Image of Dodger Stadium beating victim Stow is shown on scoreboard before MLB National League baseball game between San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals in San Francisco, California

Closing arguments held in the Bryan Stow civil case — both sides blame alcohol as a contributing factor


The evidentiary phase of the civil case Bryan Stow filed against the Dodgers arising out of the brutal beating he received in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in 2011 has concluded. Lawyers for Stow and the Dodgers gave their closing statements yesterday, and the case is now in the jury’s hands.

The arguments each side made are to be expected in a case like this. Stow’s argument is that there should have been more uniformed police officers at the stadium and more security officers who would have likely ejected Stow’s assailants from the ballpark before there was ever a chance for an assault to go down. The Dodgers’ attorney asserted that there was more security than at any other Dodgers opening day in history, and no one could have prevented the assault on Stow.

But alcohol played a part in both sides’ closings. With the Dodgers claiming that Stow’s state of intoxication at the time of the attack contributed to what happened, and Stow’s lawyers blaming the Dodgers for excessive beer sales. From the Dodgers’ closing:

“There were three parties responsible — Sanchez, Norwood and, unfortunately, Stow himself. There were things Mr. Stow did that put these things in action,” Fox said.

He added, “You don’t get yourself this drunk and then say it’s not your fault.”

From Stow’s lawyer:

“Dodger Stadium got to a place where it was a total mess. There was a culture of violence. Beer sales were off the charts . . . “

The jury will now decide.

Which teams improved and declined the most in 2015?

Joe Maddon
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I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.

First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:

+24 Cubs
+21 Rangers
+16 Astros
+15 Diamondbacks
+13 Twins
+11 Mets
+10 Blue Jays
+10 Cardinals
+10 Pirates

The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.

Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:

-20 Athletics
-16 Tigers
-15 Orioles
-14 Brewers
-13 Nationals
-13 Angels
-12 Braves
-12 Reds
-11 Mariners

Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.