(for the safety of all persons in attendance, pray the music of Tuxedomoon is not played over the tannoy this evening)
Following the brutal attack on Giants fan Bryan Stow at the Dodgers’ home opener March 31, staff at San Francisco’s AT&T Park are promising “World Series level” security for Los Angeles’ visit this evening. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Tom Fitzgerald polls a few experts — one of them, amongst the living — to get to the root (?) of the problem :
The late sociologist Irving Goldaber, director of the Center for the Study of Crowd and Spectator Behavior in Miami, said that while alcohol weakens fans’ restraint, the real cause of rowdiness is their overly close identification with teams.
He blamed “the unsophisticated emotion of winning at any cost and the potentially destructive behavior that could come from that. What happens is that when (their teams) win, the fans feel prowess. When they’re losing, they feel frustration.”
Jorge Costa, the Giants’ director of stadium operations, agreed with Goldaber’s view that while rivalries and alcohol contribute to fan misbehavior, so do elements such as the cleanliness of the park, the music played on the public address system and any perceived tolerance by security personnel.
Even wearing team apparel can affect fans’ behavior, Goldaber said. Costa agrees.
“If a person spends $250 on a player jersey, you’ll see him take on a sense of entitlement,” Costa said. “The fans who wear the jerseys feel they’re in the game. They won, not the team.”