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An open letter to the Dodgers regarding security at Dodger Stadium

Or “I have been meaning to write this letter for a long time, but events in the first week of May 2022 have forced my hand.”

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

To whom it may concern:

My name is Michael J. Elizondo and I have been a Dodgers fan since I was five years old, when the Dodgers won the World Championship in 1988. When I was five years old, my family took me to a Dodgers game and I remember it as one of the most joyful experiences of my childhood. Apart from the Mike Piazza trade and the Fox ownership that was personally apathetic and rude to me, I have been a Dodgers fan the vast majority of my life. Ironically enough, my family also went to a Los Angeles Raiders / Denver Broncos game at the LA Coliseum. I don’t think I was as terrified or confused by anything in my childhood. Needless to say, I have not been back to a professional football game.

I currently have two jobs. I am a transactional attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area by day, and I am a paid contributor for True Blue LA where I write about various things, most notably I am now True Blue LA’s de facto Traveling Correspondent, where I am writing an ongoing travelogue series where I provide recommendations for Dodger fans visiting other cities.

Prior to this appointment as a writer for True Blue LA, as a fan and on my own dime, I traveled to 31 games in 2021 in thirteen different cities (including NLDS Game 2 in San Francisco), while advocating for COVID vaccination. I admittedly tried in vain on multiple occasions to get the team’s attention during my endeavors, but I had the adventure of a lifetime in 2021.

Ultimately, I cannot stress enough how much I did not want to write this letter.

However, I have noticed a pattern of behavior in the past couple of weeks at Dodger Stadium and I was deeply troubled by the culture of hooliganism that seems to be surrounding the Dodgers, both on the road and at Dodger Stadium by the fights that appear to be breaking out with security nowhere to be found. While I cannot and will not expect you to control the behavior of others while on the road, I do not think it is an unreasonable expectation to not expect fighting at home at Dodger Stadium.

I fully acknowledge that you cannot stop people from acting stupid, especially if they have been served alcohol. I fully acknowledge that the Dodgers cannot prevent fighting from occurring in the stands, especially away from Dodger Stadium. Truthfully, there are those who claim they are fans who wear our team’s colors and decide to make a spectacle of themselves.

This tweet is incorrect in its labeling - the person recorded is not a Dodger fan; frankly, he’s a jackass for riling up two different fans at a game the Dodgers are not at or involved with in any way. I wish I could say that this tweet was the only instance I was aware of so-called Dodger fans starting fights. But sadly I came across a common theme in my travels: whenever I did see fighting it was with so-called Dodger fans mixing it up with folks on the road. Case in point:

And you might think that this situation presented from last year’s rivalry game in Anaheim is an isolated incident in a different stadium, and for the most part, you would be right. But when violence breaks out near the Home Run Seats at Dodger Stadium, which are supposedly a premium seating experience, to me that is a sign of something completely unacceptable.

A fight breaks out in the Home Run Seats. September 15, 2021.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

I have not been back to Dodger Stadium in 2022. Partly because I honestly have an issue with ticket prices and my belief that the team is pricing out most fans, but that is a topic for another letter, but mostly because, my travels have not brought me back to Los Angeles. But as I am working on my entry for Los Angeles, imagine my dismay when two separate incidents occur in the direct vicinity of Dodger Stadium, on stadium property, within a week of each other:

From what I can tell, this incident on May 1, 2022, occurred right in front of the new centerfield plaza of Dodger Stadium, as evidenced by the Dodger Stadium express coming into view. Four days later:

I will give Dodger Stadium security credit in this video because they at least show up in this incident per the video. There is an unsavory element to the Dodger fanbase, one that is prone to violence and drinking and generally making all of us true fans look bad. It is long past time we say enough.

The beating of Bryan Stow is a black mark on the franchise that never should have occurred, and that can never repeat itself. A jury in 2011 found the Dodgers liable for negligence in its security setup on the day Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death. I write to you to inform you and possibly shame you into doing better, if not due to it being the right thing to do but to remind you of your past adverse judgment.

Admittedly, I am a large individual. And if I had a dollar for every time on the road that folks were initially hesitant to interact with me, because stereotyping is a thing, I would have enough for a decent ticket at Dodger Stadium. If we do not tend to our own house, then this blight on the fanbase will continue.

In St. Louis. September 10, 2021.
Michael Elizondo / TrueBlueLA

I am asking you to do better. I do not speak for anyone in authority. I have this small platform and I was brought up that if you see an injustice and you are silent, you are complicit in its continuation. But maybe you are unaware of all of these incidents, hence I figure that should point them out, and ask you to do better.

Thank you for both your attention and consideration. Stay well.

With regards,

s/ Michael J. Elizondo