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Quote of the Day: Tim Keown on the Bryan Stow beating

Apr 12, 2011, 2:07 PM EDT

Dodger Stadium

ESPN Los Angeles’ Tim Keowan says something that I’ve been thinking since Sunday when I watched the Giants-Cardinals game and heard the broadcasters talking about how baseball rivalries shouldn’t be taken so seriously. And last night when the Dodgers and Giants players implored fans to keep their animosity limited to the action on the field.  Here’s Keown:

I contend this is a sports story only because it occurred outside a ballpark. The two men who beat Stow are thugs first, baseball fans second. Their motivation had nothing to do with sports; Stow’s Giants jersey was merely the avenue they chose to display their subhuman tendencies. They went after him because he was there; his affiliation to the Giants was just the excuse.

This thing wasn’t about a rivalry. It was about criminals doing criminal things in a baseball setting.  Anyone who can understand the appeal to keep baseball rivalries civil aren’t in need of the message.  Likewise, the people who would beat up someone in a parking lot are immune to reason.

  1. jlhc5530 - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I concur. However, there’s no need to treat thuggism so fatalistically. There are both cause and effect connections between the pathoses (sic?) of the fanbases of each team in a rivalry. I do think it’s of prime importance to periodicall bolster the sentiment and approach of fans to at least support an intolerance of criminal violence in the midst of this particular activity in their lives. You can stock the bleachers with po-po all you want, but the best method is in the crowd’s ability to alienate primitive idiocy themselves.

  2. yankeesfanlen - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Any public venue is susceptible to the open invitation to all members of society- thugs included. The only solution is to provide ample security for crowd control within the limits of general expectations of the law-abiding (and somewhat mannerly) “guests” Which means a little bit more disorderly at Yankee Stadium than at Short Hills Mall.
    The Dodgers did not hold up their end of the bargain, by all accounts in that still quoted post “Is Dodger Stadium Safe?” Maybe now they will do what management should have done years ago.
    This does not include tasing kids or bopping Pirate fans, either.
    Any conclusion? Not really, just always watch your back. At least I haven’t been mugged in the HBT parking lot either, and before you pounce, I am in total accord with the outpouring of sympathy for Bryan Stow and hope the reprehensible characters who perpetrated this visious attack are brought to justice. It could have been ANY fan!

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Just to be clear: in no way does the observation that this attack had little to do with baseball rivalries mean that the Dodgers’ security was acceptable nor should it mean that attacks are inevitable. It merely means that appeals to good sportsmanship are kind of beside the point.

    • drunkenhooliganism - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:56 PM

      It’s true that what happened to the Giants’ fan was nothing more than a hate crime, but creating a less antagonistic atmosphere in and around the stadium could lead to violence like this being stopped before it starts. I’ve been to many sporting events, mostly college football games, where drunken bravado (and hooliganism) and aggressive shittalking was so prominent that having it escalate to violence seemed inevitable.

      Toning down the false bravado in the first place by simply telling your friend to STFU because he sounds like an idiot, while he’s accosting another fan or just minding your own manners a bit could lead to tempering the discourse at and around our stadiums and could lead to fans being more shocked and thus more aware when a potentially violent incident may occur.

      I just reread that. When did I become an idealist?

    • pwf207 - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:08 PM

      Craig, why do continue to present the argument that “evil” or criminal actors and actors just are that way and there is no effect of context or social influences/factors that can make such acts more or less likely? there is myriad research in social science that suggests otherwise; hooliganism in other sports (often soccer) has shown that tribalism or in group/ out group identification facilitates dehumanization of potential victims and thus can lead to more frequent violent acts. bottom line “evil” is not some black box that cannot be understood, it has mechanisms of protocol transmission just like all other human acts. all actions committed by humans can be understood as arising from a variety of factors, and a fairly prevalent factor in acts of violence among humans is in group/ out group or “team” identification.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:12 PM

        “and there is no effect of context or social influences/factors that can make such acts more or less likely?”

        I’ve claimed no such things. There are all manner of failures of socialization and external factors that turned these people into what they are. But if you think that sports rooting is a cause of this act as opposed to merely a flash point, you’re nuts.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:22 PM

        Is pwf207 your old buddy David under a different name?

    • jlhc5530 - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:14 PM

      I politely disagree that good sportmanship in the stands is beside the point, Craig. Thugs are not so below “the rest of us” that their behavior is inaccessible ideologically (i.e. connected to the average fans of the rivalry). I think its is absurd not to acknowledge the pathological connections between individual and social behavior. In that line of reason, police are the only thing holding us back from crime? I don’t think so. There are too many studies of neighborhood civic improvement being way more effective in limiting gang activities than increased policing, for instance.

      Besides that, there is an easy statistical argument that you limit the amount of thug behavior if the environment is less conducive to it during the game. If the sub-environment for thugs in the stands does not get to maintain a comfortable niche, less thug activity is going to result. Just because this happened in the lot outside and after the game does not mean the context was unaffected by the tenor in which fans observed it. No event is so isolated, and even if it means a slow slog to less thug tolerance, the long term effects are totally valid.

  4. jaydeee11 - Apr 12, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    I remember a time when Dodger stadium was a great family place to watch a game. That changed a few years ago when a “criminal” element seemed to move in. Now it’s more like a Raiders game there at Chavez Ravine. The Dodger organization needs to increase their security there that’s for sure.

  5. seeingwhatsticks - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    What happened to Stow is horrible, and there’s no excuse for it whatsoever. At the same time though, this doesn’t feel like one of those situations where everyone is at fault and we all need to calm down. The people who beat Brian Stow are at fault. The people who decided the security at Dodger Stadium are at fault to some degree as well. While I think the Giants and Dodgers players who addressed the crowd last night had their hearts in the right place I’m not sure that message was delivered to the right audience.

    I try not to get too political here because this isn’t the forum and I hate reading people’s political opinions here, but there have been numerous times and numerous issues where the Republicans have made terrible mistakes and then rather than accept blame they try to pretend that both parties are responsible and that the most important thing is for us all to come together and move on. I’m sure both parties are guilty of this and I just notice it more coming from the right because I tend to lean somewhat to the left, but that’s how a lot of the talk about this incident is striking me. Giants fans didn’t do anything wrong. For the most part Dodgers fans didn’t do anything wrong. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that it’s the guys who committed this crime that are at fault.

  6. foreverdog - Apr 12, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    I don’t buy it. I’ve never been in a fight in my life. But I have a scar on the middle of my forehead from the last Dodger game I ever went to 20 years ago. What did I do? I told some guys to take it easy as there appeared to be a fight brewing… I was trying to make peace, but instead some guy cold-cocked me in my forehead, I was walking away. But instead, he sent me to the hospital with my head split open.
    I was wearing a Giants cap. And if wearing a Giants hat and telling guys to keep their cool is me showing my “subhuman” tendencies, well, I don’t know what being human is.

    • fquaye149 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      I think you misunderstood the point of this post

      • foreverdog - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        I did misunderstand the portion about the subhuman tendencies. As a victim of a mugging outside Dodger stadium in a Giants cap, It’s hard for me as a focus group of 1 to let Dodger stadium and their fans off the hook.

  7. cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    I don’t see this as a sporting incident either. It’s a criminal act the same way it would’ve been if one player attacked another with a bat. Nothing in the sport says “I will try to kill you”. Nothing 2 crazy people do in the stadium parking lot has to do with the team. It’s an incident for management of the park to be held responsible for, not the Dodgers’ players.

  8. baseballstars - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    This is a gang-related problem, not a baseball fan problem. It would be wrong for every baseball organization take increased security measures and crack down on people who just want to watch the game. It was an unfortunate incident, but a reflection on LA’s gang culture, not baseball culture. We haven’t degraded into soccer hooliganism yet.

  9. garlicfriesandbaseball - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Good point. I was at that game and ceremony and actually made the comment “They’re preaching to the choir”. In other words, no sense even talking to the thugs, they won’t get it, and the others already do.

  10. schmitty2 - Apr 12, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I’m starting to see fans like this at Angels games. It’s going to get to the point where we will all just have to stay home..very sad

  11. notdumb - Apr 12, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    he has a point about grown men wearing replica jerseys . im a huge fan of the twins and vikings but i wouldn’t be caught dead in a jersey because i dont like looking like an idiot

    • cur68 - Apr 12, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      n-dumb; he’s got an opinion, not a point. It’d be a point if there was some law or a local written rule or somesuch. Having an opinion means yours and his are as good as any other. In no way shape or form should someone be beaten nearly to death over a harmless opinion like supporting the visiting team by wearing a jersey. Beating others to death is in fact against the law; that’s a point.

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