Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ugliness in Chavez Ravine

I'm not a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, to put it mildly, despite living 15 minutes from their great ballpark. In the early 70's when I became a big baseball fan, I loved the Oakland Athletics because they had long hair, fought in the dugout, had loud psychedelic uniforms and a "don't give a f**k attitude" that 12-year old me just ate up. Of course, this fandom made me look like a genius when they won three World Series in a row. At the other end of the spectrum were the Dodgers, all wholesome family values (before that became an tired buzzword), clean-cut ballplayers and after 1976, the odious Tommy Lasorda, asshole in private and avuncular "I bleed Dodger blue" in public.

I've been to Dodger Stadium twice in the last five years and the reason is simple: it can be a really scary place to watch a baseball game. You'd get an affirmative about that from Bryan Stow, a Giants fan who attended the Opening Day game in Chavez Ravine, except for the fact that he can't say anything to anyone since he's in a freakin' coma after getting savagely beaten by two piece-of-shit Dodgers fans in the parking lot after the game. His crime: wearing a Giants shirt.

There's been much handwringing in the local media and on sports talk radio since the incident, but to be blunt, this isn't a surprise at all. I was at a Freeway Series game in Anaheim during the late 90's and it was the first time that a significant amount of Dodgers fans had shown up at the Big A, largely because it was a regular season game, not an exhibition like all Angels v. Dodgers tilts were before interleague play was introduced before the 1997 season. What do you know, there was a melee on the upper deck concourse involving about a dozen dudes in Dodgers shirts.

Fast forward to about four or five years ago and my buddy Dan and I were in the upper deck at Dodgers Stadium for another Freeway Series game. We spent the whole game having the gangbanger behind us threatening to kick our ass because we were rooting for the Angels and at one point, after about eight beers, he threatened to throw us off that upper deck. We acted like Dodgers fans and left before the game ended, something we haven't done in Anaheim since the early 80's.

Turns out that there's not much security in the Dodger Stadium parking lot after the game begins and even at the best of times, experts say that the security detail is understaffed. There's little doubt that people getting drunk at the games leads to problems so it's eye-rolling time to see that the team has scheduled several 1/2 Price Food & Drinks days, which include 1/2 price beer, for six games this season.

While I hope the Dodgers as a baseball team go 0-162 every season for the next zillion years, when it becomes dangerous to go to a game at Dodger Stadium, that's unacceptable.

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