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Steve Lopez: Who's to blame for problems at Dodger Stadium?


“I’m not into the finger-pointing thing,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Friday morning with his buddy, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, at his side in a downtown news conference.

Fortunately, I am in the finger-pointing business.

Lopeztalkback McCourt, who suddenly wants to scan license plates and hire everybody but the U.S. Marines and the National Guard to shut down violence and unruly behavior at Dodger Stadium, wouldn’t be in this mess if he’d given a hoot about fan complaints in the past.

Instead, he began this season without a permanent security chief in place, and the severe opening-day beating of a Giants fan on March 31 now has him in full PR swing.

Does McCourt really need ex-LAPD chief Bill Bratton and a New York-based security firm to tell him he’s got a bunch of drunken, unruly fans in the seats, in the parking lot and in the surrounding neighborhood, or did McCourt just figure there was mileage in using Bratton’s name?

Did he really need the beating in the parking lot to make him realize he ought to be working more closely with LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, who now promises a police-state environment at the stadium?

And if Villaraigosa is a guest of McCourt at so many Dodger games, why couldn’t the mayor see the problem himself? Was it because there’s not much violence in the most expensive seats in the park, which the mayor often got for free, or in the luxury boxes?

Beck said McCourt is going to pay the costs of the extra LAPD officers, as if anyone else should bear the responsibility. How long do you give him, though, before McCourt jacks up prices on concessions to cover the costs?

On a related point, McCourt actually said at Friday’s news conference that he’s been working with residents of surrounding neighborhoods on a “regular basis” since 2004 to address their concerns about litter, public urination and drinking on their streets. If that’s so, why do so many residents feel ignored, and why were they telling me earlier this week that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears ever since McCourt upped the parking fee to $15 and drove hooligans into the neighborhoods.

Asked what the Dodgers could do about alcohol-fueled rowdies, McCourt actually said, “I don’t think it’s the sale of beer that’s a problem, per se. It’s the abuse of that privilege.”

Thanks, inspector.

Then why not cut off the spigot a little earlier in the game, and why not do a better job of tossing the obvious drunks out of the park?

Instead, the Dodgers have several promotions on the calendar in which food and beverages will be half price. On the promotion, there’s an asterisk, and you figure that means alcohol will be excluded, right?


The asterisk was used as an exclamation, as in “Including alcoholic beverages.”

I kid you not.

At the same news conference, Villaraigosa asked the assailants of the Giants fan to turn themselves in. If that goes well, maybe he can hold a press conference asking tax cheats to pay up and delinquents to immediately return to school.

One last bit of finger-pointing:  Looking at the Dodger lineup, this is a team that might end up driving a lot of people to drink. So can those of you who can’t control yourselves please stay home and punch the television instead of someone’s skull?

We’ve got a minor league businessman running a major league team, and it could be another long season.

-- Steve Lopez

Photo: Frank McCourt. L.A. Times file.

Comments () | Archives (93)

Simply amazing; while the Dodgers could certainly improve a number of aspects of the Stadium experience, we cannot blame the perpetrators because there was no one there to stop them from the assault. Could it be because we will eventually find the perps and their last names will end in EZ? While McCourt is a strikingly easy target, and he owns some blame, have we really abandoned the concept of personal responsibility?

Mr. Lopez you have hit the ball out of the park! Right on every count!

Who's to blame for problems at Dodger Stadium? Who's to blame for problems in Panorama City? Who's to blame for problems in Highland Park? Who's to blame for problems in Atwater Village? Panorama City? Pacoima? Same answer every time. Young shiftless Latino males with self-image issues -- imagine, beating someone over apparel! Yet young Latino males engage in this violent, senseless activity frequently....over clothing! Where you from etc....I just hand the articles and the police sketches over to my teen daughter. I don't need to comment. The pattern is clear.

Why not make the Stadium a Dry stadium? think about it. you had the brawl at Elysian park last year, the stabbing of a fan in the parking lot, the horrible incident with Bryan Stowe...while alcohol might not be the ultimate cause for these things to happen they sure don't stop them from happening

By the way i park down the hill from the stadium right by Catherdral Highschool and walk up the hill not because i dont feel safe but because i dont wanna spend 15 dollars. I never litter or piss behind the school because of the respect i have for the neighborhood. I dont blast my music in fact im mostly listening to talk radio usually espn to hear about other scores

The people to blame here are the idiot fans, and i use that term loosely, who are not educated enough to know where to draw the line when it comes to passion for their team. I dont like the giants or for that matter anyone in my division because of the rivalry but i know enough to not fight someone over the issue of whose team is better because its their opinion...find a way to flush the garbage out

Well said, Steve. I grew up going to Dodger Stadium, but last season some friends I was with were cursed at and threatened, just for wearing Yankee hats. In the old days the taunts were all in good fun, but this was downright scary. Frank McCourt has driven this franchise into the ground. The O'Malleys would never have let this happen.

the line up does drive me to hit the bottle a little harder, but im an adult, i know in the end...its just a game!

Definitely a post-game security plan failure.

Each game has too much low life trash and management goes out of their way to attract this sludge. This is not just confined to LA, but at nearly all sports venues nationwide.

Isn't it a little early to blame alcohol for what these thugs did? They have not been arrested. There's no evidence that they were drinking. The only evidence is that they were Latino thugs. Beck and Villaraigosa have made LA a sanctuary for these people.

Hey, tell the "Director of Protocol" to quit workin on his tan at Jamies Malibu Pad, and get back to work,this never would have happened on his watch, oh and what happened to those plain clothes security goons that used to follow McClueless around, tell them to throw their LAPD blues on and get back to hookin and bookin, next thing you know Nancy B is gonna be runnin security.

Just a thought, but can LAPD and bring in the Border Patrol, problem solved,oh wait I'd be escorted out too, scratch that. Si Si Puede!!!!

Mensa-candidate Antonio Villaraigosa leading the charge on new violence controlling strategies? Yeah, now I feel REALLY safe.

The gang/thug life has won in LA. The game and true honest fans are the ultimate losers in all of this horror.

I agree. The Dodgers have had their head in the sand for years. Look at the marketing lately. They allow and license their caps, jerseys, etc, with fonts that are outright gang banging tagging. They obviously were maketing to this element. They had to see that was who was showing up. They fill the cheap seats, with these folks, encourage them to drink as much beer as they can before they enter the stadium and just cross their fingers all goes well.

The Dodgers have truly become the new Raiders and I as the head of my household, will not take my family to a game. I would be safer walking through the middle of the jungle. Less animals looking to do my family harm in the jungle.

As far as I am concerned the Dodgers boat has sailed. Even if it is cleaned up, the anger I have at how this was ignored as long as it made money, may never allow me to watch or attend another Dodger game.

You marketed to the gang banging, thug community and you got them. As far as I am concerned your marketing worked and I wish you luck with it.

blame darryl gates for implementing 'special order 40'. since then the LAPD wont and cant arrest illegals, even when they know that they are committing felony's by using false id, or ss numbers. the infestation of your inbred and illiterate cousins , the lack of your hispanic community to pull themselves out of the gutter is also the issue. when you have a subculture that looks and acts they way your hispanic hoodlums do, and your community doesnt clean it up, its your fault, lopez.

viva sb1070.

Lopez is a loser. Finger pointing specialists are actually beneath Frank McCourt. Go back and crawl in your hole leftist.

At one time security was cracking down on everything there was a no excusses ejection policy and the fan code of conduct was enforced. Then the front office starting getting too many complaints that things were too tough at the stadium there needed to be some leadway. So security was then told look the other way. Be a kinder gentler security staff. So they let in the person who tried to sneek in beer or wine with just a warringing. Then things strated to get out of control again but McCourt was sitting in his very secure seats and didn't give a crap about the person leaving the stadium and what happened. Heck he normally was gone before the last pitch was tossed so he really didn't care what happened at the end of the game on the parking lot. Then a few years ago he did the worst thing possible he contracted out the parking lot services. He now pays someone to watch over this parking lot services!! So there are so many people to point the finger at. Starting with McCourt and going all the way down to the person who is in charge of security at the stadium the contractor.

I understand it's the the Soccer Moms and the season ticket holders who are to blame. I see them at the games wearing their J Crew khakis and angora sweaters.

The guys with the teardrop tattoos and spider web elbows, you know with the gothic writing on their bald scalps, are all scared to death.

I am so humiliated to be a Dodger fan. I am so humiliated to be from Los Angeles.

The gang/thug life has taken over the city of Los Angeles. There are not too many places you can go these days in the city, or all of LA county, without encountering one of these lowlifes ... except, maybe a classroom.

In government it's called finger pointing. In the real world we call it accountability

If there was no booze, and it was just baseball, this stuff wouldn't happen. Ban booze from the property, and you're back to family time at the stadium. They won't do that, though, because they make too much money from beer.

Same reason the County allows the Coliseum to be used for raves. If you posted drug-sniffing drugs at all the entrances, you wouldn't have to have emergency medical services for all the kids ODing. But they won't, because they're willing to trade public health and safety for money.

Dodger Stadium and the parking lots surrounding it belong to the McCourts. As such, they and only they are responsible for the safety of anyone while they are on that property. It's just like someone who slips and falls at a home. The McCourts should be held solely liable just like any other private property owner.

The McCourts didn't want to pay for proper security because it ultimately comes out of their pockets, and this is the result. Nothing should be coming out of the taxpayers pockets, especially since taxpayers have no ownership rights and don't benefit with tax breaks.

Remember children--The mayor wanted the area areound this "cesspool" officially designated as "Dodgertown," as if it were something worthwhile. I don't think so.

I'm not usually a big fan of the litigation mentality in this country, but in this case an exception is in order: I hope the family of that poor guy sues the Dodgers for every penny they have, and I hope they win and bankrupt McCourt and run him out of town on a rail.

The evidence is undeniable that the Dodgers did not care about violence and bad behavior in the park. They openly encouraged territorial gang-like behavior with last year's "This is My Town" advertising campaign. If memory serves the campaign was translated into Spanish for maximum appeal. They wanted a "Raiders Nation" mentality in the pavillion and they succeeded.

Sue McCourt for every penny he's got.

It really comes as no surprise to all of us who attend games here in SoCal. The glamourization of "the gang lifestyle" here in Los Angeles is completely idiotic. You can't go to a ball game, movie hell not even Disneyland without having to look at some clownish looking buffoon with a bald head covered in gang tattoos and wearing an oversized jersey and giant baggie shorts. These people make a decision to dress and act a certain way, to intimidate others. So I don't want to hear from peole that we are not entitled to not want to be around them..the socalled freedom of expression rule. I express my freedom to say "Let's rid the city of these losers one by one. I attend little league games with my kids and have to sit and watch these idiots parents -who are displaying gang tattoos and gang dress - around kids!!! They argue and taunt players and parents on opposing teams because everything to these small minded idiots is all about violence. It is time to shun and push thes vermin out of our society. Don't allow them into venues, restaraunts, theme parks..you name it. They are stupid violent people who only bring violence to wherever they go!!

Clearly, McCourt is out of his league here. He is in scramble mode... There are a ton of people that WANT to give him money by going to Dodger Stadium but DON'T because of what he has done to the product/atmosphere.

That is the most damning piece of all this.

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