Most of us grew up with the image of Dodger Stadium as this bucolic paradise, a wide swath of verdant happiness in what’s become a rough-edged city. But now the rough edges of the city have intruded on the field of dreams, and there are definite issues with drunken, rowdy fans showing up to Los Angeles Dodgers games. What can the team do?
The problems at Dodger Stadium were thrust into the spotlight earlier this month when San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day, apparently for the sin of wearing some manner of Giants gear. His assailants are still at large, and Stow is in a medically induced coma, as doctors attempt to decrease the swelling of his brain.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Police Department announced plans to beef up their presence at Dodgers games, and team owner Frank McCourt announced the hiring of William Bratton, the former police chief in Los Angeles, Boston and New York City, to assess security at the ballpark.
“I’ve heard from the fans and the citizens of this community that they are uncomfortable with the behavior of some at Dodger Stadium,” McCourt said Friday at a news conference, as quoted by The New York Times. “We are going to provide a safe and family-friendly environment.”
Despite the good intentions, it doesn’t take someone with the pedigree of a William Bratton to identify what’s wrong: beer is the root of many of the problems at Dodger Stadium. The place has a reputation as a place to pound down a lot of brew in a short amount of time, and the outfield pavilions in particular are places where the emphasis is less on the game and more on the outrageous behavior. Six upcoming half-price food and drink days — which include half-price beers, apparently — probably should be altered. Putting a limit on the number of beers purchased, at least temporarily, would also be a good idea.
The Dodgers are still a major draw, with attendance per game actually up this season despite the Opening Day problems. It took McCourt more than a few days to formulate a response to the beating; it will be up to Bratton to quickly identify solutions.
There is now a $150,000 reward for Stow’s assailants — again, a little belated, but noteworthy.
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