A guy went to Candlestick Park yesterday wearing a Dallas Cowboys jersey. Even though the Cowboys weren’t playing in San Francisco that day, he wasn’t breaking any rules set forth by our legal system, the San Francisco 49ers or the NFL.
That Cowboys jersey was reportedly enough to rile up two psychopaths, however.
The victim, a 27-year-old man, was standing on Harney Way approximately 500 yards west of Jamestown Road around 1:30 p.m. with a group of five friends when the two suspects approached, according to Sgt. Michael Andraychak.
The suspects began taunting the victim about sports teams. The stabbing victim was wearing a Dallas Cowboys T-shirt, according to Suzy Barrera, a friend of the victim.
“It was just trash talking about sports,” Barrera said. “The men thought it would be fun to antagonize my friend,” Barrera added.
Then one of the two suspects pulled out a knife and stabbed the victim in the torso, causing life threatening injuries, Andraychak said.
Stuck in traffic
I showed up late to the game because it took about 90 minutes longer than I figured to meet and pick up my wife at the end of the half marathon she ran in the morning that ended at Ocean Beach. So I took 3rd Street in order to avoid the highway and *hopefully* find a spot where I wouldn’t have to pay $30 (or more) to park my car in some dirt lot a mile away from Candlestick.
After driving around and coming up empty, I gave up on free parking and found myself on Jamestown. I followed the road into the loop around the perimeter of Candlestick, which was moving at about 1 or 2 mph. I was behind a older model black Honda Civic coupe, which was driven by a girl who didn’t seem to be paying a lot of attention (translation: she consistently left over a car’s length in front of her as we inched along, so people kept cutting in front of her).
Soon I figured out why she seemed out of it — the guy in the passenger’s seat was pounding domestic beers and, from time to time, passing his beer over to her so she could get a chug or two. Young love, nothing like it.
We were in the far right lane. To our right, in a grassy park area, there were several groups of tailgaters. I saw the guy in the passenger’s seat of the Civic yell something to a guy hanging out with a group of 49ers fans, presumably because the man — who responded by gesturing and shouting back at the guy in the Civic — was wearing a Raiders jersey. There were a few things I didn’t know about this situation:
- Whether or not the Raiders fan knew that his team had just fallen behind 20-13 on an Asante Samuel pick-6 seconds earlier (he seemed blissfully drunk/ignorant).
- What exactly was said between Open Container Guy (which, coincidentally, was the name of a former BASG contributor until he went away for 5-to-10 years) and the Raiders fan.
- If the red bandana the Raiders fan was wearing under his hat had anything to do with the drive-by verbal confrontation.
All I knew was that I REALLY didn’t want to be a captive witness to a fight between these two, so I felt very relieved when I heard the Raiders fan yell, “Nah, nah, ain’t worth it! Ain’t worth it!”
We inched away, I found a $30 spot about 1.5 miles away from the stadium, and I totally forgot about the incident until hearing about yesterday afternoon’s stabbing … which took place about an hour later.
Not just a parking lot problem
I really need to get some binoculars to watch games from the Candlestick Park press box. Not because I can’t see the field, but because I miss all the great fights! I’m kidding, but the guy next to me had his binoculars out to get a better view of a brawl during the middle of the game in the upper deck around Sec. 15 or 17. Apparently one of the fighters tried to throw a couple punches at a cop, with decidedly unfortunate results for the punch-thrower.
After the game, the image I’ll remember while standing on the field was watching Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants run to the tunnel under a chorus of loud “Let’s Go Giants” cheers from hundreds of proud, obnoxious New York fans. That’s the thing about NFL football — the trash-talking is constant and can go overboard. But why does it have to be this way at Candlestick, while places like Lambeau Field are known for fans who also double as gracious hosts?
Is it the dilapidated facility? The neighborhood? A group of younger 49ers fans who never experienced success for their favorite football team while growing up?
There is a violence problem at other NFL stadiums, clearly. But I only attend games at The Stick these days, and since I’ll be going to Thursday night’s game against Seattle as a fan with some high school buddies, this environment is more than a tad worrisome. I won’t be wearing a Seahawks, Giants, Raiders or Cowboys jersey on Thursday night, but there’s something wrong if someone who chooses to do so can’t feel safe.