While I was on my vacation I was thinking of the many things that I could write about that have happened this summer.
Would I write about Kobe Bryant, Laker general manager Mitch Kupchek, Barry Bonds, or would I pick on Annika Soremstam again? But then the story came to me in the sad turn of events of a great rivalry.
On Sept. 19 as I sat through the eighth inning in the left field pavilion at Dodger Stadium, watching the Bums lose 6-4 to the San Francisco Giants, I had no idea that the innocence of the greatest rivalry in sports was gone.
Many years ago and 3,200 miles away, the Giants and the Dodgers began their fight to play second fiddle to New York Yankees in the boroughs of New York City. Even after moving to the West coast and over 400 miles away from each other, the hate for the teams still runs deep in the blood of fans.
The rivalry that has given us some of the greatest moments in the game, such as Bobby Thompson’s “shot heard around the world” which capped off the worst September collapse in Dodger history.
There was also the event in 1993 when, then rookie, Mike Piazza kept the Giants out of the playoffs with one swing of the bat in the last weekend of the season.
It has also given us one of the most brutal moments in the game when Giants pitcher Juan Maricial took on the field brawls to another level, when he gave Dodgers catcher Johnny Roseboro a Louisville Slugger to the top of the head.
But all that was great was lost Friday night when a young Giants fan got into the last argument of his life with a Dodger fan.
Reports say that the argument started in the rowdy left field pavilion, which led to parking lot 27.
Louder than the screams inside the stadium, bullets were fired which killed Mark Allen AntenoCruz, 25, in the eighth inning. This marked the end of innocence of this great rivalry.
There was a time and a place when it seemed OK to go to the ballpark, but now that has all been changed.
As I walked the stadium Saturday night I noticed a different mood in the stadium.
One time crazy fans and the security guards were now scared, scared that some idiot might bring a gun to a baseball game. Through the yelling and the booing, the love and the heartbreak, all remains through the year is that it is just a game.
The dislike for Dodger and Giant fans has become more ugly in the last few years, but never like this.
Fans at Candlestick Park are known for the throwing of batteries at players and fans who proudly wore the Dodger blue.
One time it enraged first base coach Reggie Smith so bad that he even went after one of the fans at the “Stick” for shouting obscenities and throwing objects at him during the pennant race.
For that matter fan etiquette at a ball park has become ugly. One example is the father and son duo who decided to leap the guard rails and jump Kansas City Royals coach, Tom Gamboa; they only received 12 months probation.
Worse yet, reports from Oakland saysome Raider fans carry knives into the stadium to arm themselves during melees. After 9/11 security around the nation was bumped up to curtail as much violence as possible at stadiums. But, may I ask, what more can be done?
During a trip to Pacific Bell Park this spring, I decided to wear my proud Dodger blue colors. I felt like I was walking through a war zone the minute I stepped through the gates of one of the nicest ball parks in the league. My fellow Vaquero classmates who timidly left their blues in their closets that night were not bothered.
Peanuts, beer, and who knows what else was tossed my way. I always said that most Giant fans have no class, but what is classier? A guy who throws peanuts at a fan for wearing his team’s colors or a guy who decides to end a life in a game that may be life or death to some?
To most it’s just a game.