Friday, April 15, 2011

First Game of Dodgers Homestand Tones Down The Raiders Vibe

I wasn't there at the Stadium tonight (and I'd love to hear from those of you who were there (I'm talking to you, SoSG Dusty Baker)), but the reports following the Dodgers' press conference on "enhanced security", as well as the game this evening, seem to indicate a more refined and responsible atmosphere. From Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com:

The increased security presence was immediately noticeable to fans who attended Thursday's game.

"I think it was a little crazy with all the police," said Dodgers fan Johnny De La Cruz, who attended the game with his wife and three young sons. "They made me lift up my shirt on the way in. But it's definitely worth it after what happened to [Stow]. It's better to be safe than sorry."

De La Cruz, 28, said he'd been to a handful of Dodgers games over the years and the atmosphere at Thursday's game was noticeably calmer.

"I used to always hear a lot of profanity," he said. "Dodger fans are pretty die-hard. They kind of remind me of Raider fans. But tonight the fans were pretty quiet. Pretty mellow."

If Dodger Stadium becomes less like a LA Raider game, from what I can recall from seeing the Raiders decades ago, I have to think that's a good thing. But with the light crowd for Thursday night's game, the enhanced police presence might have been appeared disproportionately huge:

Thursday night's announced attendance was 34,288, but the crowd was sparse.

Cardinals fan Max Belz, 26, said he felt "a lot safer" than the previous few times he attended a game at Dodger Stadium.

"I didn't get beat up the other times I was here, but there was a lot of hostility," Belz said. "My 13-year-old cousin and I came to a couple games here last year and sat in the right-field pavilion. People were yelling at us, using profanity, throwing trash and peanut shells at us.

"It was very different [Thursday]. From the minute I entered the parking lot it was a lot more peaceful. It was nice to be able to watch a game without having your guard up the whole time. To tell you the truth, I probably could've even heckled Dodger fans tonight and not been too worried."

While fans seemed to appreciate the extra security measures in place, most felt it was a bit of an overkill and wondered how long the security would be at this level.

"I guess I'm glad they're fixing it," Belz said. "But I hope in the future they don't have to use every cop in the city to do it."

Two other tidbits: First, they mention additional lighting stanchions added to the expansive parking lot, but nothing about additional cameras or surveillance mechanisms; second, Frank McCourt commented that "the [Stow] incident has negatively impacted ticket sales" (which seem to me to be more strongly correlated with lack of off-season upgrade investment in the team; frustration over bickering ownership; continued economic uncertainty and high unemployment; and highly-inflated ticket and parking fees).

Also, this from the LA Times: you start acting unruly, the LAPD is going to drag your butt out:

From his seat near the left field foul line, season ticket-holder Richard Marin, 37, of Inglewood watched police haul one unruly fan after another out of the left field bleachers through the first six innings.

"There's been more drama out there than in the game," he said.

Sad words, from multiple angles.

5 comments:

Dusty Baker said...

Last night's game was embarrassingly ill-attended. My sis in law, who watched on TV, said they announced 34k or so. My boss and I took independent assessments then compared estimates, and we both arrived at 16-18k, with 18k being a generous figure. I believe, as Sax alluded to, that there are multiple reasons for poor attendance. In one ironic possible scenario, I think there are gangbangers who are scared to come out for fear of being picked up, and there are frightened families fearful of said gangbangers. So both groups are staying home. But yeah, the ongoing McCourt drama and the lack of huge talent top to bottom on the squad (Hoffman and Ellis just don't draw them in like they used to), combined with a lingering poor economy, all conspire to keep attendance down.

So, again as Sax alluded to, light attendance made security both overly-visible and easier for law enforcement to keep a non-Raiderlike atmosphere.

One thing that was really noticeable was the racial/ethnic demographics last night. The white person ratio was much higher than usual. Not sure what can be drawn from this, but it was blatantly clear. Won't even go into why this may be, but my boss (a Mexican guy) also noted this phenomenon. Will have to put my best cultural anthropologist on the case.

As for security itself, basically it's what security should have been in the first place. Actual real live cops in appropriate numbers stationed at key places around the inside and outside of the stadium and walking around. Also noted some 5-0 on horseback in the parking lot. So Dodgers are definitely moving the right direction on that one but the true test will be when more than half the stadium is filled.

Continuing note on concessions: why are there only 16-18k in attendance but the beer/dog lines are still interminably slow? Can they get cattle prods to wake the servers the fuck up? How hard is it to have one person pre-filling beer cups so one just has to walk up and pay instead of walking up and waiting while a beer is pulled, and someone is sent to the back to go snag a dog? Folks we can control the Mars Rover from an iPad but we can't figure out beer lines at Dodger Stadium? Maddening.

cc: Frank McCourt

Bobby said...

What happened on Opening Day was such a downer and really negated any excitement about the upcoming season.

Last season I went to around 20 games. This time around I have yet to even look at the schedule.

A team and its fans shouldn't be defined by the actions of two idiots but for the foreseeable future I think that's sadly going to be the case.

Until those guys are caught, I fear there's going to be a dark cloud over the ravine.

Curious Gene said...

My failure to attend any Dodger games has nothing to do with either the Stow Incident or the other Giants fan that got beat up in the parking lot last year on Opening Day. Which, by the way, nobody seems to be talking about, which I find odd. I've found that carrying around a little girl in a pink Dodgers jersey means everybody leaves you alone. Big scary bruisers turn into pudding when she sings Take Me Out to the Ball Game.

No, I'm not at the stadium because Frank McCourt owns the team.

I know I haven't been around much lately, but the fact that I post here at all says something about how I feel about the Dodgers. But I'm not going to give Frank McCourt any more of my money. When he leaves, I'll come back. Until then, I'll enjoy listening to Vin, and I'll suffer through Rick and Charley when I have no other option.

Dusty Baker said...

Fair enough, Curious. I wish I had the discipline and principle enough to do the same. But I love the game too much to stay away.

Peter said...

ORGANIZE A FORMAL BOYCOTT TO PUT THE FINAL NAIL IN MCCOURT'S COFFIN

The Dodger fans have been too silent on the need for Major League Baseball to order McCourt to divest his ownership of the Dodgers.

As true Dodger fans in is incumbent on each and every one of us to stay away from Dodger Stadium to bring us all closer to the day when we Los Angelenos will have our team back.

Those who continue to attend Dodger games are complicit in aiding and abetting the tranny brought on by McCourt. It is now time for every person to decide whether they will be part of the problem by continuing to attend or part of the solution by staying home to hasten the day when the McCourt era comes to an end.

I urge all of you will to join in a formal boycott of Dodger games until the time McCourt is removed as the Dodger owner.


Peter N. Osborn