Question of the Day: From a fan's perspective, which are the most unsafe baseball stadiums in the U.S.?
Writers from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic following the tragic news of a Giants fan being severely beaten at Dodger Stadium. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.
Bill Kline, the Morning Call
When they say that 99.9% of all baseball fans are nice, they aren't talking about New York and Philadelphia. True, alcohol makes louts out of most of us. But when you couple booze with the ornery disposition that most fans in those cities seem to acquire by kindergarten, the combination is combustible. If you want trouble in New York or Philly, just pop on the visiting team's cap, settle into your seat, and duck and cover.
Because Phillies fans are behaving better since they blew up vile Veterans Stadium last decade, New York is the worst for feeling unsafe. Just walking to Yankee Stadium is unsettling. For certain, most Yankees and Mets fans are nice. But odds are much better in New York that fans of the “wrong” team will be limping away at game's end with battered egos and splattered clothes.
[Updated at 1:23 p.m.
Juan Rodriguez, South Florida Sun Sentinel
The simplest answer is the ones in the most unsafe cities. Drunken acts of violence are not limited to particular venues. The unfortunate incident at Dodger Stadium probably is no less likely to occur in Kansas City or Milwaukee or Philadelphia or New York. I’ve covered games in 41 different stadiums, but attended games as a fan in only five facilities. Admittedly, I don’t possess much of a “fan’s perspective” on stadium safety. Generally when I get to and depart the ballpark, fans have either not yet arrived or the great majority of them have departed. Obviously, I’m not decked out in opposing team garb, but I do carry a laptop. In more than 10 years of covering baseball, rarely have I felt uneasy around fans, whether I’m walking to the subway or parking lot, or waiting for a cab.]
[Updated at 1:42 p.m.
Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times
Even before last week's incident, I felt Dodger Stadium was one of the most unsafe stadiums in the country. A Giants fan was shot and killed in the parking lot after a game there in 2003, and some of the most vicious fights I've ever seen from the press box have occurred in Dodger Stadium.
U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, home of the White Sox, seems to attract its share of far-too-raucous fans. Who can forget the father-son team that ran onto the field and attacked then-Kansas City Royals first-base coach Tom Gamboa in 2002, and the fan who came onto the field and assaulted umpire Laz Diaz in 2003?
Fenway Park in Boston can have a similar, barroom-brawl kind of feel, especially when the Yankees are in town to play the Red Sox. With so many bars in the neighborhood, many fans are well lubricated even before the first pitch, and that can be a recipe for trouble, like the time I saw a fan throw a giant slice of pizza at Angels outfielder Garret Anderson while he fielded a ball near the left-field line.
But hey, with what's going on at Dodger Stadium, I'll take assault with a deadly pepperoni over assault with a deadly weapon any time.]
Photo: David Stow, right, father of beating victim Bryan Stow, comforts daughter Erin Collins a news conference in Los Angeles. Bryan's mother, Ann Stow, is second from left, and daughter Bonnie Stow is at left. Credit: Fred Prouser / Reuters