Sports Illustrated: The day that damned the Dodgers

SI's Lee Jenkins has landed a major piece reconstructing the day when Bryan Stow was attacked at Dodger Stadium, and analyzing how it became such a big story both for Dodger fans and the culture. He makes a case that Frank McCourt has gotten somewhat of a bad rap on the security issue, but only on that issue. Excerpt:

Over the past 10 years just in parking lots after major league games a fan was beaten to death in Philadelphia, stabbed to death in San Francisco, shot in the head and paralyzed in Anaheim. After a 2003 Dodgers-Giants game at Dodger Stadium, a fan was shot and killed. After the two teams played in L.A.'s home opener in '09, a fan was stabbed. (There was another outbreak last Saturday, when a fan was assaulted and knocked unconscious in a Candlestick Park restroom while the 49ers were hosting the Raiders in an NFL preseason game. After the game, two fans were shot in the parking lot.) None of those cases registered more than a blip on the national radar....

Stow was a symbol of the Dodgers' deterioration. When Frank and Jamie divorced last summer, it was thought to be the moment the franchise hit bottom. The trial revealed that the couple borrowed money from the club to fund an exorbitant lifestyle, including nine homes and seven country-club memberships, $800,000 a year for personal security and $150,000 a year for hair care. The trial laid waste to public confidence in the Dodgers' owner, so when reports spread of a Giants fan beaten in the stadium parking lot, McCourt became the obvious target for blame—whether he deserved it or not. Politicians had an excuse to lash out at McCourt the way baseball fans already were. The divorce had led to dramatic cuts in team payroll and spending for players abroad, a market the franchise once owned. The question became whether it also resulted in a deterioration of the stadium atmosphere that culminated with Bryan Stow on the ground in Lot 2.

Also this: "L.A. is waiting for McCourt to sell the franchise, but there is no telling how long the bankruptcy court will let him hold on. General manager Ned Colletti says he plans to sign outfielders Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to contract extensions this off-season, but he is only assuming he will have the money."

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