If you haven’t heard, there’s trouble brewing. Last week, a Giant fan was knocked down and seriously injured outside Dodger Stadium. He’s currently in an induced coma and believed to have suffered brain damage. No one could or should excuse the thugs that did this horrible thing.

In listening to some of the commentary this week, I’m struck by the nonsensical arguments. Your fans are mean, our fans are saints. Teams are teams and fans are fans. There isn’t any real difference between them. I’m in a unique position to observe this low point in sports history. As a Dodger fan living the last twenty years in the bay area, the plain truth is there are plenty of thugs to go around. Both cities have them, and unfortunately, some of these cretins go to baseball games. There is nothing inherently good or bad about either team or their fans.

Right now, Giants fans are howling because one of their own was struck down. I agree. Catch the s.o.b.’s who did this and hang them. The fact is, upon our arrival in the bay area, my wife and I were excited to take my parents to a Giants-Dodger game at Candlestick Park. Being Dodger fans, and used to the friendly atmosphere of Dodger stadium at that time, we weren’t ready for the abuse we received that night. After returning to the car, my parents thanked us for the game, but advised we should not invite them again. They’d had enough.

Then there is my nephew Robert. Several years ago, he took his girlfriend to a Giants-Dodger game and wore his Dodger hat. As they were walking across the parking lot, he was blindsided and struck in the head. Nearly unconscious and on the ground, he looked up and saw his girlfriend chase down the thug and jump on his back while punching him in the head. Robert decided to marry that girl.

I also have to admit to a brief encounter with a Giant fan several years ago. During the game, he insisted on turning around each time a Giant got a hit and would put his hands in my face while taunting me. I was there to watch a game and not get into a fight, so I simply let him enjoy his fun. By the end of the game, with a few beers under his belt for courage, he decided to give me a shove as we excited. I’m not proud of it, but I did cross-check him into the exit wall. I said I wasn’t proud of it.

Is my point that Giants fans are bad? Not at all. In fact, most of the ones I’ve encountered since they built the new beautiful stadium look like the frat boys from college. Mostly corporate types with sweaters tied around their necks and wearing penny loafers. Not particularly intimidating. The point is most everyone who goes to a sporting event is there to have a good time and enjoy the game. Unfortunately, there is a growing subculture of thugs, who on a daily basis, can be seen everywhere in our world. They also attend sporting events. At the first sign of trouble, these jerks should be unceremoniously thrown out. For a myriad of reasons, violence has always been around sports. While living in Italy many years ago, I remember a game in which a soccer official made a call that went against the home team. Several men jumped the fence and stabbed the official to death. I couldn’t believe it happened.

Our society has this odd notion that we must tolerate everyone. I disagree. I’m all for freedom of expression, but in public we need to raise our standards and expectations. I know I’m an old guy who probably doesn’t get the modern culture. For instance, I don’t understand why a person needs to tatoo every square inch of their bodies, pierce body parts, and swear with every other word. And those are just the girls. I would just like a return to the days when you had friendly rivalries among sports fans. Believe it or not, back in the day, there were many times I witnessed a Dodger fan buy a rival fan a beer and shake hands during the game. It had become a bit of a Dodger Stadium tradition. Times have changed. But good people are still good, and the bad ones have become worse. Our teams are our teams, and mindless thugs have no place stealing our good times. The color of their hat means nothing.

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