Friday, July 20, 2007

Dodgers' F-ony Phan Code of Conduct

Something ugly happened at Dodger Stadium tonight. And I'm not referring to the horrible traffic getting into the stadium parking lot. Nor am I thinking of the final score -- the Mets beat the Dodgers 13 to 9.

The Dodgers tout their "Fan Code of Conduct" as their way to ensure Dodger Stadium is a family-friendly park. Before each game they show a video with Tommy Lasorda saying anyone violating the Code of Conduct will be kicked out. And then they have Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin read the same script in Spanish. He gives a stern look when he says "palabras obscinas."

The video ends with the phone number fans are supposed to call if there's any problem in the stands.

The code reads in part:

2) Our fans' experience will not be disrupted by unruly actions or behaviors of others. Fans should report any inappropriate behavior to the nearest usher, security guard or Stadium staff member.

11) Fans must adhere to the Code of Conduct provisions or they will be subject to ejection without refund and revocation of season tickets and may also be in violation of city ordinances resulting in possible arrest and prosecution.

Sounds pretty good, doesn't it? Well good luck getting it enforced!

Tonight there was a young man seated one row behind me over my left shoulder -- (Field Level, Section 31, Row K, Seat 5). Every other sentence was F-Bomb this and F-Bomb that. Sometimes he even double F-Bombed in the same sentence (if you could call them sentences). There were little kids seated all around him and he was talking loudly -- right into my ear.

Finally I turned to him and calmly asked him not to use that language because I found it offense and Dodger Stadium is supposed to be a family friendly park and his language was a violation of the Fan Code of Conduct. His response of "why the 'F-Bomb' should I?" pretty much indicates where this was going. So I told him if I heard it again I'd simply call Dodger Stadium Security and ask that they enforce the Dodger Stadium Fan Code of Conduct. Within moments -- more shelling from F-Troop.

I reached for my phone and started to dial the phone number for Dodger Stadium Security. While dialing there was a tap on my left shoulder and a woman says she's the young man's Mother and she was sorry for what he's done and he won't do it again. And she asks me not to call. I was so impressed that an adult was taking responsibility for the situation I immediately stopped dialing and went back to watching the game. (How gullible can I be?)

Within 10 minutes there was a beach ball bouncing around our section and young Mr. F-Bomber got it and proceeded to slam it into the top of my head while laughing.

Fortunately, an usher was standing right in our aisle (trying to catch and destroy the beach ball) and she saw the whole thing happen. I quickly asked her to get security, explained they had been cussing through the entire game, I had asked him to stop and then he did that in retaliation. She gave me this look as if to say, "absolutely, right away, I understand the situation."

Within a few minutes a security guard was on the scene and asked Mr. F-Bomber to stand up and meet her at the top of the stairs. "Great," I thought, "he and the other three in his party are being ejected from the stadium and I can enjoy the rest of the game in peace."

Instead Dodger Security seemed to adopt some sort of "catch and release" policy and Mr. F-Bomber returned to his seat just a few minutes later. As though a "stern talking-t0" by security would resolve the situation.

I immediately got up from my seat and went to the back of the stadium to speak with security. I wanted to make sure they understood the entire situation and explained I didn't want to spend the next 6 innings with this guy sitting behind me. I expected them to enforce the Fan Code of Conduct and make him leave the stadium.

The security staff didn't seem to know what to do with my insistence. Finally, they had the head security officer, Eddie Rodriguez, come over to talk to me. He said they wouldn't eject Mr. F-Bomber because Dodger Stadium staff hadn't heard him cussing. He didn't seem to care he had intentionally slammed a beach ball into my head. Instead they said they'd "keep an eye on him."

I demanded Rodriguez produce a copy of the Fan Code of Conduct and show me where it says fans my report obscenities but the staff won't do anything unless they hear it themselves.

He did produce a copy but said "it's just a little rule they have" about handling situations.

Rodriguez is notorious for being the security officer who escorted two women out of Dodger Stadium a few years ago for kissing. When I reminded him of that he first said, "that was someone else." When I told him I saw his photo in the paper when he was assigned to Sensitivity Training over the incident he said, "I don't know what you're talking about."

He then demanded I produce my ticket and ID. Now all of a sudden I'm the bad guy.

He kept insisting all they could do was "watch them" and to do anything else would be a violation "of the rules."

Having missed more than an inning of the game I finally went back to my seat to sit in front of Mr. F-Bomb and his 3 cohorts. Of course they continued to cuss, mostly pointed at my direction. The "Mother" seemed to think it was especially funny to cuss in Spanish.

And Dodger Stadium Security did nothing. So much for the so-called Dodger Stadium Fan Code of Conduct.

And for this lovely evening I spent $65. I've got some "palabras obscinas" of my own.
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1 comment:

Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...

Ted, Kudos to you for maintaining the high ground here. For the life of me (and I'm no prude), I can't understand why people feel compelled to drop the F-bomb the way they do. It doesn't make anyone sound any more intelligent -- in fact, it debases civility as you experienced first hand. I just wish more people (like Dodger Stadium) appreciated that fact.