Not a "Real" Fan?
Maybe you missed this story, but the picture above is of a Giants fan who dared purchase tickets and attend a game in enemy territory. Santa Clara paramedic Bryan Stow suffered a severely fractured skull and damage to the frontal lobe of his brain when he was attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot last week. According to the reports that we have, this all happened because he was wearing Giants gear. This is just one example of what is fucking shameful about our nation's past time.
I heard on the radio that the traumatized family has made a statement to the effect that the appreciate the support they have received from Dodgers fans since the incident, and that the assailants weren't "real" Dodger fans.
Unfortunately, I need to report that in my decade of attending games at Dodger Stadium, the aggressive violent attitude is exactly reflective of "real" Dodger fans. I once attended (naively) a Dodgers-Giants game sitting in the cheap seats and watched horrified, while Dodger fans--once known for their detached mildness-- taunted and pelted two groups, an old man with a Giants jacket on and a couple with a baby sitting next to them in the seat, with various items and beer. Did I throw my body in the path of the projectiles? No, but I did write a letter to the editor of the crappy local paper the LA Times (which was ignored).
Maybe it is time for all of us to do a little more. It is unlikely we are going to get help from the individual clubs or Major League baseball. The Dodgers, for their part, want us to believe that these acts were the acts of lone thugs, not in anyway representative of Dodger fans. Of course, they want no part of responsibility for crowd control in their own parking lot (this despite the price of parking at times over the last 10 yrs. at times eclipsing the price of actual seats). But stadium security at Dodger Stadium has been a joke for years and years--useless teens in the parking lots, ineffective and oblivious dopes "watching" the stands. The Dodgers don't want to spend the money on an extra security presence, it is as simple as that and as a result, I don't feel remotely safe there. And Dodger fans--once known for showing up late, leaving early, and being generally disinterested-- have been increasingly accepting of boorish, and even violent behavior.
Bud Selig, that joke of a commissioner, should take this seriously and kickstart an effort to change the atmosphere at games. Since Selig probably doesn't have the intellectual wherewithal to do this alone, I offer the slogan, "Reclaim the Game" (from the animals) as a starting point. If you need pictures of animal fans for the campaign, just google "average Philadelphia Phillies fan." You're welcome Bud.
What can be done? In my opinion, the implied or open threat of violence at many baseball games across the country is something that should appalling to all baseball lovers. The ranks of fans are filled, just like the ranks of humankind, with drunks, boors, and amateurs who look towards an evening at the park as an opportunity to bother others and act out their violent fantasies. It is these people that we baseball lovers should scorn, criticize and let know that we think their behavior is more suited to gatherings among their kin, state penitentiary, or wrestling events.
Clubs want to make money on alcohol sales, no matter how irresponsible that might be. They also want us to imagine the ball park as an oasis from the rat race and a place for family fun. They also want us to show our colors by purchasing preposterously expensive team gear. What do we ask for in return? The magic of live baseball. When we give franchises a pass on security, or laugh at these assholes chants and provocations, or look the other way when they threaten others' physical security, how are we not complicit in this horseshit?