The Sporting Views
Bums vs. guards .. .
... Tiger Stadium trouble
By STEVE HOOK
There was tension even before the game began Tuesday night at Tiger
Stadium - blatant hostility between the patrons and the Burns security
guards. From the thorough body-searches at the gate, to the two-way jeers
along the ramps leading to the upper deck, the animosity seemed firmly
established before Pat Underwood threw his first pitch.
As the first inning began, the "bleacher bums' " wrath shifted towards
the despised New York Yankees, namely their first three batters: Willie
Randolph, Ruppert Jones and Bob Watson. As the smell of reefer filled the
air, and beer-toting new. arrivals squeezed into the last empty seats, the
Yankees went down in order, and the Tigers scored a run in theirhalf of the
first. For the moment, there was peace ayd harmony.
But the Yankees quickly went ahead 3-1, and then 5-1, so out came the
beachballs. As a pair of multi-colored balls were batted around the
bleachers, the " New York, New York!" swept the upper
deck. A home run by John Wockenfuss ended the chorus, as the fans
celebrated the year's first home run against the undefeated Tommy John.
Again, back to baseball.
But suddenly, out came the security guards, stealing the attention like
the San Diego chicken. As they managed to intercept one beachball and take
it away, they were met with a volley of crushed paper cups, peanut bags, and
curses by the fans. The crowd, almost exclusively male, white, and in the 16-
24 age group, began chanting "bull ----, bull ---- at the stern-faced
guards. The Yankees' center-fielder, Jones, looked up at the bleachers,
wondering what all the commotion was about. It surely wasn't the baseball
game; the Tigers were coming back.
The guards endured the shower of abuse for many minutes, which was
intensifying. They almost seemed to enjoy the attention. But suddenly, the
fun was over - several guards began racing up the steps to my right, and
tackled an adolescent fan (who apparently threw something more serious
than a paper-cup). He flailed at them, and several other fans joined in the
melee. The bleachers became a scene of violence. For ten minutes, during
the majority of New York's fifth inning at-bat, several such brawls broke
out, ,with the riot-helmeted guards diving into crowded aisles, wrestling
those fans who opposed them. Around me people screamed, heckled the
guards further, or just stood in awe at the scattered fights. One man, in front
of me, pointed to his wife in dismay. "She's eight months pregnant,'' he mut-
tered. "This is really great."
Like a cowboy breaking a young colt, the security forces sedated the
crowd with great efficiency. As the Tigers came up in the bottom of the fifth,
the bleachers were as calm as those at a Little League game, and the atten-
tion shifted back to baseball. Which was just fine, as the Tigers scored four
runs on a grand-slam home run by Richie Hebner, to go ahead 6-5, and then
two more to make it 8-5.
In the innings to follow, the fighting recurred often. The sight of a blue
helmet, shining brightly in the lights' reflection, inspired further cup
showers and verbal abuse. When one fan would go "over the line," the
assaults would begin anew. For the guards, it was fight fire with fire. For
each blow they received, they seemed to counter with two more, both to sub-
due the aggressor, and also to send out a message to the aspiring
aggressors: "Don't mess with us."
Much discussion has begun concerning the stadium violence, including a
lengthy call-in dialogue on J. P. McCarthy's WJR radio show yesterday
morning. Accusations of unnecessary brutality by the Burns Security forces
have been raised, as some were seen striking fans with no apparent reason.
"They seemed to be looking for a fight," recalled Ted Badgerow, 22, who
was among the upper deck bleacher crowd just under the scoreboard. "A
couple of people who were beaten on were innocent bystanders. Those guar-
ds just pointed and charged, flailing their flashlight handles at the people.
"If they can't take verbal abuse," he added, "they have no business
"We're disgusted; it's terrible," said Tiger President Jim Campbell.
"It's the young people not behaving - they hate to be supervised. Some say
that if you don't have any guards at all, there won't be any trouble; but then
somebody gets hurt and I get sued. It's damned if you do and damned if you
don't." He sighed wearily. "I don't have the answers."
"In my four years working here," said Bob Miller of the Tiger's public
relations department, "this is the worst I've seen. Others around here are
saying this was the worst they've seen here, or anywhere."
The Michigan Daily-Thursday, May 22, 1980-Page 15
SPOR TS OF THE DAILY
Silas new coach
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Paul Silas, -a
member of three National Basketball
Association championship teams
during his 16-year career, was named
player-coach of the San Diego Clippers
Silas, who turns 37 in July, signed a
three-year contract as coach and a one-
year contract as a player. The NBA's
No. 3 all-time rebounder, Silas spent the
last two years with the Seattle Sonics,
the 1978-79 NBA champions.
TERMS OF the contract were not
One of pro basketball's most durable
performers, the 6-foot-7 forward is 17
games shy of passing John Havlicek as
the NBA's all-time leader in regular
games played. Havlicek's record is
Silas, who played a key role in the
Sonics' championship, said the move
represents "a big challenge, because
there's only been one player who was
successful as a player-coach. That was
Bill Russell - and he was his own best
SILAS SUCCEEDS Gene Shue, who
coached the Clippers through their first
two years of existence. Shue left the
club May 1, reportedly to take a head
coaching job elsewhere in the NBA.
The former Creighton star told a
news conference he plans to mix a fast
break club with one that excels at
Besides St. Louis, Silas also played
for Atlanta, Phoenix, Boston, Denver
and Seattle. During his career, he has
scored 11,782 points and had 12,357
rebounds. Only Russell and Nate
Thurmond have more rebounds.
He helped Boston with the NBA title
in 1973-74 and 1975-76, before making a
major contribution at Seattle.
However, he said his playing days
appeared numbered at Seattle under
Coach Lenny Wilkens. "I did not feel I
fit into Lenny's plans."
Olympic gold anyway?
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congress
was asked yesterday to strike special
gold medals for the U.S. athletes who
will boycott the Olympic Games in
Moscow this summer.
Sens. Gary. Hart, (D-Colo.), and Ted
Stevens, (R-Alaska), introduced
legislation to strike 650 gold medals to
honor the athletes "who, on the basis of
outstanding performance, have earned
places on the 1980 Summer Olympics
EVEN THOUGH the U.S. Olympic
Committee voted April 12 to support
President Carter and boycott the Sum-
mer Games to protest the Soviet
military presence in Afghanistan, trials
are being held to select a full team.
Under the legislation, President Car-
ter would'presenl the gold medals to the
athletes, on behalf of the Congress.
"At a time of turmoil abroad,
Americans are united in admiration of
the devotion to the best in themselves
which these athletes represent," said
"WE ALL HAVE a natural pride in
these men and women and the com-
mitment to excellence which they have
Sen. Stevens, who authored the
Amateur Sports Act of 1978, said the
special strike is not intended to be a
substitute for any gold, silver or bronze
medal a U.S. athlete conceivably could
have won in Moscow.
"Rather, the intention of this medal is
to recognize these athletes for what
they are, and what they have
achieved," said Stevens. "It is to pay
tribute to all the hours, days, and years
that were expended to attain the status
of Olympic athlete."
Cleveland 4, Baltimore 2
Boston It, Toronto 2
Minnesota 3, Chicago 2
Montreal 3, Atlanta 2
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