When you get 25,000 or 50,000 people together for a baseball game and throw in a few beers, it’s inevitable that some fans are going to misbehave. I’ve seen that ugly side of baseball in major league stadiums up close.
One of the worst episodes was in 1977 or 1978 when a nasty fight broke out right in front of me late in a doubleheader between the Indians and Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston. Stadium security moved in and carted the bad guys away.
Outside the stadium, where security officers are scarce, things can get even uglier. That’s what happened outside Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles after this season’s opening game, where Giants fan Brian Stow was savagely beaten.
Both franchises have shown compassion and class in responding. Before their game last night at AT&T Park in San Francisco, players, coaches and managers of both teams stood together to denounce violence.
Jeremy Affeldt of the Giants and Jamey Carroll of the Dodgers each spoke to the crowd. “When the last out is made, that rivalry ends on the field, so please respect that,” Affeldt said.
May Brian Stow recover fully, and may fans of all sports remember Affeldt’s appeal to leave the intensity on the field.