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T.J. SIMERS

Giants upstage Frank McCourt again in attack on fan

San Francisco team officials tighten security at AT&T Park for game against Dodgers.

April 11, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • San Francisco police officers patrol outside AT&T Park before the Dodgers-Giants game on Monday night in San Francisco.
San Francisco police officers patrol outside AT&T Park before the… (Beck Diefenbach / Reuters )

From San Francisco

The Dodgers return home Thursday, the former and present L.A. police chiefs probably arguing about who will get to throw out the ceremonial first fan.

By then the thug detectors, special sections designated for gang members and parking lot guard towers should be in place at Dodger Stadium for Operation Overkill, although I'm not so sure this promise of everyone seeing a "sea of blue'' is such a good idea.

Make it a sea of red and maybe folks will take notice of the cops and Frank McCourt's overnight realization that Dodger Stadium is about as safe as a park restroom in the middle of the night.

Had McCourt responded to fans' stadium concerns over the last few years and paid the money to hire a security chief, there probably would have been no need for cops to put such a stranglehold on America's pastime.

With tension in the air, Dodgers and Giants again take the field

In the meantime, the Giants dedicated Monday's game with the Dodgers to Bryan Stow, the Giants' season-ticket holder and father of two who was attacked on opening day in the Dodger Stadium parking lot.

The Giants announced there would be "World Series-like" security here. You can just imagine the puzzled look on the faces of the Dodgers. The World Series — what's that?

Officials here were concerned someone might retaliate for the opening-day attack on Stow, which left him in a coma with brain damage in a Los Angeles hospital.

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As a preemptive move, the Giants changed plans to privately slip Dodgers second baseman Juan Uribe his World Series ring to avoid being distracted and opted instead for a show of sportsmanship by giving him the jewelry publicly.

Uribe hugged the Giants en masse, and then both teams lined up on the baselines as they do on opening day. One fan screamed out, "The Dodgers suck," while singer Jamieson Lindenburg launched into the national anthem.

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As soon as the anthem ended, the plan was for a player from each team to speak to the crowd. It seemed like the perfect time to bring back Jeff Kent, who could speak on behalf of both teams and, if necessary, growl at the fans.

But the Giants went with relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt. He thanked everyone for donating to Stow's aid and asked the fans to treat each other with respect.

If the message was intended for prospective rabble-rousers, it's a pretty good bet they were standing in line to buy another beer.

Manager Don Mattingly asked Jamey Carroll to speak on behalf of the Dodgers because, as he said, he saw Carroll before Casey Blake. Sounds like how he makes out his lineup.

Carroll revealed to everyone, "There is no room in the game for hatred and violence." As you might imagine, everyone then held their breath hoping a bean ball war wouldn't break out later to destroy such a fine moment.

When Carroll finished, the fans chanted, "Beat L.A."

Giants President Larry Baer said the "solidarity message" made for a different aura in the stadium, fans looking down the row at someone dressed in blue and realizing that fan "isn't necessarily a jerk."

The police removed unruly fans in the seventh inning, one of them dressed in Dodger blue. No way of knowing if he was the jerk sitting down the row.

Chris Neale showed up dressed as a Dodgers fan but was smart enough to hold Ashlee Barnett's hand, Barnett wearing a "Lincecum" Giants jersey.

"You can't be scared," said another fan dressed in Dodger blue, but when asked his name, he said, "Anthony. Just put an 'S' for my last name."

More than 100 fellow paramedics manned stadium entrances to collect donations for Stow's medical care. Each wore a white sweatshirt with Stow's badge number: P21732.

The Dodgers allowed paramedics to use their parking lot to raise money for Stow's care but did so with no game scheduled. The team said it raised $61,000, including a $5,000 donation from Tom Lasorda.

Spokesman Josh Rawitch said the Dodgers chose not to wait for a scheduled game where more money might have been collected because "we wanted it to take place as quickly as possible."

It's the first time the Dodgers have shown any interest in doing anything as quickly as possible when it comes to Stow.

Still no indication whether they will contribute to his medical care, or whether they'll leave it to the fans. Rawitch, who promised to get back with an answer a few days ago, has yet to reply.

The Dodgers have been slow to react from the outset, the first two days hoping no one would take notice while focusing on the weather and an opening-day victory.

McCourt called the attack on Stow an "isolated incident." He said he was satisfied with security, most fans unaware the team lacked a security chief. McCourt dismissed a 20-year-plus veteran of the Secret Service last year, asking someone with 15 years of experience in commercial real estate to fill in.

L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich and the Giants were the first to put up reward money to find Stow's assailants, the Dodgers eventually taking the hint.

As public criticism mounted, McCourt, who has a history of hiring image makers, hired former L.A. police chief Bill Bratton as security consultant.

But while McCourt waits for Bratton to arrive, current L.A. police Chief Charlie Beck has already announced he will be taking stadium security out of McCourt's hands.

"When you go into Dodger Stadium, you're going to meet an L.A. police officer," Beck was quoted as saying. "When you leave Dodger Stadium, you're going to bid farewell to an L.A. police officer."

Sounds like county jail.

But unfortunately that's what Dodger Stadium has become under McCourt.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

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