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L.A. Incident Increases Concern Of Sports Fan Violence In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The savage beating of a San Francisco Giants fan in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium has touched off fresh concerns about fan violence at sporting events.

Phillies and Mets fans have restrained themselves during this week’s series between the two traditionally rival teams, and local sports psychologist Dr. Joel Fish says that’s a good thing.

But it doesn’t take much to enflame tempers to the boiling point, he notes.

“Most of these fan violence situations take place in crowds, where all of a sudden we get caught up in the heat of the moment and we act oftentimes differently than we act in any other situation,” he says.   “I’ve talked to many people who the next day, after being in a crowd situation, say, ‘I can’t believe I did that, I can’t believe I said that.’ ”

Police in Los Angeles are still searching for the two men who beat and kicked Giants fan Bryan Stow in the head after a Dodgers-Giants game. Stow suffered a fractured skull and probable brain damage (see related story).

“I think the pressure to win at all levels produces excess fan behavior,” Fish notes, “and until we curb that notion that ‘winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing,’ we’re gonna see more of these kind of incidents.”

And Fish predicts that more teams will impose fan conduct behavior policies.

Reported by Paul Kurtz, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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