On Opening Day, 42-year-old Bryan Stow and two other men in Giants gear were assaulted by two men in Dodgers gear. Stow suffered brain damage and remains in a coma following surgery.
His attackers remain on the loose. We should all be reminded this didn't happen in some gang infested community or on a dark street in the Southland. It happened at a professional baseball stadium with more than 100 witnesses nearby, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
You know, Opening Day is sacred territory. It's the beginning of spring, the flowers are preparing to bloom and little kids in over-sized baseball caps are zipping by in the grip of their dad's hand as they enter the ballpark. It seems so out of place for something like this to happen, right? Well, maybe not.
"This is going to be a game-changer. People will be awed by the response of the Los Angeles Police Department to this because we will not suffer this as a city again. People have a right to enjoy the American pastime and we are going to assure that," said Police Chief Charlie Beck.
It's a shame L.A. has to do this, but I understand. If you've been to professional baseball, football and basketball games lately, you may not be surprised by the beefed up enforcement.
Things are changing people. I don't know if it's the alcohol, testosterone or societal stress, but the knuckleheads are sitting nearby. Be prepared to cover your seven-year-old's ears as the jerk two rows behind you uses language you wouldn't spew at your worst enemy.
Should Security Be Increased at U.S. Professional Sporting Events?
A few years ago, my wife and I were visiting the West Coast. We were at a MLB game. Nice day. Great weather, Good game. Two inconsiderate young men sitting behind us.
Actually we were sitting in box seats along the first base line. We splurged a little bit and got the expensive seats. The two loudmouths behind us came down from the nosebleeds as the game entered the later innings. They were using language that focused on sex, women and drugs. My wife was obviously uncomfortable, and so we took a walk.
I was hoping security or one of the ushers would overhear these clowns, but no such luck. And to be quite honest, I wouldn't want to put an usher in the middle of this. Chances are he's a senior citizen who doesn't need to deal with this crap.
So I understand more cops in and around the venue. Back in the day, a Steelers fan was attacked in the stands at an L.A. Raiders game in the Coliseum. Such acts of aggression are not unheard of at professional sporting events, but this may be the first serious Opening Day attack in recent memory.
I'll say this as well. Alcohol certainly doesn't help the situation. Everyone likes to enjoy a cold brew at the game, but let's face it, a lot of guys take it way too far. They get trashed, words are exchanged, your team versus mine and you know the rest of the story.
At an NBA game not too long ago, I was sitting in the stands listening to a guy talk about this girl and that girl. It was for everyone to hear, apparently. He'd had too much to drink. You could smell it on him if you walked by.
He was functioning, but definitely hammered, and the words coming out of his mouth were embarrassing and offensive. Ruined the night. Unfortunately the guy was in my party. I spent the game shielding my face. He's not with me.
It's depressing we've gotten to the point where extra cops are called in to patrol America's Favorite Pastime because of such a gruesome attack. A day of celebration turned into tragedy. Stow's family is devastated. Who knows what the future holds for him after such a brutal assault? At a baseball game!!
A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the two men suspected of beating Stow. Police say they were inundated with over 80 tips from callers responding to composite sketches of the attackers. Detectives are hoping reward money will persuade people who know the attackers to come forward with their names.
Dodger Stadium is planning to beef up security all around the facility and announced an absolute minimum of doubling of the 30 to 40 uniformed officers who typically work at games. Plainclothes officers will also be deployed, according to latimes.com.
The thing about going to the game is that it gives you an escape from reality for a couple of hours. You get a chance to see grown men running around playing at boy's game at lightning speed. It's fun. It's entertaining. It's something a lot of us enjoy.
Here's hoping we can protect the sanctity of "Opening Day" and not lose the one thing we all grew up loving.