Is Dodger Stadium truly dangerous?

68 Comments

The incident at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day has led to a lot of discussion about fan safety, but for some people who are familiar with Dodger Stadium, this is not a new problem. Here’s freelancer Paul Oberjuerge:

Aside from what appears to be the seriousness of the victim’s injuries, what is new about this?

It may be a dirty little secret, nationally, where the perception is that Dodgers fans are ultra-mellow. You know, “they come late and leave early!” thing. Too cool for school. In point of fact, Dodger Stadium has been filled with dozens, maybe even hundreds of thugs almost every game for years now. Obscenity-spewing, tatted-up gangsters, often-drunk, who can ruin a game for anyone in their vicinity.

They are particularly common in the pavilions and the top deck, but almost no part of the stands are safe, aside from the most expensive seats on the field level.

Yikes. I’ve only been to one Dodgers game in my life. I sat in the upper deck down the third base line where, according to Oberjuerge, the rabble like to rouse.  It was a weekend night and the beer was flowing, but I can’t say it felt hostile in any way. It just seemed like a lot of passionate fans were up there, not unlike the kind you’d see at many east coast stadiums, contrary to the popular stereotype of the L.A. baseball fan.

Was I just there on a good night? Is Oberjuerge right? Is Dodger Stadium a hostile place?  I have no idea.  The tale used to be that guards and ushers at Dodger Stadium were always smiling but always ruthless, enforcing a shiny happy code of conduct on people, turning the place into a somewhat scary but totally safe — maybe unnaturally safe and even sterile — playground.

Has this changed? I’m curious to hear from those of you who frequent Chavez Ravine of what the lay of the land is at Dodger Stadium these days. And how it compares to the Alston-Lasorda years.

Red Sox look to punch their ticket to the World Series tonight

Getty Images
14 Comments

Thanks to some amazing defense, some big hits and — to continue to beat this horse, a bad call by Joe West — the Red Sox have a 3-1 lead in the ALCS and look to clinch the AL Pennant tonight down in Houston.

If you believe in momentum, you’d have to say it’s on Boston’s side. If you believe that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher, however, you’d have to say things favor Houston more than the standing of the series would suggest. All of which makes me wish Game 5 was starting right now, because it figures to be a tense and exciting affair.

ALCS Game 5

Red Sox vs. Astros
Ballpark: Minute Maid Park
Time: 8:09 PM Eastern
TV: TBS
Pitchers: David Price vs. Justin Verlander
Breakdown:

If someone told you that you had to win one baseball game against the Martians to save the human race, you could do far worse than calling on Justin Verlander to be your starting pitcher. Among the pitchers still in the postseason, he’d almost certainly be your choice right now.

Does Verlander himself appreciate the situation? This is what he said about that yesterday:

“I mean, these are all must-win games at this point. Every time you take the mound I don’t think there’s any difference whether it’s 2-2 or 3-1.”

Look, we’re asking him to beat the Martians here, not win the National Math Bee, so let’s let that go. The point is that after all of these years he’s still one of the most dominant pitchers in the game and after the exhausting, see-saw battle of Game 4, he stands the best chance of giving Houston what it needs: a quick, quiet and drama-free win.

Not that the Red Sox are likely to roll over for that. They didn’t the first time they faced Verlander in this series. They Astros won, yes, and Verlander limited them to two runs on two hits. But he also issued four walks and wasn’t his sharpest overall. Boston didn’t capitalize on his mistakes as best they could, but he’s not invincible.

For Boston it’s David Price. He allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four and two-thirds innings in Game 2, not factoring in the decision. That’s not great, but given the talk leading up to that game being all about how Price is a postseason flop, the fact that the Sox won it in the end had to bouy him at least a little. As does the fact that, here, tonight, it’s not 100% on his shoulders. Sure, the Sox want to close this out, but with a 3-1 lead there is less pressure on Price than on his former teammate Verlander. Worth noting, though: Price is on short rest and warmed up in the bullpen last night in case he was needed to bail out Craig Kimbrel. He may not go deep into this game.