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Waiting for More Than Words from Dodgers

April 3rd, 2011 · 4 Comments · Baseball, Dodgers

You will be pleased to know that the Dodgers stand foursquare against fans nearly being beaten to death at Dodger Stadium. It’s a bold and brave move, but Frank McCourt’s team is the one to take it.

Yes, that was sarcasm. Can’t help it when the subject is the owner of the Dodgers and the goons that are taking over his stadium.

Actually, Frank doesn’t even grasp the depth of the problem. According to the Los Angeles Times, he is satisfied with the current state of security at Dodger Stadium. ”You could have 2,000 policemen there, and it’s just not going to change that random act of violence,” McCourt said.

Now there is a man out of touch. If he were to take a seat on the reserved level, down one baseline or the other, or took up a station in the left-field pavilion, he would quickly be disabused of the notion that the stadium is safe.

So, what will the Dodgers actually do about a stadium careering out of control? Well, we don’t know. It’s only been three full days since a Giants fan was viciously assaulted by territorial gangsters in the parking lot after the Opening Day game. I mean, if the Dodgers haven’t reacted proactively to fighting the thugs in Dodger Stadium for the past three years, why should we expect them to do anything in three days?

Here is the statement issued under the headline: “SF and LA City Leaders Speak Out of Fan Violence” and passed on by the Dodgers’ public relations department.

The following statement was issued today by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, SFPD Interim Chief Jeff Godown, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, San Francisco Giants Managing Partner Bill Neukom and Los Angeles Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt in regard to the assault that occurred after Thursday’s Opening Day game at Dodger Stadium:

“This attack is unconscionable behavior that will not be tolerated in either of our ballparks or in either of our cities. Once apprehended, the attackers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Public safety is the top priority for all of us and even one act of random violence is unacceptable.

“Baseball is a family sport that has unified our country after times of crisis and tragedy. This senseless act of violence has no place in our society and certainly not in our national pastime.

“The Giant/Dodger rivalry is one of the most storied in all of sports, dating back to when the teams played across town in New York City before their moves to California. This is a great rivalry between teams competing on the field of play. That’s where it must stay.

“We call on our respective citizens to stand together in honor of that rivalry as you have done throughout the years. Root hard for your teams, and do so with civility and common decency.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim Bryan Stow and his family. The best thing that we as a community of baseball fans can do to support Bryan and his family is to rise above this outrageous act and exercise good sportsmanship and mutual respect for each other.”

Glad we’ve taken care of that. Now that the mayors have spoken, I’m sure all the trouble will just fade away. McCourt is in there, too. He’s thinking and praying for that Giants fan.

What Dodgers fans need is action, not words. The club needs a specific and coherent plan for screening troublemakers before they get into the stadium … for identifying and removing bad actors within seconds of their first rude or violent actions … for taking seriously fan complaints of behavior from louts around them … for carefully limiting the sale of alcohol … for putting more security personnel in the stadium.

Dangerous stadiums can, in fact, be saved. England once had major, major issues with fan violence in soccer. “Hooliganism,” it was called. It was genuinely dangerous to go to a match at any number of stadiums. But a comprehensive approach to rooting it out has been in place for decades, and what was once a sort of Clockwork Orange dystopia in and around soccer stadiums has largely disappeared, and women and children and fans of all shapes and sizes and rooting interests can safely go to the biggest matches in English football.

The Dodgers need to find out what was done so right in England. They need to crush violence and bad behavior, and they need to do it now, before anyone else gets badly hurt.

The baseball world is watching, Frank McCourt. What are you going to do to fix this?

The “we’re all brothers” statement, above, is nice. (Everyone! A chorus of Kumbaya!)

But it doesn’t take the place of a plan … and action.

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4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 James // Apr 4, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Maybe if they diverted some of the guys from the parking lot that like to hassle you for ‘tailgaiting’ if it takes you more than 30 seconds to lock your car:
    Them: ‘Sir, you need to either get into the stadium or get in your car and leave.’
    Me: ‘I’m locking the car, be on my way in a sec.’
    Them: ‘Sir, if you don’t get into the stadium right now I’ll be forced to call the police.’ Yeah - those guys.)

    They have enough bodies to have the sphincter police make sure someone doesn’t accidentally use a lawn chair or something, but not enough to actually provide real security at their stadium. Nice. Another reason for me to not go to Dodger’s Stadium.

    At least the Raiders fan in SoCal have found a home.

  • 2 Brian Robin // Apr 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Yes, they have, James.

    Went to my first major-league opening day last Thursday night. Sat in Section 32, upstairs down the first-base line.

    Three fights and one Giants cap thrown over the rail. And that was just in my section, so feel free to extrapolate that throughout the stadium.

    It did feel like a Raiders game and that shouldn’t be at a place like Dodger Stadium.

  • 3 out of touch section 35 // Apr 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    “Now there is a man out of touch. If he were to take a seat on the reserved level, down one baseline or the other, or took up a station in the left-field pavilion, he would quickly be disabused of the notion that the stadium is safe.”

    I’ve had my season seats in reserved 35 for a few years now. If I didn’t feel safe, I wouldn’t go.

    Go Blue!

  • 4 Harry // Apr 26, 2011 at 7:59 am

    LAPD Chief Parker issued a similarly vacuous pronouncement at the time of the Watts riots, though obviously without the touching bit of Ken Burns thrown in. “There’s no widespread problem. It’s just a few hooligans. Let’s not blow this out of proportion!” I watched Watts burn, from a perch in the Angeles National Forest. I was twelve. I’m not conflating what’s been going on at Dodger Stadium with the Watts riots. I’m a better student history than that. I’m sure this present trouble will just McFade away.

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