Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Did San Francisco's World Series Celebration Turn Ugly?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Why Did San Francisco's World Series Celebration Turn Ugly?

Article excerpt

After the Giants squeaked out a seven-game World Series win Wednesday night over the Royals, hometown revelry should have made the players proud, right?

Not quite. Instead of covering the home team in appreciative glory, fans and others took to the winding San Francisco streets for a night of celebration that quickly turned destructive.

Bonfires lit up around the city, at least one person was shot, municipal buses had windows smashed, and police made multiple arrests. Social media exploded with snapshots of fans engaged in potentially lethal behavior such as swinging from live utility lines.

While many fans simply marched down Market Street, residents wary of how events might proceed took precautions and stayed away.

What's the matter, one might ask. After all, the home team triumphed. But says at least one San Francisco local, we are in a different age where increasingly, everyone wants to be part of the action - it's not enough to just be a fan anymore.

"I saw people setting off firecrackers and taking pictures of themselves," says Mike Gilleran, executive director of the Santa Clara University Institute of Sports Law and Ethics, who lives in San Francisco.

He made a special effort to pick his college-age daughter up from a class, rather than allowing her to take the bus home after the game finished.

"We were driving as the last out happened and we heard the firecrackers start to go off right away," he says.

Within a very short time frame, Professor Gilleran notes that he could sense the mood in the city shift.

"People were probably drinking and you could feel the mood get edgier," he says, adding that they moved to get home quickly.

"We just wanted to hunker down and be away from the potential for something bad to happen," he adds.

Rowdy fan behavior is not new, of course. Just look at the hooliganism that followed the Red Sox 2013 win and of course, decades of destructive soccer fan behavior overseas. …

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