Heavy police presence at Dodger Stadium helps ease nervous Giants fans on their way into the ballpark
Ashlee Payne, 22 of Modesto was worried the night before she boarded a bus of San Franciso Giants fans bound for Los Angeles, where she would attend her first game at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday night.
"What are you wearing?" she wrote in a text message to Kelsey Sayad, 24 of Modesto, a fellow Giants fan who was making the same trip and also attending her first game at Dodger Stadium.
Sayad, a nanny, decided on a Giants hat and shirt, but she wondered on the bus ride if she was wearing "too much Giants gear." For Payne, a shirt was enough, but she too admitted to being nervous.
When their bus pulled closer to the ballpark and they saw the swarm of LAPD cruisers and officers on foot, horseback, riding bikes and three-wheeled electric vehicles similar to a Segway, they felt better.
But their initial trepidation, they said, was in response to Wednesday's game being the first series at Dodger Stadium between the Dodgers and Giants since Giants fan Bryan Stow was brutally beaten here in the Dodgers' home opener on March 31.
And as several Giants fans entered Dodger Stadium on Wednesday, they mentioned being intially concerned about another possible clash with rival Dodgers fans.
But more than a few added that the heavy police presence, which was evident several hours before the game when 31 LAPD cruisers were clustered in the lot beyond center field, helped put them at ease.
"I feel good, I feel safe, especially with all these police around," said Ramon Castro, 62 of Santa Barbara who wore a Giants shirt and jacket and added that the atmosphere, at least before the game, was much better than when he attended the Dodgers-Giants game after Stow's beating.
The police on horseback was an interesting touch, something that Giants fan Craig Appel, 48, of North Hollywood said he had never seen in his 12 years of driving team buses to Dodger Stadium.
Appel arrived at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday via the Dodger Stadium Express bus from Union Station.
"It was all Dodgers fans," he said, wearing a Giants hat and shirt. "I was the only Giants fan on the bus."
Appel said no one gave him any trouble, but that he was concerned about getting home to North Hollywood while riding the subway because "it may be late and there may not be that many people and there may be some people that come over and try to start something."
The atmosphere through the game, and after, is still to be determined, but as they walked into Dodger Stadium, Mike and Cindy Guyett, a pair of lifelong Giants fans who flew down from their home in Pioneer, Calif., to attend their first ever game at Dodger Stadium, said they weren't concerned.
"It crossed my mind, wearing this shirt, but that's about it," said Cindy, 56.
"That's just random," Mike, 55, said of Stow's beating. "We don't really feel it's a reflection of Dodgers fans."
-- Baxter Holmes
Photo: Los Angeles Police Department cadet Christian Ibarra hands out composite drawings of the two suspects wanted in the March 31 beating of fan Bryan Stow prior to the start of Wednesday's game at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press