It’s Just a Game, People

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A lot has been written about the atrocity that happened over the weekend at Dodger Stadium but I feel like something more needs to be said.

On Opening Day at Chavez Ravine, a couple of Dodger fans followed three men dressed in Giants gear through the parking lot and severely beat one of them. The Giants fan was lying on the ground helpless as the attackers continued to hit and kick him in the head. After police paramedics on bicycles attended to the victim an ambulance was called and the man wound up in a medically induced coma at a hospital nearby.

This has to stop!

Rivalries in sports are what make them great. The Yankees and Red Sox, Michigan and Ohio State, the Cowboys and Redskins, and one of the oldest, the Giants and Dodgers are epic rivalries that go back well before my time. When the rivalries stay on the field, they’re great, but when they spill into streets and cause real violence, I feel ashamed and horrified. As sports fans, we’re better than this.

This is not a new problem in Los Angeles, as this one of many different attacks during or after games the past few years. Attendance at Dodger Stadium is down and judging by the thousands of comments posted online about this story, people are becoming afraid to attend the games.

This isn’t just a problem that’s going on in big cities or at rivalry games, either. Two years ago today, a man was severely beaten on Opening Day at Angels Stadium and later died at UCI Medical Center. The fight took place in the right field pavilion and since, security has been ramped up there and alcohol sales are cut off earlier.

I love sports and I’ve always taken pride in rooting for my team. I mention this because there’s a difference between rooting for one’s team and rooting against the other side.

Hate and degradation have no place in sports. There is absolutely no reason to bring violence into these games.

After all, that’s what they are: games. They’re supposed to be for fun. Families should be able to head to the ballpark and not fear for their safety. If you’re from Oakland and attend an Angels game, you should be able to wear an A’s hat to the park and not feel like you’re in danger of attracting the wrong kind of attention.

This type of fan “thuggery” is expected in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, where the hatred of other teams runs generations deep, but we can and should do better here in Southern California. I know the Giants and Dodgers rivalry goes all the way back to the ’30s and even further, when both teams were in New York, but it’s 2011, we should be more sensible than this.

I hope these types of attacks don’t keep people from going to the ballpark, and I truly wish they would stop.

It’s just a game.


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