There are legendary sports rivalries that we are all aware of. Oklahoma and Texas. Ohio State and Michigan. Yankees and the Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants rivalry is right up there with the most fierce. But what happened to Bryan Stow, a 40-year-old Santa Cruz paramedic, on opening day at Dodger Stadium is beyond comprehensible.
Stow was brutally attacked from behind and beaten at the hands of two LA Dodgers fans in the parking lot after the season opener on April 1st. If you are not up to speed on what happened, take a look at this video.
You may recall this time last year we wrote that the Dodgers organization had made tailgating a criminal act. Fans just sitting in their cars eating a sandwich were told by police and security people that they were tailgating and that they needed to start moving toward the stadium gates.
It sounds ridiculous but it is true. We’re not talking about doing upside down beer bongs on the top of an SUV in the parking lot. We’re talking about family and friends sitting in their cars having a sandwich and sharing a bag of chips.
This all started because another Giants fan was stabbed in the parking lot following the 2009 Dodgers opening day game. The Dodgers blamed the 2009 incident on tailgating being the catalyst and therefore in a knee jerk reaction, banned tailgating at the stadium.
That was all the evidence the Dodgers needed. Despite the fact that the 2009 stabbing occurred 90 minutes after the completion of the game, tailgating prior to the game was the reason the Dodgers believe this particular Giants fan was stabbed. The Dodgers did not probe into how much alcohol was consumed by the attacker while being served INSIDE Dodger Stadium. Apparently it was all the alcohol that was consumed prior to the game’s first pitch while out in the parking lot that led to the violence 90 minutes after the game ended. Apparently according to the Dodgers, tailgating is such a diabolical activity that it incites people to lose their minds and act violently after the game is over.
In light of this recent violence after tailgating has been absent from Dodger Stadium for two years now, I do have some questions for the Dodgers management.
1) Since tailgating has been banned since April 2009, how do they explain this recent vicious beating that sent a man to the hospital?
2) If tailgating is truly the root of all parking lot violence, why did Bryan Stow need to have a part of his skull surgically removed to relieve the swelling pressure on his brain after being savagely beaten?
3) If tailgating is the main problem for these violent acts, why is the violence occurring AFTER the game is over? Doesn’t it stand to reason that the violence would take place BEFORE the game starts because that is when all the tailgating is taking place?
4) Because the rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants is so fierce, is it possible these violent incidents are not caused by tailgating at all and it is actually the byproduct of the intense rivalry itself?
5) Seeing how parking lot violence is clearly not caused by tailgating since there has been zero tailgating happening at Dodger Stadium for two years now, will the Dodgers franchise reconsider their stance on banning tailgating?
I have sent a message via Twitter to Josh Rawitch, the Dodgers vice president of communications, requesting an interview to discuss these questions and more. In a previous tweet he appeared willing to open a conversation with a Los Angeles native who expressed her disappointment with the Dodgers’ handling of the Bryan Stow beating. I am hopeful he can find time in his schedule to discuss not only the Bryan Stow situation but also the future of tailgating at Dodger Stadium. I’ll keep you posted on what I find out if given the opportunity to speak with Mr. Rawitch.