Last night, the Giants and Dodgers held a pre-game tribute for Bryan Stow as he recovers from a coma. Stow, a Giants fan, was beaten up after opening day in Los Angeles by two thugs wearing Dodgers gear.
In an effort to bring unity and to help bring clarity to the meaning of this sports rivalry, both teams gathered together on the baseball diamond to send a message of peace.
It was the right thing to do.
One of the things that I had worried about was the fans and their reaction to the entire thing. There was a concern that Giants fans would assume that because the thugs wore Dodgers gear, that Dodgers fans were the evil people.
And because the suspects look Hispanic, that stereotyping Hispanics in the Los Angeles area is OK. In reality, none of it was OK.
When the Giants had their home opener, they had a small tribute for Stow. After the presentation, the fans chanted “Beat LA!”. It was a very disturbing scene.
The chant “Beat LA!” is a chant that should be reserved for sports — not for a tribute to a man who fell victim to thugs. And that chant gave me the impression that the fans were blaming the Dodgers players for the incident. It was hard to understand how people couldn’t differentiate the situations.
I mean, come on. Is this necessary?
On Monday, there was a much calmer mood as both the Giants and Dodgers stood together and preached peace within the game.
“There’s no room in this game for hatred and violence. It is about respect,” Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll told the sellout crowd. “This is America’s national pastime and let’s keep it that way.”
The beating of Stow was not a baseball incident. Instead, it was an act of violence. And baseball was the excuse used for the attack. Separating baseball from the heinous act was the message Giants pitcher Jeremy Affeldt echoed to the crowd.
“I don’t have to tell you about the Dodgers-Giants, it’s one of the most storied rivalries in the history of the game but in honoring that rivalry and honoring the Stow family, you have to remember when these two teams get on the field and play, we’re competitive,” he said. “But when the last out is made, that rivalry ends on the field, so please respect that.”
Even though I grew up and A’s fan and have no care about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, I couldn’t help but watch what these two teams did on Monday. My eyes watered.
Around AT&T Park and Dodgers Stadium, there have been donation booths set up for people to donate money to aide Stow in his recovery. Giants and Dodgers fans came together. People from all different backgrounds came together to help a fallen man get back on his feet.
The color of the ballcap the people were wearing didn’t matter. For one short moment, there was no rivalry. There was true unity.
In a time where messages can be distorted and missed in a cloud of confusion, I am glad that it was made crystal clear last night. It was done perfectly.
In a sports sense, Giants and Dodgers players hugging on the field may not be a sight some fans would ever want to see. But in a sense of the goodness of the human spirit, it was simply beautiful.
To donate to the Bryan Stow Fund, go to www.sfpcu.org to place your donation. Please indicate The Bryan Stow Fund. Account # 1377733
To donate by mail: Checks should be made out to “The Bryan Stow Fund”
Mail your donation to:
SF Police Credit Union
c/o San Mateo Branch
1495 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94402
** I’d also like to note that there is a lot of anger towards the two thugs who did this and it’s understandable. However, seeking revenge is no the answer. These two men did not know what they were doing and were very foolish in their act. It’s hard to try to forgive them for their acts, but it’s something that time will help heal.
Don’t seek vengeance and retaliation. Reacting with anger is the exact same thing they did and we should not repeat it. Soon enough, these two will get their just punishment. But don’t go after them with an unsettled heart. That just leads to more pain.