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Searching for something positive to come from Giants fan's beating: A national call to end fan violence

April 6, 2011 |  7:17 am

So maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe it’s one of those things where you want it to be so badly, you start to believe it can actually happen.

It’s hard to fight the thought of the savagely beaten Bryan Stow resting in his hospital bed, still in a medically induced coma and suffering brain damage. A 42-year-old father of two who wanted to take in the season opener of his world champion Giants, only to be beaten by a pair of thugs in the Dodger Stadium parking lot and left fighting for his life.

Difficult to find that positive light here, but just maybe Stow’s family pointed the way Tuesday in their emotional press conference at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center.

"We would like to use this as a rallying cry to stop unnecessary violence in our greatest pastime and all other sports, not only here but abroad,’’ said cousin John Stow, wearing a Giants cap and jersey. "So I ask for one last thing on behalf of Bryan — that we all enjoy a safe and competitive and exciting year of baseball.’’

Is it naïve to think Bryan Stow could prove a touchstone in turning around growing fan animosity? That from this tragedy a watershed moment could evolve?

Why not? Why not try to make it happen? Bryan Stow has become a national story. Why not try to make his tragedy a national movement?

It’s not like we have to all go back to the idealized ’50s. It wasn’t this way here in the ’90s. That hostility and unease you too often feel when entering Dodger Stadium. People could tease rival fans without concern. It was fun. It’s supposed to be fun.

"It’s just a baseball game,’’ said -- of all people -- Tommy Lasorda.

Stow’s family and friends have been magnanimous in their response to his beating.

Said sister Erin Collins to KCAL-9: "We don’t hold any of the people of Los Angeles responsible. We have no hard feelings toward you guys. We know it’s not the city as a whole, but just two people.

"Everyone here has been so kind and generous. Especially the Dodgers fans. We want them to go and root for their team and not let this mar how they feel about the game.’’

If his family can be this understanding, if they can step back and see a larger picture, can’t the rest of us?

"I would like to tell the Dodger fans, don’t be afraid to wear your Dodger colors in our town,’’ said John Stow to KCAL. "We love the rivalry. We welcome it and have always looked forward to it. We’ll keep it nice and civil and I expect our fans to show them a nice, safe, enjoyable time.’’

Stow’s beating has raised the national consciousness about the underlying hostility that is too often sensed at Dodger Stadium and other sports venues. And, just maybe, it has presented an opportunity to do something about it.

-- Steve Dilbeck

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