Los Angeles, San Francisco city leaders condemn ballpark violence

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There was a time from the late 60s through to about the mid-80s when going to the ballpark was an unpleasant and, at times, dangerous experience. Alcohol flowed too freely, security was lax and ticket prices were cheap enough to where people who weren’t particularly invested in baseball games for baseball games’ sake didn’t think twice about showing up, more interested in partying or raising hell than in following the action.  Sadly, Thursday night’s horrifying beating of a man outside of Dodger Stadium reminded us of that time.

As of this morning the victim of the attack, Bryan Stow, a paramedic from Santa Cruz, remains in a medically-induced coma and his friends say that there has been no change in his condition. Meanwhile, in the wake of the attack, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and police chiefs from both cities issued a statement of condemnation and urged civility among fans:

“This attack is unconscionable behavior that will not be tolerated in either of our ballparks or in either of our cities. Once apprehended, the attackers will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Public safety is the top priority for all of us, and even one act of random violence is unacceptable.

“Baseball is a family sport that has unified our country after times of crisis and tragedy. This senseless act of violence has no place in our society and certainly not in our national pastime.

“The Giant/Dodger rivalry is one of the most storied in all of sports, dating back to when the teams played across town in New York City before their moves to California. This is a great rivalry between teams competing on the field of play. That’s where it must stay.

“We call on our respective citizens to stand together in honor of that rivalry as you have done throughout the years. Root hard for your teams, and do so with civility and common decency.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim, Bryan Stow, and his family. The best thing that we as a community of baseball fans can do to support Bryan and his family is to rise above this outrageous act and exercise good sportsmanship and mutual respect for each other.”

Perhaps more effective than the call for civility, however, is the fact that L.A. has issued a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the attackers. Here’s hoping that it is righteously claimed, and soon.

The Phillies plan to spend money and “maybe even be a little bit stupid about it”

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In an age in which even baseball’s richest teams talk about tight budgets and keeping payroll low, it’s pretty rare to hear anyone connected with a front office talking about freely spending money. Phillies owner John Middleton, however, offered up something rare about the team’s approach to free agency.

“We’re going into this expecting to spend money, and maybe even be a little bit stupid about it,” he told Bob Nightengale or USA Today. He then added, “we just prefer not to be completely stupid.” That save aside, it was a pretty unusual sentiment these days.

“Stupid” could certainly mean Bryce Harper, who the Phillies have long been expected to pursue. It could even mean Harper and Manny Machado. Why not? At the moment the Phillies’ payroll for 2019 is looking to be just a shade above $100 million, so even adding, say, $70 million to that would not put them in an unreasonable position compared to other competitors. And that’s before you figure in any sort of back-loading or deferred money that Harper and/or Machado might agree to.

Or, even if they didn’t get one or both of those guys, they could spend that same kind of money on multiple free agents. Patrick Corbin? Marwin Gonzalez? A handful of others? We counted down the top 100 free agents last week and any number of them could be acquired given the sort of payroll flexibility a large market team like the Phillies appear to have. It merely requires the will to do it. A will which, it seems, John Middleton possesses.

How novel.