Cousins Jessie Freas and Steven Linan weren't sure how they'd be greeted Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
Freas wore a pullover with an orange San Francisco Giants logo on the front. Linan, making the trip with her to celebrate his graduation from Stein High in Tracy, Calif., wore an autographed Barry Zito jersey.
"We were nervous at first, but we heard about the increased security and stuff and we're not worried," Linan said. "This is for Bryan Stow. We're here because of him."
If only Stow could know that.
The last time the Giants were here, for a season-opening series against the Dodgers, Stow wore Giants gear and was brutally attacked in the parking lot after the game. Two thugs reportedly cursing the Giants kicked and beat the Santa Clara paramedic into a coma and escaped with the help of a woman driving a getaway car. They have not been caught despite a reward fund that has grown past $200,000 for information leading to the attackers' arrest and conviction.
Stow, a father of two, was transferred Tuesday from L.A. County-USC Medical Center to San Francisco General Hospital and remains in critical condition. In a news release neurosurgery chief Geoff Manley offered some cautious good news, saying Stow had not experienced any seizures for 30 hours and had been weaned off one of five antiseizure medications.
"We will study the effects of this change over the next several days with continuous monitoring," Manley said.
In the city Stow left behind, the Giants' return Wednesday generated a far heavier police presence than for Tuesday's game against Milwaukee. Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said team policy prohibited him from specifying numbers but added, "We've been working with LAPD throughout to ensure that the proper precautions are in place based on all the factors involved."
That meant a noticeable number of uniformed officers strolled the concourse at field level and police cars with lights flashing patrolled the parking lots during the Dodgers' 8-5 loss. Officers on horseback and bikes mingled outside with the crowd, which included a substantial contingent of Giants fans.
Among them were Ashlee Payne and Kelsey Sayad of Modesto, who made the trip by bus. Payne had asked Sayad what she would wear and Sayad replied she planned to wear a Giants hat and shirt but wondered if it was "too much Giants gear."
They need not have worried.
The mood in the stadium was respectful before and during the game as Dodgers and Giants fans walked and sat beside one another. Several fans wearing Dodgers caps dropped bills and change into blue plastic buckets set up to collect money for Stow's care. Anna Arechiga of American Medical Response — the company that employs Stow — said passersby of all allegiances were responsive to her pleas for donations.
"As soon as they understand and hear, they're willing to give what they can," she said.
Walter Moeslein of Ventura, a Giants fan, attended the game with friends who wore Dodgers and Pacific 10 Conference hats. Moeslein, who said he had been to Dodger Stadium several times, said he hadn't experienced any problems while displaying his loyalty to the Giants.
"You get heckled now and then, but overall it's pretty good," he said. "I haven't had any major problems here."
Juan Gonzalez, a Marine sergeant from Camp Pendleton, and his wife, Rachel, wore Giants jackets and brought their children, ages 11, 5 and 6 months. They had been treated politely, they said, with no heckling or harassment because of their obvious preference for the Giants.
"A couple of security guards were joking with me about not letting me in, but they were only joking," he said.
Rachel Gonzalez said she had come to the aid of a Dodgers fan who stepped in some ice cream. "Being a mom, I stuck my hand in my diaper bag and gave him a whole bunch of wipes to clean up and we just made jokes that they were trusting a Giants fan," she said.
She knew about Stow's terrible injuries and shook her head in sympathy at the mention of his name. "It's a game," she said.
Bryan Stow could not be at Wednesday's game, and there's the tragedy. With so many Giants fans in the stands, it was his absence that loomed largest.