Monday, April 11, 2011

More On The Tragic Stow Incident

SoSG reader Matthew S. felt compelled to write in with a perspective, which he emailed to us over the weekend. Take it away, Matthew S.:

It’s a terrible thing that happened to Bryan Stow, 42-year-old father of two from Santa Cruz, CA currently sitting in a medically induced coma in a Los Angeles hospital, a long way away from his children and home. Unfortunately, incidents like this have been all too common during these rivalry games, and have grown to characterize the rivalry much more so than the action that takes place on the field.

The rivalry has always been filled with bad blood, which is played out on the field professionally by players on either team. Far too often it has been played out in the stands by fans of either team. Ask any fan who has attended one of these rivalry games (in Los Angeles or San Francisco), and you will undoubtedly hear stories of abuse (both verbal and physical) more often than you will stories of the actual on-field proceedings. This rivalry has come to mean so much more than just the Dodgers vs. the Giants; it has become Los Angeles vs. San Francisco, Southern California vs. Northern California. Being in the same division, one team cannot succeed without the other simultaneously failing. The games often take on a life or death feel. Recently, that feeling has become all too real. The two Dodgers fans (identities still unknown) that assaulted Mr. Stow, the Giants fan, in the parking lot after a Dodgers-Giants game on opening weekend were cowards and thugs. This incident has unfortunately become the national face of the rivalry.

Both the Dodgers and Giants organizations have shown outstanding class in the aftermath of this tragedy, as evidenced by the $100,000 of total reward money provided by both organizations for information leading to the apprehension of the attackers. The Dodgers fan base has also shown its quality by holding a candlelight vigil held outside of the hospital where Stow sits in a medically induced coma on Wednesday night. Fans and writers alike have voiced their disgust and anger in the blogosphere and the papers.

I would hope both fan bases continue to show class in the upcoming Dodgers series to be played next week in San Francisco. This is not the time for retaliation, but a time to show the quality of the California baseball fan.

This incident has changed the way this great rivalry is viewed on the national stage. The two cowards who attacked Mr. Stow do not represent the entire Los Angeles fan base, and it is regrettable that this seems to be the case. The rivalry has seen too many outstanding baseball moments to let one terrible tragedy define it. It would be a great shame to see over sixty years of west coast competition devolved to one unfortunate and chilling incident.

Thanks, Matthew S., for the contribution.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Craiglist postings are calling for retaliation; some of them throwing race in their incitements as well. I hope people will keep their heads and just enjoy the game tonight.

17 comments:

Steve Sax said...

I don't know if I can wait 1 hour 41 more minutes for the GT...I am jonesing for Dodger baseball

Greg Hao said...

I hate to sound like a dick but even when it comes to hooliganism, Americans can't do it right.

Have anybody ever been to a football (nee: soccer) match practically anywhere else in the world? Home and away fans CAN'T intermingle. I'm sure we've all seen pitches where there are sections of seating that are kept empty so that the two sides aren't in close contact with one another. Hell, the train system in the UK is majorly affected during the weekend simply because the police don't want fans traveling to games to get into scuffle.

This is not to take away from the tragedy of Brian Stow at all and certainly Dodgers Stadium needs to be safer and some of the unruly elements need to be calmed down.

Greg Hao said...

incidentally, the second point about the train system speaks also about the segregation of opposing fans so that we don't have the sorts of fan on fan violence that happened to Stow and the guy who was shot last year in the parking lot.

Mr. Customer said...

@GH

No doubt. Dusty brought up a similar point in an earlier thread, and I gotta agree. I don't think that baseball will ever reach that level of fervor, because the games mean a lot less taken individually. It's easier to swallow a loss when one has 17 other meetings to get revenge. What I do take out of that is that there are measures that can be taken to prevent such incidents.

Greg Hao said...

precisely @Mr. C. Part of my point is also that violence is part of society, there are of course things we can and should do to minimise them at sporting events, but it is impossible to stamp out.

Neeebs said...

@Greg Hao:

I couldn't get past the first line, ie.:

"I hate to sound like a dick but even when it comes....."

Trying to think what it sounds like.

Greg Hao said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Hao said...

I fully acknowledge that it can come off as being insensitive and offensive, hence the "hate to sound like a dick" bit. I personally feel terrible for Stow and believe that those who caused him harm are criminals who ought to be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

And while this isn't directly related to Matthew S.'s email that was reposted, my larger point is that we as a society will never be free of violence and on the margins, there will also continue to be fan on fan violence. Even in Europe where they adopt measures that I think most Americans would consider extreme, they still cannot curb the violence.

Mr. Customer said...

I'm pretty sure Neeebs was thinking more literally.

MR.F said...

Oh I would LOVE if I didn't have to interact with Giants fans at Giants-Dodgers games in the city. PAINFUL PAINFUL MEMORIES!!!!

Paul said...

It is also easier to swallow a loss when your life expectantcy is above 50.

Neeebs said...

@MC:

Ah to know the Neeebs is to Love the Neeebs.

Greg Hao said...

roflmao@mr.c & neebs. Bastards ruining my poignant point!

Neeebs said...

@Greg. Sorry about the poignant point, but I couldn't help myself.

Orel said...

PGTUP!

Orel said...

whoops

Dusty Baker said...

@Greg No Photo

That's exactly what I was saying earlier today re societal underpinnings for violence. Check out that thread for more.