Tuesday, April 12, 2011


“It is extremely unfortunate that this incident took place on what was otherwise a great day at Dodger Stadium…”

This obtuse statement by Dodger management after the brutal beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow in the stadium parking lot is reminiscent of the cruel joke about Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theater: “Mrs. Lincoln, aside from the shooting, how was the play?”

Meanwhile, Stow remains in a coma, and his two children are uncertain if their father will ever be able to give them another hug.

Dodger damage control includes appointing former L.A. police chief Bill Bratton as a security consultant, reviewing policy on alcohol sizes and prices, and offering a $25,000 reward for information about the two thugs responsible for the beating—a figure currently increased to $150,000 by others..

A question seldom raised in the various articles about this incident is why hundreds of security officers should be needed at a baseball game—a question that suggests answers most folks would rather ignore.

Mayor Villaraigosa speaks nostalgically of the days when he watched the “Boys in Blue play at Chavez Ravine,” then laments obliquely that “our stadium environment has become something we can no longer be proud of”—as if the problem concerned shabby restroom facilities and not the number of individuals in cities like Los Angeles whose link to civilized behavior has become tenuous.

I can recall the days when fans often wore sportcoats and even ties to baseball games—a time when the use of crude expletives was viewed with all the disdain now reserved for smokers. It was an era prior to the cultural revolution that viewed obscene language as a badge of honor and chunked “meaningless” behavioral restrictions into a dustbin labeled “Don’t trust anyone [or anything] over thirty.”

The ultimate result of those sixties innovations is that residents in San Diego and Riverside County now have to ponder seriously the security implications of attending a major league baseball game—especially at Dodger Stadium.

A typical response to any criticism of modern American culture is that virulent discrimination existed in the past. This rationalization forges a link between the decadence of a Charlie Sheen and the just treatment of all individuals—as if progress in civil rights would have been impossible absent the abolition of traditional standards of dress, speech and deportment.

Apparently the beating of a few innocent fathers at baseball games is the price we pay for a more just society—or so the “logic” goes.

Only profound decadence, however, could seriously believe that social justice and barbaric behavior belong on the same team.

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