The days following September 11th were filled with shock and grief, anxiety, and struggles to comprehend the horrifying events. There wasn’t much more to do besides watch hours of media coverage unfold through televised replays of what had occured in New York City. But it was a normalcy of life, the routines we took for granted, that began to help the nation heal from its most devastating event, with baseball being a big part of the routine we needed to help us move forward.
Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and stadiums across the country held tributes, moments of silence, and song to remember the lives lost during that day.
The New York Yankees, playing an away game yesterday, held their Bronx tributes on September 7th. The New York Mets played their game at Shea Stadium, in Queens, and saluted the first responders who perished during the World Trade Center building collapses by wearing FDNY and NYPD hats during their pregame (a Major League Baseball rule prohibited the Mets from wearing the hats during the game).
At AT&T Park in San Francisco, a series was culminating between the Los Angeles Dodgers and The San Francisco Giants, two teams that have played more often than any other baseball rivalry in the major leagues. But the day wouldn’t begin with taunts, sneers, or snarls. Instead, the clubs set out to pay special tribute. The San Francisco Giants handed out 8X10 flyers individually marked with the name of someone who passed away on 9/11. Outside, Willie Mays Plaza was filled with onlookers, taking photos of a temporary memorial featuring all the names of the victims. Even visiting fans were greeted with open arms as attendees acknowledged that this day wasn’t about rivalry, but about the strength to progress. Below, photos from AT&T Park.
June is LGBT month, and several new It Gets Better videos are surfacing: the SF Giants and Janet Mock included.
The It Gets Better Project aims to send the message to LGBT teenagers who are facing bullying, contemplating suicide, or losing hope that life eventually gets better. Founder Dan Savage and his partner Terry made the first video, and since then, have curated tons of videos from celebrities, organizations, and individuals telling their stories and speaking messages of hope. Today there are over 10,000 It Gets Better videos on their site.
World Series champions San Francisco Giants recently released an It Gets Better video – after lifelong Giants fan Sean Chapin started an online petition to get the team to take a stance on the issue.
Chapin writes, “Professional sports is one of the few remaining pockets of strong homophobia in our country. Kobe Bryant’s homophobic slur against a referee, captured on national television, is the tip of a very large iceberg.” And the Giants answered. Read the full petition here.
Watch the Giants below:
Janet Mock, Associate Editor of People.com, released an It Gets Better video telling the story of her transition from male to female. She said she knew at the age of four that she was a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Her video interlaces pictures from her male years going through school with photos of her now.
The signature sound of a ball knocking on the sweet spot of a perfectly hit line-drive is the only hitting we want to associate with baseball. Yesterday, opening day of the new Major League Baseball season got underway, and of the games included in the first round of 162 clashes, the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants began their run for a second title against their foes, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in what is arguably one of the most heated rivalries in baseball. The Giants lost, and with that commenced a stern reminder that sometimes rivalry means fan-inspired violence.
It is unclear whether the incident stemmed from an earlier confrontation, but random acts of violence against opposing fans isn’t new to Dodger Stadium. Which begs the question: should fans wanting to see their visiting team be offered better security here and elsewhere?
For visiting fans at British soccer stadiums, their security has become priority number one. In a report published at The Sports Journal, British soccer stadiums usually employ a tactic of “fan placement and ticketing strategies to divide opposing fans.” It’s a logical solution; keep opposing fans apart to ensure a friendlier atmosphere, or face severe consequences. At an FC Barcelona game we attended at the Camp Nou in 2004, opposing fans rooting for visiting Zaragoza were seated in a lower-level section, together, corralled by menacing looking security while being taunted by the home team’s contingent. The security force, consisting of around three dozen uniformed guards for around 300 people, kept their eyes locked not on the visitor’s side, but the home contingent. It was a stunning sight. From what we could tell, insults were hurling, but distance kept the peace.
Most recently, gay soccer fans in Poland requested a separate seating area for the Euro 2012 Championships. It’s a move influenced by the idea that it’s a right to watch a game with peace and civility in mind. It’s an extreme, and bold, step. But hooliganism in Europe has prompted these measures, and tragedies like the 1989 Hillsborough disaster remind us how horrific events can occur if security measures aren’t implemented.
There are 16 more games scheduled this year between the Giants and Dodgers, and this weekend’s games will most likely mean more security. But that’s Dodger Stadium. What happens when the fans from Los Angeles visit San Francisco for the beginning of a three-game series starting April 11? Will San Francisco fans retaliate? We can only hope the front office of AT&T Park has a plan.