passive, non-violent sport. Now wonder why there is no pro football team.

  • 10 Joe Marks // Apr 4, 2011 at 6:09 am

    40 year Dodger fan and 20 Season seat holder.

    Sure. Love how the sheeple have piled on since this last incident. Even the so called “journalists”.
    A tragic event? Yes….Most definitely. Isolated? Yes.
    Yet, if it’s SO dangerous to attend a Dodger game, why the 3.7 million? Sure sure, only gang-banging drunk Hispanics attending, right? riiiiight….
    Only people that have had bad experiences at Dodger Stadium respond in these comment sections. 99% of the rest of the people who do NOT have a problem, and just have a great time, do not post.

    PLUS…..why don’t see anyone talking about how dangerous Angel Stadium is??? Short memory???

    http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/sports/Man-Involved-in-Angel-Stadium-Fight-Dies-at-Hospital.html

    Yup…thought so.

    The

  • 11 N // Apr 4, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Here in Phoenix, we Dbacks always dread Dodger games at home because we get a lot of visiting or transplanted Dodger fans. At one game recently, two Dodger fans repeatedly stood up in our mostly family-filled section and flipped everyone off every time a Dodger got a hit. I’ve never seen visiting team behavior like that at any baseball stadium. I personally texted Dbacks security by the way, and you wouldn’t believe how fast they were to pounce on the goons and toss them both out.

  • 12 Petros // Apr 4, 2011 at 11:39 am

    @Dodger Tony- The Top Deck is absolutely a terrible place to sit for a game. I sat up there with my wife during a Phillies playoff game. We saw a female Philly fan, who seemed drunk and belligerent herself, get pushed down the stairs by a guy wearing the “alternate” Dodger uniform: oversized jersey, flat-billed cap, long shorts, high socks and neck and arm tattoos. He was cheered on by most of the section and no security came to help until it was wayyyyy too late. It was chaos.

    We had moved to sitting in the Top Deck because we thought the idiocy had not migrated up there yet, but that was one of many fights we witnessed up there. It was enough for my wife who now refuses to return to the Stadium. I am boycotting the stadium because I am boycotting the owners but safety considerations make it easy to stay away.

  • 13 JayBird7 // Apr 4, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I’m sure every stadium has its share of violent & drunk actions. I love my Yankees & Yankee stadium & I can admit the New York fans are rowdy. I was at the Yankee/Phillies world series at Yankee Stadium & some Phillies fans were getting it in with some New York fans in the bleachers where the creatures are, lol. But security at Yankee stadium is good. the second there is a problem your gone, goodbye. sux because it was a world series game & i’m sure they spent some money on that ticket in New York, ha. so if your at Yankee Stadium & dont want to get kicked out of the game i suggest you turn your cheek & get security because the staff security & the New York police officers that are always there will throw yo azz out. HAVE A NICE DAY! :o)

  • 14 Mike // Apr 4, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Unfortunately the problem is not limited to Dodger Stadium. I remember people throwing batteries at Yankee Stadium in the 1970′s–probably doesn’t happen at the pricey new stadium.
    More recently, my son and I went to opening day at Anaheim Stadium in 2010–a man was sucker punched in the back of the head going down the stairs and killed.

  • 15 Ras // Apr 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Can we please stop pretending we don’t know who the troublemakers are? Let’s not walk on eggshells here. Next time LA needs to make a public statement that there will be a bunch of undercover cops wearing all kinds of plain clothes and MLB wear. If you get popped for starting trouble it will be $5,000 for a “simple” infraction and 5 yrs in the clink for stuff like throwing beer. I was so ashamed that the mayor had to come out and make a pathetic statement that amounted to pleading to the fans to keep the rivalry on the field. Wow – I feel like we are all 10 yrs old .

  • 16 Frank // Apr 5, 2011 at 11:46 am

    The violence at any stadium is sad. I’m a long time Dodgers fan, been going to the games for years and have never had a problem at all at the stadium. Honestly the closest to having any kind of incident is when visiting fans deliberately try to piss off the fans they are sitting around. I don’t know why they do it but it’s not the best way to say “hey, I just wanna sit her and enjoy the game with no problems.” Not very smart in my opinion. There is a level of courtesy everyone must follow when entering any sporting event. Respect the home team crowd and don’t get out of line and become obnoxious. It’s what I follow when I go to Petco or Anaheim or Safeco for a game. Show class. Now that being said I’m not attempting to justify what happened in the beating of those Giants fans in the least. It was ignorant, evil, disgusting, tragic and sad. All Dodger fans are not like that and I get so annoyed that we are all lumped in that category. People forget that last year a man died in a fight at Angels stadium. They forget that in 2008 a Yankee fan ran over and killed a Red Sox fan or the incident at Wrigley in 2000 when a fan punched and stole Chad Kreuter hat during a game. Dodger fans are not the only violent fans out there however, I believe a lot needs to be changed regarding the amount of security and lighting in the parking lot. We have the most attendance than any other MLB club, we should have the most security as well to prevent incidents like this from occuring. Zero tolerance when it comes to foul acting fans. Although I must say it was probably the height of stupidity to fly a banner over Dodger stadium saying we suck if you already feel unsafe at our stadium. Beef up security, better lights in the parking lot, under cover cops in plain clothes and zero tolerance for all the visitors to feel safe and welcome as I already do.

  • 17 Brenda Castellanos // Apr 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Yes these incidents are unfortunate, and that kind of level of violence should not take place while attending a baseball game BUT the rest of us Dodger fans should not be “guilty by association” by drinking and sitting up at the top deck just because some fans go just to stir up trouble. I have to say i have witnessed a drunken woman bully a yankee fan and act obnoxiously wasted for too long before security finally stepped in. I agree that security at the stadium needs to tighten up their efforts to prevent minor teasing into a full blown situation. But in defense of “cholo Dodger fans” that all these previous comments are referring to, i have also been to many games where the visiting team fans are running around drunk and stirring up arguments. I’d also like to add that as a woman i never feared my safety in the top deck area or felt uncomfortable by fellow male fans. I can understand if you’re not from LA it might be a different experience for you visiting Dodger stadium, otherwise it’s not nice to generalize Dodger fans as “hammered mexicans”.

  • 18 Howell // Apr 6, 2011 at 10:57 am

    You are guilty by association if adults participate, simply watch, and encourage this behavior. Notice the people laughing in this incident. And it happens in the pricier seats also.

    http://www.gaslampball.com/2009/10/12/1081495/dodger-stadium-security-is-the

  • 19 J Colima // Apr 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    The excuses here are ridiculous. There are no excuses for stupidity. You are “guilty by association” when you are a “respnsible” adult and don’t do anything but watch and laugh.

    This behavior happens in all areas of the stadium…not just the Pavillion or Top Deck.

  • 20 Shawn // Apr 7, 2011 at 6:54 am

    I have been to many ball parks in the US over my life time. NEVER have I been more intimidated, heckled and felt unwelcome and threatened than at Dodgers stadium. This is not to say that real Dodgers fans are at fault or Dodgers Managment, but the thugs that go there, well you cant keep em out, the so-called fans but are only toublemakers in Dodgers outfits, well they are at falt too. The culture is hostile, that is until you go somewhere else. So I took my business to San Diego to see my beloved Cubs….wow, no fights, people around me (in the cheaper seats too) were nice, friendly, took photos of my family, and tried to connect with us as fellow baseball fans. At Dodgers the last time in 2009, I had nothing but screaming fans, cursing, tossing stuff and ultimately intimation…I was with my 2 year old son too! He was truly scared and could not understand what was going on, why someone was threating his dad. So long Dodgers Stadium, and LA, I’m never going back. Hello San Diego, you’ve got my business.

  • 21 SSG Halo // Apr 7, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    @joe marks. Ive never had a bad experience personally but have seen it so to say that only people with bad experiences post on here is. EEEhh wrong!!! Also Im part Mexican so no one can accuse me of being biased. Angel Stadium had incidents sure. Example June 2009. An off duty officer shoots two guys who were breaking into his car. He confronted them. One choked him the other hit him in the head all while his wife and children watched in horror. Both these guys, brothers, last name. VELASQUEZ. I know not all you Doyer fans are like these two individuals last thursday but its the type of people you attract. They take it personal like theyre backing up their team. The team doesnt give a S***. As for the incidents that happen at Angel Stadium, that didnt become a problem till Moreno changed the name back to LA. I hated when he did that because all it did was give the cholos a reason to “represent” as they would say. You throw in the lowering of beer prices and thats just plus for these dirtbags.

  • 22 Dodger13 // Apr 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    I agree with Joe Marks. I have sat in every section at Dodger Stadium. Never have I felt unsafe. I have taken my family without incident. I have gone with my kids WITHOUT my husband, never feared for our safety. Some of our best memories are from Dodger Stadium. We have gone with Little League and with groups from church. Terrible incident. Not the first time or the last. Regardless of how much security. 50 thousand plus in attendance. incidents are bound to happen. Unfortunately this is the society we live in filled with violence. I saw the link regarding the Angel fan who was killed in 2008. There was not half the coverage of this story.

  • 23 Jean // Apr 8, 2011 at 6:29 am

    I agree with you j Colima. Don’t blame it on the “Mexicans” for 1 there are so many different type of latinos, don’t be ignorant enough to dumb it down to ” Mexicans.” 2 Really a “cesspool” come one guy, first you complain there isnt enough security and then you complain that they frisk you ( a security measure) so that there are no weapons carried into the park. Really now really!

  • 24 Ray // Apr 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    As a lifelong dodger fan, I will say this. I do think dodger stadium is turning more and more into a place I do not feel comfortable taking my family. although i’ve never seen anything TOO overboard personally I have had friends go and say they have seen FAMILIES of opposing teams getting stuff thrown at them. Ridiculous. I have seen a fan being verbally harassed until he took ofc his rockies jersey only to have some fat cholo wannabes rip it up . I also hear a lot of profanity. Apparently a lot of these idiots can not distinguish the difference between a ballpark and a bar. Oh, and having visited tge padres as well as the giants stadium I was not disrespected whatsoever

  • 25 Harry // Apr 26, 2011 at 5:59 am

    What in the world is going on out there? I’ve lived in Massachusetts for the past 33 years, but grew up in Glendale, and Dodger Stadium was my second home. It was Paradise on earth. Saw my first big-league game there, and the Dodgers weren’t in it. (Hint: Albie Pearson was in center.) I saw all the titans: The Left Arm of God, Marichal, Gibson, Seaver, and finally Fernando, who homered in the last Dodgers game I attended. I think the fan reaction permanently damaged my hearing. But enough about memories. Have drug gangs taken over Chavez? Since when did hoodlums pay attention to baseball? One would think that it would be far too subtle and complex for them. Perhaps it’s a “turf” thing. I have no idea. I’ve long wanted to go back to Dodger Stadium, at least one more time, if only to visit my grandfather’s ghost. He bought me Cokes, and pennants, and pointed out the players. It remains the second most beautiful man-made place I’ve ever seen, bumped only by the Alhambra, in Granada. Way to go, Frank McCourt.

  • 26 Gabe // Apr 13, 2012 at 11:28 am

    All stadiums have issues. Anytime people are together in mass and alcohol is involved problems will arise. Everybody says its Dodger stadium. If people would actually take the time to research things before forming an opinion, they would see its everywhere. All the Orange county people were quick to speak. If you look up Angel stadium they’ve had shootings, stabbings, beatings. U name it. They had an incident there a couple of days before the beating at Dodger stadium.

  • 27 Eric // Jul 19, 2012 at 4:30 am

    I had crap thrown at me and my 3 month old son at jack murphy stadium, we just came to see Gwynn play.
    My five year old son and I went to the b.o.b. the staff purposely sent us in the wrong direction wandering all over the park. Chase field for the all star game was fantastic though. there was more at the b.o.b.
    oakland stadium for a pink floyd stadium… got messed with by some FREAK! I think the new wave of intense violence at sporting events are the Europeans and South Americans sharing there culture of soccer hooliganism.
    CULETO is not in the english language, yet is a mainstay at Dodger Stadium and others through out the southwest. Don’t say it in english or you well be thrown out for using obsenity. It is only acceptable to cuss in Spanish or Yiddish. schmuck and putz come to mind.
    Gotta love multiculturalism.

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