Around this time last year, I wrote an open letter to the Dodgers regarding security at Dodger Stadium stemming from fights happening in the Dodger Stadium parking lot with nary a security guard to be found. Said situation was an embarrassment for the team, considering the Bryan Stow incident.
But there were two incidents on opening day that need discussing in the same way that one lances a boil, quickly and with a good deal of snark. One incident occurred in Los Angeles; the other occurred in Oakland.
Anthony Rendon grabs and attempts to strike a spectator in Oakland
Anthony “I’m not about that Hollywood lifestyle” Rendon has consistently performed poorly after signing with the Angels after shining in the 2019 postseason. Rendon’s problem is pretty easy to diagnose: he has not been able to stay healthy, only averaging 53 games in the last two seasons.
Rendon recently told the Los Angeles Times that he hopes for a healthy season and for the Angels to surprise everyone in the NL West. The following video from just after the conclusion of the Angels' 2-1 opening day loss to the Athletics will not help.
Twelve seconds of this interaction was shared by the Petros and Money Show on Twitter the following day. As this fan did not pull a “Kramer and Newman with Roger McDowell on Seinfeld,” Rendon is completely out of line, regardless of what some in the media would say. In fact, a video came to light on April 1 showing more context to the scene.
Here’s another angle of the Anthony Rendon altercation with a fan pic.twitter.com/BpmmsyGFEp— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) April 1, 2023
Under California civil law, it can and potentially will be argued that Rendon has both allegedly battered (he allegedly grabbed the fan) and assaulted (Rendon allegedly attempted to hit the fan) this fan. Under California law, assault and battery are charged under the same penal code section. This essay is not a Law Talk essay, so we leave discussing liability and other legal concepts for another day.
Looking at both videos, in my view, Rendon is not in any danger. Yet Rendon is foolishly escalating the situation here by laying hands on a fan. Now, I have seen a lot of online chatter saying that this fan is a jerk and was verbally abusing Rendon by calling him a profanity. My response is the following: so what — words are not generally supposed to be a provocation to violence.
Rendon is being paid $245 million over seven years. If someone yells something profane at you in life, more often than not, you ignore it and live your best life. The way I see it when drunken fans yell and swear at me for the crime of simply existing wearing a Dodger jersey, I do nothing but smile...and text security if I feel that I am in physical peril. Living your best life is the best revenge.
What you do not do is attempt to escalate the situation by confronting the person yourself and attempting to physically strike that person. Now, the Oakland Police Department is investigating the matter as well as the League.
On April 3, the League announced its suspension of Rendon, which was ultimately negotiated to four games starting immediately.
Before anyone feels morally superior, I would remind them of a certain incident at Wrigley Field involving the Dodgers 23 summers ago that did escalate dramatically after a player made contact with a fan, but that story is one for another day.
The cost of a marriage proposal at Dodger Stadium
Now, you may not know this fact, but you can pay to get yourself on the Jumbotron via video or message at Dodger Stadium. I canceled an essay last season about the cruelest yet funniest message I had ever seen on a Jumbotron in Milwaukee that was posted on Twitter two weeks after David Vassegh’s ride. I moved on because I could not find the time to write about it or confirm its authenticity.
Anyway, from what I was able to find, at least from 2014, one could pay $2,500 to get the video of one’s marriage proposal at Dodger Stadium (or $75 if you just wanted to have the message on the Jumbotron). At the time of the information I found, Dodger Stadium was the most expensive place to rope in others to one’s marriage proposal. Follow-up phone calls to the Dodgers for updated information were not returned as of this essay.
Personally, I view public marriage proposals as emotional blackmail to your partner and the poor people around you, unless they have all consented. To be fair, I have been watching “Shrinking” on AppleTV+ and the show is really good, like “Ted Lasso”-season one good.
Regardless, Ricardo Juarez of Riverside, broke the cardinal rule of Dodger Stadium and every other baseball stadium on March 30 when he entered the field of play while the game was in progress during the seventh inning. After deciding to do the one thing that you do not do at a major sporting event, Mr. Juarez decided to break this cardinal rule of fandom to propose to his now-fiancée Stephani Gutierrez.
Now, if the Dodgers had just won the World Series (considering it was opening day, not likely) or somehow his child had fallen onto the field of play, I could understand doing what Mr. Juarez did. Such behavior would still violate every canon of fan conduct, but I would get it. Per a recent interview with KCAL Los Angeles, Mr. Juarez was arrested, released, and is now barred from Dodger Stadium for one year. Mr. Juarez’s story has reached a national audience.
Normally, I would ignore the names of the people involved, because the last thing anyone should do is give these people more attention. However, as previously said, these people have been publicly identified and interviewed. As such, there are three facts that have come out that infuriate me to the point that I argue that the Dodgers have once again shamed themselves:
- Per his fiancée, the Dodgers only banned Mr. Juarez for one year, rather than the lifetime ban everyone assumed that anyone foolish enough to go onto the playing field during the game would get.
- Per the interview, Mr. Juarez was going to propose in the stand, but after drinking, he decided to go onto the field and do the proposal on the field instead.
- Per his fiancée, Mr. Juarez would do this behavior again if given the chance to do it over.
Thirty years ago this month, tennis star Monica Seles was stabbed by a deranged German man during her match in Germany. I do not know when it became taboo to enter the field of play of a sporting event in progress. In old highlights, including Hank Aaron’s famous home run, you would see fans entering the field of play. It would be likely reductive to point to the Seles stabbing as the moment where the act of entering the field of play became taboo. The fact remains that Mr. Juarez broke the cardinal rule of fandom and is apparently openly unapologetic about it.
Regardless, there is a space for genuine discussion if you feel the Dodger Stadium security guard overreacted in restraining and tackling Mr. Juarez, which is a very fair discussion as Dodger Stadium security has been sued in at least five different lawsuits for alleged use of excessive force and alleged act of false arrests since July 2022. On April 3, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mr. Juarez ultimately had to be taken to the hospital as a result of Dodger Stadium security tackling him. Per the Times, Ms. Gutierrez said that doctors told Mr. Juarez that he had no broken bones but cleared him to skip work for four days and gave him an injection for inflammation.
Originally, it was thought that Mr. Juarez was employed in law enforcement as his now-fiancée identified him as a “LEO” on her Instagram, which is a common abbreviation for law enforcement officer. However, per the CBS interview, Juarez was identified as a line cook for Los Angeles-area sushi restaurant.
I am fine if anyone wants to propose to their significant other, even in public, but my personal rules of thumb have always been the following:
- Know what your would-be fiancée would want. (If you are making the proposal about yourself in a bid for attention, that’s very likely a bad decision and bodes ill for the future.)
- Know what your would-be fiancée would say if they were asked to get married. (If you don’t know, don’t ask yet, especially not in public because emotional blackmail is not okay.)
Regardless, the Dodgers have slapped this man on the wrist, while arguably simultaneously opening the team to even more litigation. Mr. Juarez’s act and the attention (yes, I am aware of the irony, including this essay) likely risk further disruptions at Dodger Stadium this season unless additional measures are taken.
This essay is not a Law Talk essay, but the Dodgers clearly have not done enough and yet have simultaneously done too much. If any updates occur, I will provide them.