April 06, 2011

'The Safety is Not the Same': Before the attack that left him in a coma with possible brain damage, San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow texted relatives that the atmosphere at Dodgers Stadium was dangerous. "The safety is not the same," said his cousin John Stow. "It's definitely not the same. We knew that, Bryan knew that going into it, but I don't think he could ever imagined that it would be like this." Los Angeles Times columnist T.J. Simers blasted owner Frank McCourt for dismissing safety concerns. He asks, "Shouldn't the Dodgers be talking their heads off about security issues, and whatever it takes to reassure fans they will have a positive experience?" The vicious assault was followed by the smallest home crowd for a weekend Dodgers game against the Giants since 2003. One hundred of Stow's colleagues will collect donations at the Giants home opener to help defray his medical expenses.

posted by rcade to baseball at 10:31 AM - 20 comments

You want to get McCourt's attention? Force him to play a weekend series with no one in the stands. It would be a logistical nightmare for refunding season-ticket holders, the visiting gate, etc., but tough shit. You created this mess through your negligence -- now you pay the piper.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:02 PM on April 06

When you start experiencing this type of aggressive mentality and behavior at baseball, of all things, it definitely becomes time for all organized sports to begin looking long and hard at their security policies and procedures. Sadly, this type of behavior seems to be seen as being more common and almost acceptable at sports like pro football, but it needs to be addressed in all leagues. Some might want to write this situation with Mr. Stow to as another incident that happens rarely, when looked at in comparison with all games going on and how many people are involved. But the severity of it, as well as the escalating nature of other incidents in (and outside of) stadiums, makes it a crucial topic that needs to be dealt with.

My overall feeling about attending sporting events, especially as I grow older, is I'd rather watch on TV and not deal with the potential issues. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling this way, and as more and more fans start to stay away from sporting events, that will probably be the time professional sports leagues determine something needs to be done.

posted by dyams at 12:04 PM on April 06

In no way shape or form should the people who attacked Mr. Stow be allowed to get away with this. However to say that the attack was preventable by adding another 2000 cops to the security detail is preposterous. Could it have been a deterrent? Possibly, but is financially viable to be adding 2000 more cops to 81 games per year? You thought that tickets were expensive before? Imagine the cost afterwards? (2000 cops for 5 hours (3 hour game plus 1 hour before and 1 hour after) at $100 an hour (rough guess on cost) is a cool $1 million, divide that by 44,000 fans and you are adding an extra $22.75 per ticket, more than doubling the cost of bleacher ticket at Dodger Stadium)

As for the idea that the attack was followed by the smallest weekend crowd for a Dodgers/Giants weekend game since 2003, do you think that might have had more to do with the fact that the Dodgers are looking like a last place team with Marcus Thames as the starting left fielder as opposed to one attack? I mean we heard about more maple bats attacking fans at Dodger Stadium in the last couple of years than we have about fans attacking each other.

Maybe this really is just an isolated incident and not the first moment in a plague of Dodger fans turned into soccer hooligans.

posted by Demophon at 02:59 PM on April 06

However to say that the attack was preventable by adding another 2000 cops to the security detail is preposterous.

Is it? The Dodgers (in this case) are more than happy to bring in 40,000 people to their event, and are very happy to charge a ridiculous rate to park in their parking lots in an attempt to bring them in, hand over their over-inflatedly-priced ticket, and get them to pay totally bogus prices for everything else within their stadium. But asking for adequate security for the huge crowds they want to reap the benefit from financially is asking too much and is, as you say, preposterous? I'm not buying it. It's a cop-out these organizations are feeding you in order to put more cash in their own pockets.

posted by dyams at 03:22 PM on April 06

... do you think that might have had more to do with the fact that the Dodgers are looking like a last place team with Marcus Thames as the starting left fielder as opposed to one attack?

This is just a guess, but I'd say no. It was the opening weekend of the season. I think the widespread media coverage of the savage attack deterred casual fans, particularly those with families. It's too early for Dodger fans to give up on their season.

posted by rcade at 03:29 PM on April 06

I don't know what the Dodgers charge for parking, but $20 or $30 is what I've had to pay to park at Jaguars games.

One of the expectations of a charge that high should be safe lots with a visible security presence. If sports franchises can't do that, they don't deserve fans.

posted by rcade at 03:31 PM on April 06

I mean we heard about more maple bats attacking fans at Dodger Stadium in the last couple of years than we have about fans attacking each other.

Maybe this really is just an isolated incident and not the first moment in a plague of Dodger fans turned into soccer hooligans.

Did you even RTFA? I'll tell you what Demophon, I will buy you a ticket for the next Giants game at Dodgers Stadium. You just have to wear a Giants jersey and hat. I'll even go with you.

Just make sure I have the contact info for your next of kin.

posted by cjets at 03:32 PM on April 06

I don't know what the Dodgers charge for parking, but $20 or $30 is what I've had to pay to park at Jaguars games.

McCourt infamously raised it to $15 from $10 when he took over the club. That sounds cheap compared to Jaguars games. But bear in mind that you're comparing 8 home games with 81 home games.

posted by cjets at 03:33 PM on April 06

Did you even RTFA? I'll tell you what Demophon, I will buy you a ticket for the next Giants game at Dodgers Stadium. You just have to wear a Giants jersey and hat. I'll even go with you.

Just make sure I have the contact info for your next of kin

As a matter of fact I did read the article and as someone who has attended many a game wearing apparel of opposing teams (Orioles jersey into Fenway many times, and a Red Wings jersey into the Boston Garden when both teams were playing the team of my jersey and I would seem to believe that the Boston crowds are a lot rougher than the Dodger crowds that arrive in the third and leave in the 8th) I would have no fear of attending a Dodgers game wearing a Giants jersey and hat.

I'm not buying it. It's a cop-out these organizations are feeding you in order to put more cash in their own pockets.

Or more likely it is fake outrage from people like Simers who need to blow events out of proportion to sell news papers. As tragic as this event is for Mr. Stow and his family, it was still one assault that happened in a very large city. Is the attack on Mr. Stow any worse than for example the assault that happened 2 days earlier in Granada Hills? No, it is just a case that this one has gotten the public's attention.

On the other hand if 2000 cops were to be added to the Dodgers parking lot, how quickly would we be hearing about how other parts of the city were not being covered and crimes were committed there. There is a finite number of officers which means that eventually they have to start racking over OT to work events like baseball games and money with which to pay those officers which means costs for other items need to go up (either ticket prices or taxes). People need to stop having knee jerk reactions to anecdotal events.

posted by Demophon at 04:04 PM on April 06

Demophon: While it's a sad event, as someone my wife knows said recently, items only make the news BECAUSE they are isolated, rare events.

This is why the thousands who die on our roads every year go unremarked unless there's some nicely graphic footage.

posted by Drood at 04:08 PM on April 06

I did read the article and as someone who has attended many a game wearing apparel of opposing teams

Same here. I've worn my Jets jersey in over half the stadiums in the country, including Foxboro and the Coliseum (when the Raiders played there). But Dodger stadium is worse.

I've also been to many Dodgers games wearing my Mets gear and it has gotten noticeably worse. Noticeably. Many Dodger fans say the same.

Or more likely it is fake outrage from people like Simers who need to blow events out of proportion to sell news papers.

This is simply incorrect. It is, literally, front page news in L.A. and big news amongst baseball fans in L.A. who are very aware of the deteriorating conditions at the Stadium

posted by cjets at 04:25 PM on April 06

As tragic as this event is for Mr. Stow and his family, it was still one assault that happened in a very large city. Is the attack on Mr. Stow any worse than for example the assault that happened 2 days earlier in Granada Hills?

Did they assault the straw man as well?

posted by cjets at 04:40 PM on April 06

I would seem to believe that the Boston crowds are a lot rougher than the Dodger crowds

And again you are incorrect. Unless gangbangers from East L.A. and South Central make it to Red Sox games as well.

Have you ever even been to a Dodgers game? Maybe you should go to one because what you seem to believe has so very little to do with reality.

posted by cjets at 05:12 PM on April 06

Yeah, I find it hard to believe Boston fans are a particularly rough crowd nowadays. The only time I saw anything close to dangerously surly at a Boston sporting event was a group of drunks at the old Garden during a Bruins game. They were on-duty EMTs. Fenway actually is "Friendly Fenway" nowadays for the most part. It's too damn expensive for the louts and most of the harassment of out-of-town fans that I've seen (anecdotal and from decent seats) has been good-natured. Last game I went to was against the As and there was a group of well-informed As fans who fit right in and talked with us the whole time.

posted by yerfatma at 08:45 AM on April 07

Hate to break this to you cjets, but every city has their version of East LA gangbangers so LA is no different than anyplace else and I don't seem to recall hearing anything about the people that attacked Mr. Stow as being gangbangers.

If you want to show that this is anything more than an isolated incident, show further examples of other attacks that have happened at or around the stadium? Just because other people have said they feel less secure, doesn't mean that they are. Is there proof that there is less of a police presence at the park? Has there been an increase in game day crime compared to the general city? Where is there more back up than just this incident?

posted by Demophon at 08:51 AM on April 07

Hate to break this to you cjets, but every city has their version of East LA gangbangers so LA is no different than anyplace else ...

Gang problems differ in severity in different places. I don't know why you're automatically discounting the possibility that gangs at Dodgers games have gotten out of hand. Do you go to games there? The victim of this crime thought the crowd had become more dangerous than in the past.

An LA police officer's blog has comments from people complaining about gangs at the stadium. One fan calls the games a "gang-banger convention."

Last year, SportsByBrooks claimed that Dodgers gear is the most adopted sports team by gangs: " I can honestly say that gang members make up the majority of people I see wearing Dodger hats and gear here in town."

posted by rcade at 09:24 AM on April 07

Demophon:

In no way shape or form should the people who attacked Mr. Stow be allowed to get away with this. However to say that the attack was preventable by adding another 2000 cops to the security detail is preposterous. Could it have been a deterrent? Possibly, but is financially viable to be adding 2000 more cops to 81 games per year? You thought that tickets were expensive before? Imagine the cost afterwards? (2000 cops for 5 hours (3 hour game plus 1 hour before and 1 hour after) at $100 an hour (rough guess on cost) is a cool $1 million, divide that by 44,000 fans and you are adding an extra $22.75 per ticket, more than doubling the cost of bleacher ticket at Dodger Stadium)

It may be that adding more security isn't the way to go, but "because it would make tickets too expensive" isn't a justification. A valid justification would be more along the lines of "because it won't work" -- and indeed, it might not. My own feeling is that it's a waste of money and effort to spend more money on firefighters while ignoring the spilled gasoline and lit matches.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:11 AM on April 07

Hate to break this to you cjets, but every city has their version of East LA gangbangers so LA is no different than anyplace else and I don't seem to recall hearing anything about the people that attacked Mr. Stow as being gangbangers.

Seriously? That hang out at baseball games? That's just ridiculous. I've never seen anyone even resembling a gangbanger at any baseball game I have ever been to, even in Baltimore, NYC, and DC. And, if you are attracting a rougher crowd, there are ways to address it, but they require being proactive. Having officers in the stands that immediately eject people for getting rowdy. Having officers in parking lot to ensure that there aren't any groups hanging out. Limiting alcohol sales. In this case, I think that regardless of whether there is more violence, perception matters. If fans think there is more violence, whether there is or not, it is going to affect their willingness to go to games.

posted by bperk at 10:35 AM on April 07

Here's a video I posted in an earlier thread that shows the inadequate security at the stadium.

posted by cjets at 11:49 AM on April 07

It may be that adding more security isn't the way to go, but "because it would make tickets too expensive" isn't a justification.

Especially since the price of the ticket shouldn't be affected by an increase in security.

posted by grum@work at 01:28 PM on April 07

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