Sunday, April 10, 2011

Faces of Evil: The Bryan Stow Attack

We all love the game we call baseball. Many of us love sports in general. We enjoy competition, and it's merely human nature. Since the beginning of man, people have been finding ways to prove their worth against others. Competition and rivalry brings out the best in some and the worst in others.

It's been said that it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. I believe that applies to fans of organized sport as well.

While I do not agree that the outcome of sport takes lower priority over sportsmanship, I agree that the way a fanbase conducts itself in general influences widespread opinion, and the way opposing fans treat them during interactions.

With that being said, I delayed writing this article by over week purposely. The attack on Giants fan Bryan Stow following opening night in Los Angeles enraged me. It enraged me to the point where I was worried about what I might say on this site, which is read by enough people to make me think twice about what I write.

What happened to Stow, a vicious and unprovoked attack, is one of the most cowardly acts in the history of American professional sports. No one deserves to be beaten because of what they believe or who they are. And although we may not all get along or share the beliefs or lifestyles of others, that doesn't give anyone the right to attack anyone physically.

I'm pretty realistic about this stuff. There are some people that simply look for fights. People get drunk and obnoxious. Idiots feel tough in a group and pop off to the stadium's cheering minority. It's part of the game, and it's part of the cross section of any society-- especially when it comes to sporting events. I get that. There are bad apples everywhere; morons in every walk of life.

I also know what Dodger Stadium is like. I've been there many times, beginning as a young kid with my dad. I've been lucky enough to be to a lot of different ballparks and arenas over the years, including the East Coast, and although I'm by no means an expert on these topics, I can tell you what I know to be factual.

Most Dodger fans are not despicable criminals like Stow's assailants. A lot of them are just like you or me... save of course the obvious fact that they are unfortunate to have been born in the worst part of our beautiful state with parents misguided enough to raise them as Dodger fans. Hey, nobody's perfect.

There is an element as Dodger Stadium however, that is unlike anything else you'll see at professional sporting events. The Oakland Coliseum for Raider games is the closest thing you'll find to the criminal element at Chavez Ravine.

There is no coincidence in the tie between the former Los Angeles Raiders and Dodgers, their rough element of fans, and the fact that opposing fans rightfully have their heads on a swivel at these games.

LA's gang culture exploded in the 1980s and 90s. The rise of rap and hip hop stars and groups like Ice Cube, NWA, etc. gave a lot of these criminal groups a public identity to attach itself to. The ESPN/Ice Cube 30 for 30 documentary "Straight Outta LA" detailed this.

Gangs began attaching themselves to The LA Raiders, their colors and clothing becoming associated with thug life and the rough street lifestyle that suddenly became glamorous. Long story short, the LA Coliseum became a dangerous place, a place dangerous enough where players didn't want their families in the crowd and opposing gang members frequently fought in public.

The reason I bring up the Raiders and their thuggish fans in the 80's and 90's is that once Al Davis moved the team back North to Oakland, this culture no longer had a local team to attach itself to.

Sure, they like the Lakers, but the Lakers have 20,000 seats, and it has always been a tough ticket. The NBA in LA is reserved for celebrities and people with money.

What's left? The Kings? No. Street toughs don't like hockey. USC football? Ehh, to a certain extent, but what does this rough element have in common with the University of Spoiled children? Not much.

That left the Dodgers... now a magnet for LA's thriving thug element.

These days, if this element of bad apples wants to go to a game for a reasonable price and hang out with their kind, they go to Chavez Latrine to cheer on people like Matt Kemp and Casey Blake, primarily filling the outfield pavilion sections (left field being the most notorious).

Most of these thugs don't care about the game. They care about getting drunk and talking smack. Paralleling the gang mindset of "us against them" and strength in numbers, it's a perfect public place for them to assemble.

Now I'm not saying that all of these bad apples are all in organized criminal street gangs, because that would be inaccurate. It's the lifestyle and mindset of "I'm tough, these are my homeboys, this is our hood, and this is my team."

That's just as dangerous as anything else.

And I know this is ALWAYS a very touchy topic, and some people can't handle having discussions about this without dismissing valid arguments, but there unfortunately is a racial element to this subject.

I won't harp on this, but I will state that there is a stereotype of what a "scary" Dodger fan looks like. Again, it's not everyone, and there are tons of exceptions to every rule, but the stereotype of the rough Hispanic Dodger fan looking for a fight is not a stereotype for no reason.

The gang population of the greater LA County area is estimated to be as high as 85,000. It is a huge problem to say the least.

Again, it's not mostly gang members intimidating people at Dodgers games, but there is a gang culture in Los Angeles that has influenced large amounts of young people, whether they do illegal things or not.

There is simply an element and culture of aggressive inhumanity and rudeness by some Dodger fans that cannot be ignored.

Take the account of Giants fan Teresa, who attended Opening Day in Los Angeles, the same game that resulted in Bryan Stow fighting for his life:

"I sat in LF (Pavilion) at Dodger Stadium on Opening Night. I went alone (came from Fresno). Beforehand, I gave some thought to how I would conduct myself and what I would wear because I am very aware of the hostile nature of Dodger Stadium. Everyone with a Giants hat or jersey was loudly booed wherever they went by large groups of people. While in the stands, one man got really bossy. He demanded that I stand when Vin Scully was introduced. I didn't. But the second time he yelled at me, I did what he said because it scared me. (He told me to take off my visor for God Bless America.)

I left in the 8th inning because I had a bus to catch and I also had no interest in being around if the Giants lost. There was a bad vibe in the stands. No one would converse with me because of my Giants visor and t-shirt. People were plain rude. In the 3rd or 4th inning, I was yelled at by a woman for sitting in the wrong row. I moved down one. I realized I had forgotten my water bottle under the bench and asked her husband to pass it to me. He refused. He moved his leg and said, "You get it." It was such a strange evening. I will never go back."

Booing Giants fans I understand. Fine. I boo Dodgers fans too. That's not a big deal. But just the fact that people can't feel safe in the stands at a baseball game is just unacceptable.

This isn't football, or European soccer, Thai kickboxing, or that game that they play in Afghanistan in Rambo III where they drag the goat carcass around. This is baseball, in America.

It's just extremely discouraging.

People just go there to have a good time and root for their team. For some Dodger fans, that apparently entails yelling at women and children, throwing things at men, and purveying a general sense of irreverence and mob-style intimidation.

Just look at what they have to do to keep the peace in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Once you park, you have to leave your car and immediately go into the ballpark. Drinking alcohol of any kind is prohibited, and you will be asked to dump it out or asked to leave if you refuse any of their bullying.

This happened to me only last year in a game against Pittsburgh. I was sitting with 3 other college students that all looked like me. We were in a Honda Pilot with the windows rolled up, and we were listening to Paul Simon while drinking a Coors Light.

We were badgered, harassed, and had our beers poured out by parking lot Nazis, then told we couldn't even smoke a cigarette outside the car. We had to go in, or we'd be asked to leave.

Where were these parking lot Nazis while Bryan Stow was getting his skull bounced against the pavement?

I suppose they were busy harassing peaceful groups of people enjoying the fact that baseball was back for another exciting year.

Do I blame them for the no-tolerance policy? No. I get it.

In 2010, there were 132 arrests at Dodger Stadium during Opening Day. 132! That is just unfathomable to me.

I guess the crackdown has had some effect as ONLY 25 people were arrested this year.

I'm waiting for that number to increase to 27.

The pieces of human garbage that attacked Bryan Stow don't deserve to live. They really don't. If they think that sucker punching and kicking a father of two until he nearly died is acceptable behavior, then they are better off dead.

Unfortunately, we don't live in a society anymore where people who do bad things are always punished. I like to think that even if people like these two get away with stuff like this during their lifetime, that they will burn for an eternity in hell.

And if you don't believe in heaven or hell, at least start believing in hell, because if those guys just get to live out their pathetic, violent lives, then die and don't have to pay for their crimes, then there really is no justice in the world (or afterworld for that matter).

I'm not giving up hope that someone will finger these two scumbags, but honestly, these guys could be anywhere. It's like finding a needle in a haystack even in the parking lot, let alone a metropolitan area of nearly 9 million, where they could easily blend in.

As angry as we are as Giants fans. We absolutely cannot retaliate against Dodger fans or anything else. We are the San Francisco Giants and we are Giants Nation. WE DON'T DO THESE THINGS TO OTHER PEOPLE. We ARE better than Dodger fans as a group.

Any person that decides to start a fight or causes any harm to one of these people is also causing harm to other Giants fans in the court of public opinion. Just with poor Bryan Stow and how his story was plastered over the national sports and news media, so will any signs of violent retaliation by Giants fans.

The microscope is on AT&T Park for this series.

Although two wrongs feels right, it unfortunately isn't always the best thing to do.

The best thing we can do to get our justice and vengeance is to send our thoughts and prayers to Bryan Stow and his family, make a donation to help pay his mounting medical bills if we are able, conduct ourselves with the class that makes us better than Dodger fans, and for God's sake, sweep these bastards on the field.

Consider the plea from Stow's cousin:

"We would like to use this as a rallying cry to stop unnecessary violence in our greatest pastime and all other sports, not only here but abroad. This would be one of the greatest gifts you could give to us, especially Bryan. So I ask for one last thing on behalf of Bryan -- that we all enjoy a safe and competitive and exciting year of baseball and a successful Giants home-opening weekend at AT&T Park."

I don't know Bryan Stow, but he was a Giants fan. He is one of us. He is just a guy who's day job is to save lives as a paramedic, and his night job is to raise his children. His life will never be the same, and I hope that no one that considers themselves a Giants fan will change anyone else's life in that manner.

On that note, I hate the Dodgers possibly more than I ever have, and I will always hold this incident against them and their fans, deserving or not. Everything about them makes me sick, but when I begin to get angry I remember two things:

1) We won the World Series & they suck

2) We are a better fanbase of classy individuals who would never do anything like that.

On that note...





  1. Good post. And I know it's wrong but if I saw some Dodger fans being assholes in the stands, I'd send a message. I wouldn't want to do the same thing as those pieces of scum did but someone's gotta pay for this. I wish Stow well, though I know his life will never be the same.

  2. Great article. I'm sure Dodgers fans will be expecting us to retaliate when the series starts tomorrow night. The best thing we can do is to stay classy. And, of course, to Beat LA!

  3. Good thing you waited until you cooled down. I was at the home opener and when I saw Bryan's wife and one of his kids in the next section, along with the photo you posted here on the big screen, it really hit home. I do a hockey road trip every year and while the fan base is different, I will now take shall those trips with a little more trepidation. Bravo for your and a prayer for Bryan.

    1. Regarding the opening day game at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011- Dodgers v. Giants- I am a legal investigator trying to obtain information regarding events which took place inside, and outside the stadium, specifically in regards to incidents of violence and security response.

      Please contact my office at 800-901-5119, and indicate that you have information regarding Dodger Stadium. All information is privileged and confidential, and more details regarding this matter and our involvement will be provided at the time of the call.

      Thank you,

  4. Retaliating in San Francisco doesn't affect the two assholes who did this whatsoever. Nor does it do anything to help out Brian Stow. Its fun to talk shit and all but this is real life and anybody talking about retaliation is no better than the two scumbags who assaulted Stow. As a matter of fact that's exactly how gang members operate.

  5. Nice job here, Dan.

    I concur. As much as I hate the Dodgers and their pathetic, small-dicked fans, I have never had to worry about somebody telling me to "get it yourself" at the 'Stick or AT&T Park.

    The vibe in SF has always been one of love, peace and flowers in your hair.

    In LA, it's hate, violence, and a boot to your head.

  6. Nice article, i agree with the sentiment: We ARE Giants Fans and better than Dodger fans.

    I've seen some rowdy behavior at Pac Bell, taunts, yelling and even once a beer being thrown across a section to hit a dodger fan squarely across the chest while walking up the steps. But nothing like attacking a man from behind and kicking is head while he's on the ground, those guys are scum.

  7. I'm not a gangsta rap fan (which by the way is pretty much dead) or a gang member, but this article is just ridiculous. Attaching this incident to rap music is nonsense. Attaching the incident to gangs is nonsense. There is no evidence that these guys are affiliated with gangs in any way. The rap connection this guy is trying to make is even more ridiculous. Two idiots attacked a guy at after a game ... why can't we just leave it at that. It amazes me that people read this nonsense and actually say good post. Are we becoming this narrow minded as a people?

  8. I was there at the game too. I was in the parking lot only 15 minutes before that beeting. I witnessed a big fight in the concorse, and had 50 people yell at me while going to sit. My heart goes out to Bryan, I will do what I can to support he cause. Dodger stadium is a place nobody needs to go, that place is a cesspool.

    1. Eric,
      Regarding the opening day game at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011- Dodgers v. Giants- I am a legal investigator trying to obtain information regarding events which took place inside, and outside the stadium, specifically in regards to incidents of violence and security response.

      Please contact my office at 800-901-5119, and indicate that you have information regarding Dodger Stadium. All information is privileged and confidential, and more details regarding this matter and our involvement will be provided at the time of the call.

      Thank you,

  9. Dodger fan here, good article. Just know there are many "real" baseball fans out here in the LA area that are disgusted with the acts of these idiots. My heart and prayers go out to Bryan Stow and his family.

    We have seen games in most of the mlb stadiums when our son was young, towing him along with his dodger blue glove and dodger hat; we had a great time enjoying the game we love. We ran into some idiots from time to time but never to this level. Please don't allow a few idiots ruin it for everyone, I just hope they catch those @-holes soon and they get what they derserve.

  10. Another Dodger fan here. The thesis of the article is spot on. After I heard about the attempted murder these two gang bangers put on Mr Stow, I vowed never to go to another Dodger game again. Hell, I can't even watch a Dodger game anymore. It is despicable and evil what those two guys did. Whats worse is that Dodger ownership has encouraged an unfriendly, rowdy and dangerous experience at Dodger Stadium. Half off beer night has been one of their normal promotions to get people to come to the park. This defies all logic. Either they have no clue what their primary fan base, demographic is or they just flat don't care what type of people enter the park. The majority of Dodger fans are latino/hispanic and many of them are gang bangers, who are also still Raider fans. Or at least where the colors and act like animals. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I grew up around gang bangers, in school and otherwise, and I am more than qualified to comment on such matters. The gang problem comes directly from the 2nd and 3rd world latino/hispanic cultural backwardness and lack of civil sophistication. No one will ever say this publicly but these people are basically stuck in the middle ages. This has been going on here for almost a century and most latino/hispanic gang members are the latest of generations of gangsters that have come before them within their own families. This is an instinctual and tribal behavior. In their society, ethnic and tribal allegiance to their gangs and race run as deep as any of you feel about your wife and kids. Certainly this does not apply to all latinos/hispanics. A great many of them have fully embraced and accepted our American culture and have assimilated completely. It is ultimately up to these 1st world, law abiding morally upstanding latinos/hispanics to help change their own destructive aspects withing their wider culture and communities. We cannot wish for it from the outside. The change must come from within. Until that happens this is an ex Dodgers fan that ain't going back to the Stadium and ain't givin no love to the Dodgers. God bless Bryan Stow and his family, they didn't deserve this.


  11. I live in Cincinnati and support the Reds. I have gone through 3 stadiums in my life. I went to the old stadium with my girlfriends (I am a female) when we were in high school. The new stadium was built and I went to The Big Red Machine days with my friends. I have been to the new ballpark and go with my young grandson. I have never felt nervous in the ballparks. I do watch when I am walking to my car now since the parking is horrific, but it is awful to read about the type of things going on at other parks. My two young nieces (9 & 11) know all the stats, have autographed posters and cards, and go early to the games to meet the players. We don't have the fear that I am seeing that is in the Dodger stadium. Thank God we still have family baseball. I hope it remains that way! I check on Bryan Stow's condition daily and am praying for him and his family. This is so tragic and so unnecessary. No one should be treated like Bryan was treated. No one should even 'have a beer thrown at them'. Keep fighting to come back Bryan. You are loved all throughout the baseball world!

  12. Fuck the giants all of you can suck each others cocks through your assholes.

  13. Fuck you "DUDGER" fan, you're probably a stereotypical shitty scumbag that doesn't know cock about sports, but yet you wear those hideous blue fuckin hats and have a big STUPID LA sticker on your piece of shit 2002 Nissan Altima antique! Real, dedicated and knowledgeable "DUDGER" fans I can tolerate, but not wastes of human skin like those two bald CUNTS that attacked Stowe! I'm Mexican and fuckin disgusted by these low life good for nothings. I'm ashamed of living in Los Angeles county and they're fuckin glad they didn't fuck with the wrong person, cus it would've been lights out faggot as "DOYER" fans

  14. I'm disgusted with the light sentences the two attackers got. I've never been to a professional sports game. That incident sure doesn't make me want to ever go to one, and possibly run into lumps of s... like those two attackers, who seem to be very common among professional sports fans.
    Brian Stow will never be the same, and those m.f.s are out of jail already. It makes me want to vomit at the judicial system.