The Final Word

Posted April 16, 2009 in News

A friend started telling me about the Angels fan that got in a fight at the stadium, got sucker-punched, hit his head on some stairs and died. I interrupted him before he could ever get started.


“Shaved head, goatee, baseball jersey over a sweat-stained tank top and a beer gut?” I asked.


“Obviously you saw his picture,” said my friend.


“No,” I said. “I just know the type.”


Odds are you know the type, too, the kind that makes everything his personal “tough man” competition. The kind of “macho man” who can’t pull up to a traffic light, order a drink at the bar or curl a weight at the gym without trying to stare another man down.


Guys like that are exactly why most sports fans avoid the ballpark and instead are plunking down 2,000-large on high-def, flat screens to “be at the game” without actually being at the game. Because nobody gets drunk and questions your team allegiances in your own living room  (and if they do, you have my permission to ask Grandma to leave).


Look, I don’t know much about the Angels fan that died or, to use a baseball metaphor, was Called Out on Strikes. For all I know he was a mild-mannered family type, minding his own business when he was brutally and unjustly attacked. 


Then again, maybe he was a pompous blowhard who finally met a bully that was bigger than he was.


And maybe, just maybe, he’s like every jock or street tough we all went to high school with. Hell, I used to be a jock. The difference is after high school, I went to college, graduated, got a job, got married and somewhere along the line realized that there’s more to life than treating every professional sporting event likes it’s the epic battle from 300. Because when I buy a ticket to a game, I’d rather watch somebody else get pushed around and sweaty.


I root for the Dodgers and you don’t? Awesome. Enjoy the game and pass me that pretzel. 


You think my Bruins are a little weak across the offensive line? You’re entitled to your opinion and I applaud your choice in body paints. 


You think my Raiders “suck?” I couldn’t agree with you more, pal.


And don’t think for one second that not caring what another fan says about the teams I root for somehow makes me “soft.” I’m 6-foot-3, 235 pounds and I could probably crush you like a soggy grape, Sunshine. But my or anyone else’s physical stature is beside the point. 


Fighting over who the “better” team is isn’t worth a busted lip, broken knuckles or a night in the slammer. It isn’t worth a burgeoning career, bright future and it certainly isn’t worth anyone’s life.


I thought the whole point of organized sport was to let the teams decide it on the field, emphasis on field. It’s the whole reason we have competitions that culminate with the World Series, Super Bowl and NBA Finals.


The Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Steelers and Boston Celtics are the best teams in their respective sports. Period. And until another team rips the championships from their bedazzled ring fingers, it doesn’t matter how much you scream and shout and taunt the poor saps unfortunate enough to be sitting in your stadium section.


Besides, do you really think anyone on the Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Lakers, Clippers, Ducks, Kings, Bruins, Trojans or Chargers gives a rat’s ass about you or who you cheer for? Most of their players are going to be on different teams come next year and they’d step over your cracked leaky skull to get their GL-Series Mercedes.


So why do drunken idiots continue to brawl at stadiums? Why do hairy caveman grunt and draw on the walls of their caves? Because it’s the only way they know how to communicate and it’s got be pretty darn frustrating to spend all your time hiding from a Tyrannosaurus Rex or the IRS.


So the next time one of these jagoffs with something to prove and nothing to lose makes a crack about you or your team at a stadium, do yourself a favor and keep walking. 


Or even better, Best Buy is having another sale on big screens.


Contact Jeff Girod at



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