LAPD outlines security plans at Dodger Stadium

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LAPD outlines security plans at Dodger Stadium

April 9, 2011
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LOS ANGELES (AP) A vicious attack on a baseball fan is focusing attention on security problems at Dodger Stadium and drawing promises from the team and the city that more police will be on hand during games.They are hoping to avoid a repeat of the season's first game, when two men in Dodgers attire attacked a 42-year-old man wearing rival San Francisco Giants gear in the parking lot. A week later, he is still in critical condition. Police are still looking for the assailants, despite a 150,000 reward and sketches of the suspects."These two individuals are not true Dodger fans. They are common criminals," Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said at a news conference Friday, his first public comments on the beating.
COMMUNITY: How to help the Stow family
The attack, however, has focused attention on security problems at the ballpark, and the intense - sometimes bitter - rivalry among Dodgers and Giants fans.More officers will be dispatched as part of increased security announced Friday. City officials and the team said the additional officers will stand guard at the next home game on April 14.To fans concerned about their safety, McCourt said: "I hear you loudly and I hear you clearly."The team turned to Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck for help and hired former police Chief William Bratton and his New York security firm to plot a safe future for fans at one of the nation's most historic ballparks.McCourt, Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa all promised changes that will ensure a safe, family-friendly, fan-friendly environment. Many of the changes will be in place before the April 14 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.Among the changes are LAPD officers in uniform who can eject or arrest troublemakers, including season ticket holders, and enforce the ban on tailgating or drinking in the parking lots. The team will pay for the additional police, although the price hasn't been set yet.Eventually, there will be license plate scanners, observation towers, increased lighting and undercover operations throughout the stadium.Team officials said they were reconsidering their plan to sell half-price alcohol at six games this season.They also promised to look at prices and serving sizes for alcoholic beverages, as well as when to stop serving alcohol, Dodger spokesman Josh Rawitch told the Los Angeles Times."There will be zero tolerance for misbehavior at Dodger games," Beck said.Some types of trash talk also will not be tolerated."If people are making comments that inherently incite violence, then you've got to go," he said.That will be good news for Erick Gustafson, 43. He said some fans were out of control. At a game last summer, he and his son were waiting in line for tickets when some fans shouted insults at his 10-year-old boy because he was wearing a St. Louis Cardinals shirt."He was all excited, he made some money and bought his own jersey," Gustafson said. He didn't want the boy to face similar taunts on the way out, so "in the sixth inning, I said let's go.' It was just for my son's safety."Radio talk show host Tom Leykis said he stopped going to Dodger games in October 2009 after two fans recognized and taunted him for eight innings with "nonstop vulgarities," then followed him up the stairs.He called security and two officers arrived and talked to the men, who he called "drunken stockbrockers," but did nothing more because they professed their innocence, Leykis told The Associated Press."We've got HDTV. I don't need this and I stopped going," said Leykis, who offered 50,000 to the reward fund to find the men who attacked Giants fan, Bryan Stow, last week.Stow was bludgeoned and kicked as he left the ballpark after the Dodgers defeated the Giants. He is still in a medically induced coma at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and his family is accepting emailed well wishes from thousands of baseball fans.The rivalry is more than a century old, dating back to when they were both still in New York.The Dodgers moved into Chavez Ravine on April 10, 1962, four years after both the Dodgers and Giants moved to California from New York. Today Dodger Stadium is the third oldest park in the majors.In the win-loss column, the Dodgers and Giants are almost even. Each team has six World Series titles. Head-to-head, the Giants have won 1,172 games and the Dodgers have won 1,152.The Dodgers haven't won a World Series since 1988. The Giants are reigning world champs.On Opening Day, a plane flew over the stadium, trailing a banner that said: "Dodgers still suck ... from SF champs fans."While losing stings, the public feud between McCourt and his wife, Jamie, over ownership of the team hasn't helped the Dodgers or their fans' image of the team."The minute you start hearing news about your favorite team beyond the sports pages, you have a problem," said David Carter, executive director of the University of Southern California Sports Business Institute.Not everyone is afraid. Sergio Courtney, 38, of Los Angeles, said he's been going to Dodger games since he was 5. He never felt unsafe and he doesn't now, he said.Plans for massive police presence are overkill, he said, recommending observation towers."They don't need a whole police force, just a couple eyes in the sky," he said.The next game between the teams will be Monday night, when the Dodgers visit AT&T Park in San Francisco for a three-game series. The Giants said they always have increased security for the Dodgers series.On Friday, Stow's picture with his two kids was shown on the main centerfield scoreboard at the Giants-Cardinals afternoon game. The crowd began cheering: "Beat L.A.!"

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble

OAKLAND -- Considering their status as reigning champs without a pick, members of the Warriors personnel department could have turned out the lights and left team headquarters to watch the NBA Draft from a nearby tavern.

They instead stayed in business mode Thursday night, observing the draft-night chaos up close, waiting for the right moment and the right player.

And for the second consecutive year, the Warriors paid a team for its 38th overall draft pick, sending a reported $3.5 million to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for the rights to Oregon big man Jordan Bell, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year.

“Everybody we talked to had a lot of good things to say about him,” president/general manager Bob Myers said. “He’s one of the few guys we looked at and really wanted to see if we could get. I actually was not optimistic we would be able to get him. But somehow it came to fruition.”

Myers added that the Warriors, along with many mock drafts, projected Bell as a first-round pick.

Bell led the Pac-12 in field-goal percentage (63.6) while shooting almost exclusively in the paint. The 6-foot-9 center/forward was sixth among Pac-12 rebounders at 8.8 per game and 13th in steals at 1.3 per game.

The Long Beach Poly High product possesses a wingspan a fraction shy of 7-feet and bears, by some accounts, a resemblance to Draymond Green inasmuch as he is a defense-first player with a deep reservoir of energy.

It’s a comparison that Bell, asked about it, embraces.

“Draymond, because people always say I’m undersized,” Bell told Basketball Insiders last month. “He’s one of those players you can’t really say what position he is, but he’s a force on defense.”

Moreover, Myers cited Green as one of the players best suited to mentor Bell.

“Draymond is a good one,” the GM said. “He’s not afraid to tell players what he thinks. He’s going to be a good teacher.”

Bell in three seasons became the Ducks’ all-time leader in blocks. He blocked eight shots in a Midwest Regional win over Kansas that sent Oregon to the Final Four. He became during the NCAA Tournament the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon (in 1985) to snag at least 12 rebounds in five consecutive tournament games.

“Defending is one of my best attributes,” Bell told Basketball Insiders. “Being able to switch 1-through-5. Play small ball. Blocking shots. Timing. Decision-making on offense.”

These are the characteristics that prompted the Warriors to put a red-letter “B” next to Bell’s name on their draft board -- even though his offensive skills are unrefined.

“We love his ability to defend,” Myers said. “He could probably defend most positions, and in the NBA that’s huge. To be able to switch pick-and-rolls, rebound, block shots, finish, there are a lot of boxes he checks.

“ . . . We just like the way he plays basketball. We’ll find a place for him.”

The Warriors also are closing in on a deal for one of Bell’s Oregon teammates. Forward Chris Boucher is expected to sign a two-way contract with the team.

“That’s something we’re trying to move toward,” Myers said of Boucher, who is rehabilitating an ACL surgery.

“But we like players that win. We like players that can play. I don’t care what school they are or what their background is, or what position. Winners. That’s what we’re trying to do, is win. If we end up getting that done, that’s another player that was on a very good team.”

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
 
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
 
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
 
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
 
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
 
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
 
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
 
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
 
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
 
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.