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Dodgers, Giants Pay Emotional Tribute To Injured Fan

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Giants players in their orange and black emerged from the third-base dugout and walked to the mound as the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in blue did the same from the first-base side.

On a rare night when players from both teams addressed fans before first pitch, Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt and Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll came together for a joint message: This rivalry must stay on the field, without violence and hatred.

The teams 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 following their season opener March 31 in which longtime Giants fan Bryan Stow was assaulted outside Dodger Stadium and left in a medically induced coma.

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.

“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, two days after San Francisco’s players received theirs. Uribe waved his cap when called out of the visitor’s dugout to a standing ovation, then received hugs and handshakes from his former teammates before being handed his ring by managing general partner Bill Neukom.

San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy hoped that gesture would 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 expressed sadness about 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 Giants dedicated Monday’s game to Stow, a paramedic. The team and Stow’s employer, American Medical Response, collected money outside and inside the ballpark for a fund set up to help pay his medical bills. The team said more than $50,000 had been raised in that effort.

The Dodgers tossed four baseballs to fans as they came off the field from batting practice — not a regular practice of the visiting team.

Monday’s game marked the first meeting of the year played in San Francisco since Stow was severely beaten by two men in Dodgers gear in a stadium parking lot.

Stow has been in critical condition in a medically induced coma at Los Angeles County-USC Hospital since the attack. No arrests have been made despite a $150,000 reward.

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.

“The thing in L.A., you love rivalries and you love playing here, but at some point it goes over the top,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before Monday’s game.

Several fans nearby the ballpark said before the game they were optimistic there would be no further incidents.

“I think everyone can agree that what happened in L.A. was really screwed up, and we’re hoping nothing happens here. It’s good to see people out here wearing Dodgers uniforms,” lifelong Giants fan Chris Swanson said at a nearby restaurant and bar.

“It intensifies the rivalry, but I think everyone just wants to see a good game. despite whoever wins, it’s about the game more than what colors people are wearing.”

In Los Angeles, baseball fans drove through Dodger Stadium on Monday, arriving in cars, on motorcycles and on bicycles to drop off cash, checks and good wishes for Stow’s family.

Hall of Fame Dodger Tommy Lasorda told reporters in the stadium parking lot that he prays that Stow — a father of two — will come out of the coma so he can resume his life.

“This young man someday, I hope and pray, can walk into a ballpark again and enjoy the game,” the 83-year-old said.

As police review what happened and make changes, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich urged increased lighting in parking lots, increased security in the stands and parking lots, a stringent alcoholic beverage limit and possibly a reduction in cup size.

Michael Martin, a native of Los Angeles wearing a Brooklyn Dodger hat, stopped by to leave $100.

“I just wanted to show that Dodger fans are not like the two nuts that did this horrible thing. It’s OK to cheer and boo at the stadium but this is atrocious what they did to this Giants fan,” Martin said.

City Councilman Tom LaBonge said he would work with the city and county in an effort to make penalties more severe for “those who disrupt at public arenas, those who are idiots, those who are cowards, those who don’t belong.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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