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.