The Rivalry

The Dodgers and Giants took time out of their usual pregame routines tonight to try an diffuse any further violence between LA and SF fans. This unity comes on the heels of the awful attack against Brian Stow in the Dodger Stadium parking lot just after this year’s home opener.

“When the last out is made,” said Giant Jeremy Affeldt, “the rivalry ends on the field.” (For more on the pregame event read the story at Dodgers.com.)

I don’t condone what happened to Brian Stow and I don’t want to make light of it either. But at the same time, I don’t think much is advanced by focusing too much blame on “the rivalry” between these two teams.

As I said on Twitter, I hate the Giants more than just about anybody or anything. And, yet, I have never beaten up one of their fans. This isn’t about the rivalry between our two teams; it’s about a violent attack by two men against one other. Whatever their motivation, their willingness to engage in violence is far more complicated (and more simple) than a rivalry taken to the extreme.

With all due respect to the Dodgers and Giants who spoke before tonight’s game, for me, the rivalry does not end on the field. It is a part of my life, of my love for my team, of my love for the sport. In some small but discernible way, it is part of my identity.

I can understand the need to diffuse the tension of the rivalry at a time like this. For people who carelessly act out of a combination of alcohol, hyper-masculinity, and stupidity, events like tonight might reframe their unquestioned positioning in important (though likely short-lived) ways. But what happened to Brian Stow (much like the thousands of other senseless acts of violence that have befallen people in this state since then) has very little to do with a competitive spirit between “my boys” and “them.”

That said…the Dodgers beat the Giants tonight, 6-1.