Los Angeles Dodgers

What Happened to Just Going to a Game, Having Fun and Rooting for Your Team

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 31:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch against the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium on March 31, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Gary BurzellCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2011

One of my fondest memories of my youth is the time my dad and I made the trek up the coast to San Francisco to watch the Dodgers play the Giants at Candlestick Park.

It was sometime in the early 70's, and Ron Cey was the Dodgers third baseman. Giants fans didn't like Cey too much for some reason, so every time he came to bat they would boo him. Of course when they would boo him, I would stand up and cheer him on.

When he hit a home run I really went crazy. The Giants fans around me said a few things and gave me a hard time, but it was all in fun, and we all had a great time. Never did I feel in danger.

Flash-forward to Opening Night at Dodger Stadium in 2011. After the game which the Dodgers won, two men severely beat a San Francisco Giants fan in the stadium parking lot.

"The man suffered a serious head injury during the assault after the game," said LAPD Sgt. Sanford Rosenberg, watch commander at the Northeast Division station.

The man was one of three Giants fans attacked in the parking lot by two men wearing Dodgers clothing. The two men attacked the trio, kicking and punching them and shouting expletives about the Giants as they delivered the blows, Rosenberg said.

Opening day at Dodger stadium has become known for rowdy crowds and incidents in the stands and the parking lot in recent years. Last year there were 132 arrests on opening day, and this year 72 people were arrested according to the LAPD.

I want to know what happened to just going to the game and having fun rooting for your team? A Giants fan has every right to go to Dodger Stadium and root for their team without fearing for their life. And a Dodgers fan has the same right in San Francisco.

Problems like this are not just at Dodger Stadium, and not just at baseball games. These kinds of incidents are happening with alarming frequency at almost every stadium and arena for almost every major sport.

I believe one reason for this is the sale of alcohol at sporting events—when people drink they do really stupid things.

I know it would never happen because there is just way too much money involved, but I think maybe the time has come where alcohol is no longer served at sporting events. But then that would punish those who can drink and not act out in a violent way at other fans, so that probably isn't the answer.

Another reason for these incidents in my opinion is that in general people just don't have a respect for the rights of others in our country any longer. Everyone has the right to believe what they want and root for the team that they want, even if that is at the other team's home stadium.

Of course I also believe that if you go to another team's stadium to root for your team you should do so in a respectful manner.

Yelling obscenities and rude comments is just asking for trouble. But if you are respectful, you should be able to enjoy yourself and not worry about getting beaten, stabbed or shot in the parking lot.

My wife is a Steelers fan, I am a Raiders fan. I would love to take her to Oakland the next time the Steelers come to town, but my wife is a passionate Steelers fan. She would wear her Steelers gear and root for her team. Probably very vocally.

Knowing how things are at sporting events today, I just wouldn't feel comfortable taking her to see the Steelers in Oakland.

And that isn't right.

Going to a sporting event is supposed to be fun, not a dangerous affair.

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