Giants dedicate game to Bryan Stow
SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants invited family members of Bryan Stow, the 42-year old paramedic from Santa Cruz who was brutally attacked at Dodger Stadium on March 31, to watch Monday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers from a team suite at AT&T Park, according to a team spokeswoman.
The game, which the Giants dedicated to Stow, was the first in San Francisco between the two teams since the attack.
More than 80 members of the paramedics company AMR, Stow's employer, were also invited to the game. They were planning to raise funds to help Stow's family with his medical costs, and an AMR spokesman said about $58,800 was collected during Monday's game in and around AT&T Park. Stow remains in a medically-induced coma at County USC Medical Center in Los Angeles. Much of his immediate family is in Los Angeles with him.
Giants CEO William Neukom and president Larry Baer visited Stow and his family in the hospital last week.
"From the very beginning of this, the Giants have really been great," said Virginia Jones, one of Stow's co-workers who is helping coordinate fundraising efforts. "Everyone has. I've gotten more phone calls, emails and requests to help Bryan and his family than I know what to do with."
Before the first pitch, Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt and Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll came together for a joint message on behalf of their teams: This rivalry must stay on the field, without violence and hatred.
Players from both clubs gathered on the pitcher's mound Monday night before their series opener at AT&T Park to make clear there should be no repeat of the events that injured Stow.
With heightened security at the waterfront ballpark, the teams took the field for a game dedicated to the 42-year-old Stow, a paramedic from nearby Santa Cruz and father of two.
"There's no room in this game for hatred and violence. It is about respect," Carroll told the sellout crowd, which applauded his remarks. "This is America's national pastime and let's keep it that way."
A photo of Stow showed on the main center-field scoreboard along with his two children as both teams removed their caps in a quiet moment of reflection.
Affeldt thanked fans for their generous financial and emotional support to help Stow and his family -- then he spoke of the need for respect on both sides.
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"I don't have to tell you about the Dodgers-Giants, it's one of the most storied rivalries in the history of the game but in honoring that rivalry and honoring the Stow family, you have to remember when these two teams get on the field and play, we're competitive," Affeldt said. "But when the last out is made, that rivalry ends on the field, so please respect that."
The Giants presented former infielder Juan Uribe -- now wearing the rival Dodger Blue -- with his World Series ring from last year in a presentation on the field.
San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy hopes that gesture will provide a positive sign to fans about sportsmanship.
"We're playing each other and we're competitive and rivals but let's leave it at that," Bochy said. "Our thoughts are with Bryan Stow. This shouldn't happen. We're hoping to send a message tonight so it doesn't become a bigger problem."
Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp said he was saddened by what happened to Stow.
"That's a terrible thing what happened to that man," Kemp said. "It's a rivalry but it's not so serious to almost take somebody's life. This guy is never going to be same again over wearing the wrong jersey."
The Dodgers tossed four baseballs to fans as they came off the field from batting practice -- not a regular practice of the visiting team.
The Giants and San Francisco Police Department increased the number of police officers on patrol both inside and outside the ballpark, officials said.
"We're going to have a zero-tolerance policy on public intoxication and combative behaviors," said San Francisco police spokesman Alvie Esparza. "We want fans to come to the ballpark and enjoy the game, but they have to do it in a civilized and respectful manner."
Esparza said the police presence at the Giants-Dodgers series would be similar to that of last year's World Series games.
The team and police officials encouraged fans to report any incidents of violence or unruliness in the stands through a text-messaging system ballpark security officials have set up.
"I think it went very well," said Jorge Costa, the Giants' senior vice president for stadium operations. "There was the typical stupidity and typical stuff you'd see at a Giants-Dodgers game, but other than that, I think everything went very well."
Fans in the stands said the police presence at AT&T Park was noticeable and a clear deterrent to any violence.
"It was a little more intense than it normally is for a Giants-Dodgers game," said Dodger fan Crystal Marshall, who drove from Fresno to attend Monday's game.
"I had some fans coming up to me in line, asking why we put someone in a coma. Stupid stuff like that. But I didn't feel threatened or scared. There were a lot of police here. And I came with a group of Giants fans, so I knew they'd have my back."
Marshall came dressed in a Dodgers shirt, hat and jacket for Monday's game. While tailgating in the parking lot beforehand, she bought a black and orange sweatshirt in support of Stow and donated $20 to the fund to support him and his family.
"That's the only way I'd ever wear black and orange," she said. "What happened to him was really awful."
Over the weekend, AMR hosted a barbeque to benefit Stow, who has a 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter. Jones said they anticipated 500 people to attend.
"Instead 4,500 people showed up," she said. "We really can't believe how much support there is. We had 5,000 t-shirts and hats printed for him and we're pretty much out of them. People have called from as far away as Australia asking how they can help."
Jones said that she will turn over the fundraising efforts to Stow's family in the near future. Anyone wishing to donate to the "Bryan Stow Fund" should visit the website www.support4stow.blogspot.com or contact the San Francisco Police Credit Union c/o San Mateo Branch 1495 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94402.
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and reporter for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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