And I'm not talking about the game on the field. The anger, violence and hatred that permeated the stands cast a despicable shadow over anything for which Dodgers fans might feel pride. If it was my team, I'd be embarrassed.
I wore a blue hat and blue shirt to the game though I didn't have much rooting interest for either side. [[Disclaimer: if I had to pick a side, I'd like to see the Dodgers win because I've got family that used to live in Brooklyn in the Brooklyn Dodgers days, so why not.]] I figured the blue would allow me to blend in. I didn't really factor in the fact that the friend I went with was wearing his Phillies gear. I figured it'd be no big deal though. Sure, the Dodgers fans would probably boo him or taunt him, but how bad could it really get?
Little did I know.
Other than the "F*** the Phillies" chants that echoed in Chavez Ravine, things really got ugly when a Dodgers fan across the aisle started to run his mouth to the Phillies fan to my left. The Phillies fan, to his credit, ignored the guy and just stared straight ahead, which only made the guy more intent to get a reaction out of him. He started taking his rally towel and flicking it at him and threatening to pour his beer on the guy. The Phillies fan got up, found an usher, and asked the usher to get the guy to stop.
When the usher confronted the fan, he became an angelic boy scout, cordially shaking the usher's hand and trying to explain how it was "all a misunderstanding." The usher allowed the Dodgers fan to remain in his seat, and once the usher left the section, things really escalated. The taunts of "help I need an usher" began to pick up. Each time a Phillies fan walked up the aisle to the concourse, they were bored and forced to dodge an onslaught of peanuts catapulted toward them.
The Dodgers fan next to me, a nice guy who himself was repulsed by the actions of his fellow Dodgers fans, told us, "That guy does not represent Dodgers fans. That guy represents drunk ass assholes. Do not get the two confused."
If only the assholes weren't an overwhelming majority.
The boiling point occurred late in the game when two young ladies wearing red Phillies shirts tried to get their picture taken at Dodger Stadium. While one fan held the camera, the girls positioned themselves against the rail in the front row, posing for a great snapshot with historic Dodger Stadium as the backdrop. Dodgers fans decided booing would not suffice and a few men stood up and blocked the photographer from taking the picture. The girls at first laughed it off, assuming the men would eventually let them get their photo. No luck.
Dodgers fans began cursing out the women for apparently trying to show them for by taking a picture of themselves wearing Phillies gear in Dodger Stadium - yeah, it makes perfect sense. *rolling eyes*
The photo incident erupted into a shouting match between rows of inebriated Dodgers fans and two petite women wearing red. After cries of "Why doesn't somebody do something?" from the family sitting near us, ushers eventually came in to eject the offending Dodgers fans.
At first, the masses assumed the Phillies fans would be ejected and began chanting "na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye." When they realized that fellow Dodgers fans were being kicked out, they began booing. You'll even see in this video at the end of the clip one Dodger fan shares some choice words with the ushers and gets himself ejected for mouthing off.
When the seventh inning stretch hit, the nice guy next to me told me not to worry as most of the fans would be leaving soon. He said that the fans stay to sing and leave. "There's a whole generation of kids that think the game ends when you sing. They don't find out til they're ten. Like 'What? Baseball goes nine innings?'"
We stood for the seventh inning stretch and a singer took the field to sing God Bless America. Just before she started to sing, the Dodgers fans around us once again started a "F*** the Phillies" chant which bled into the first verse of God Bless America. Maybe it's because these specific fans behind us don't feel as close to this country because they didn't appear to be from here, and that's their prerogative, but don't start chating "F*** the Phillies" during God Bless America. I had had enough and turned around to tell these fans to shut up for this song.
While a few Dodgers fans next to me gave me looks of approval and thanks for attempting to put a stop to the foul-mouth chants during the song, the fans who had been yelling "F*** the Phillies" glared at me as if I'd told them the Dodger Dog tasted like crap. It's not like they were chanting this during Take Me Out To The Ball Game. It was God Bless America. Can the bitching and taunting not wait 30 seconds?
To cap the night off, as we exited the stadium, a local TV reporter interviewed my friend the Phillies fan, during which time some Dodgers fans stole his hat and doused it with beer. It's all on tape too. Should make for exciting B-roll for KCAL 9.
Walking through the parking lot after the game, Dodgers fans jeered my friend for the beating that LA put on Philadelphia in the game. My friend said nothing more than, "we're still up, 2-1," and this pack of fans became irate, threatening to "throw down" with us if we didn't get moving.
I've been to Dodger Stadium before. I've had fun there before. But that night has left a severe scar on how I view Dodger Stadium and Dodgers fans. You always hear about Raiders fans at the black hole, or Philadelphia fans booing Santa, or college football rivalries that provide tense moments. But I could have enjoyed my life as a sports fan blissfully unaware of how utterly classless, thoughtless, and gutless some of the Dodgers fans act.
My optimistic side would love to believe that I was merely seeing the exception, not the rule. Sadly, the majority of fans on Sunday were exceptionally unruly.
If you're a Dodgers fan and saw any of this behavior, please tell me I'm wrong that this is the majority. I do want to believe that, but there was no evidence supporting that claim on Sunday. I'd like to believe fans - not just Dodgers fans, but sports fans in general - are capable of a mutual respect to grant fans of opposing teams. When you can't feel safe wearing your teams colors in an opposing stadium, something has got to change.