Magazine article Risk Management

Time Line: Fanarchy

Magazine article Risk Management

Time Line: Fanarchy

Article excerpt

When 79 people died during an Egyptian soccer riot in early February, the world was once again reminded how much higher the stakes are off the field than on it. The day was meant to be one of joy for the Al-Masry fans whose team got a rare win over their rival team AI-AhIy, but it quickly turned to tragedy as armed supporters stormed the pitch to attack opposing fans and players. It was a dark day for a nation still trying to create a new normal since the dictator who ran the country for three decades, Hosni Mubarak, was ousted last year. As is so often the case when sporting events turn to violence, a lack of security was blamed. The mob took over and there was no force to stop it. Over the years, crowds at sporting events have incited many riots and fiascos. The following are some of the most memorable.

IO Cent Beer Night

Cleveland, Ohio

June 7, 1974

It's unclear how many of the 25,000 fans in attendance over-indulged in cheap beer in Cleveland Stadium, but the sales promotion led to drunk, armed baseball fans standing toe-to-toe with bat-wielding players in the outfield. After littering the field with cups, batteries and golf balls all game long, one fan jumped onto the field and stole a Texas Rangers' player's hat. The player tripped trying to get it back, and his manager, believing he had been attacked, gave a now-infamous command to the other players: "Let's go get 'em, boys." The team rushed the field and encountered some 200 fans reportedly carrying chains, knives and make-shift clubs created from shards of stadium seats. The hometown Indians players stormed the field - bats in hand - to defend their rivals. Mayhem ensued and fans were injured, but the teams managed a timely escape to the dugout. "That was the closest you're ever going to be to seeing someone get killed in this game of baseball," said Rangers manager Billy Martin after the game.

Disco Demolition Night

Chicago, Illinois

July 12, 1979

Along with a local radio station, the organizers of a Chicago White Sox/Detroit Tigers double-header offered tickets for just 98 cents if fans brought a disco record, which would be destroyed between games. Officials grossly underestimated people's hatred for this music genre, however: 90,000 people showed up to a Comiskey Park that held 50,000. Some climbed walls to get in and fans inside threw records around like frisbees. After game one, a DJ detonated the record crates with explosives and a fire started. As he fled the field, fans rushed on. They rioted, setting more fires and tearing down the batting cage before Chicago cops cleared the wrecked field and arrested 39 people. The second game was canceled, and it remains the last American League baseball game to end in a forfeited. …

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