June 18, 2019
Surprise surprise…Yesterday in Toronto that city celebrated their first ever NBA championship with thousands of people packing the streets. Like many parades in other cities in the past, it just couldn’t end well.
Toronto police had to respond at the parade yesterday to a shooting once the parade reached Nathan Phillips Square and four people were shot. According to police two of the four victims had serious injuries but those were not life threatening. Three people were arrested. Being from Pittsburgh, my home city has had many parades for the 16 titles the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins have won and I don’t recall there ever being a shooting.
But across America in other sports parades, there have been such stupid incidents. In fact, take a visit to this link below and you can read about five such incidents following losses or defeats by a pro team in a championship. Below the link is a short summary of the five incidents they are referring to.
Here are Five American Cities which Rioted after Sporting Success and Defeat
This city has been guilty twice of bad behavior. The Detroit Tigers won the World Series in 1984 and following their victory people supposedly coming out to “celebrate” instead ended up rioting which resulted in one death, nine women reporting that they were raped and 80 people injured in some other fashion. There was millions of dollars of property damage, citizens attacked police cars and overturned them. Nice.
If that wasn’t bad enough, six years later the city’s basketball team, the Pistons were crowned NBA champions and the good folks of Detroit obviously didn’t learn from the Tigers fiasco. That’s because this time eight people lost their lives in the riots that ensued amongst guns going off, people getting stabbed and just fights in general. There were 35 arrests and plenty of looting and again overturned police vehicles. Among the deceased were a four year old boy, a 21 year old who fell off a roof, and a 19 year old man who was the victim of someone trying to play vigilante against those who were rioting.
The home of the infamous Boston Marathon bombing saw Boston fans going crazy in 2004 when the Red Sox finally broke the “Babe Ruth” jinx and won the World Series for the first time in 86 years. There were riots and then the BoSox were champions again in 2007 and it was a repeat performance complete with fans throwing rocks at riot police, shops having their windows broken and fires being started. 37 people found themselves arrested. If that wasn’t bad enough, Boston won the World Series a third time in 2013 and the third time was a charm with more riots seeing turned over police cars, and fans fighting with the cops.
A city similar to that of Detroit is Chicago and led by Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls dominated the NBA for three years from 1991 to 1993 and each time the city celebrated the league titles, there was trouble. From taxis being busted up to the worst of the worst in 1993 when after their third straight NBA title, people in Chicago went out to celebrate but instead acted like animals. In 1993 during the post-series “celebrations” two people died from the rioting. One woman was simply standing on her balcony when a stray bullet hit her killing her. Another man was pulled from his car and shot to death. In this incident 700 people found themselves arrested.
To the contrary, when the Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series for the first time since 1908, over one million fans showed up to congratulate and celebrate the Cubbies. There was not a single reported incident so that makes you wonder is there a difference between basketball and baseball fans?
Western cities are not immune to sports rioting. When the Denver Broncos finally got over the hump and won the Super Bowl in 1998, it took just 10,000 fans to get out and go crazy in celebrating. Alcohol played a factor and cars were overturned, businesses suffered vandalism causing millions of dollars in damage. As the Broncs won the Lombardi again the next season, it was a repeat performance although not as intense. The city’s hockey team, the Avalanche also won a championship in 1996 and brought home the Stanley Cup again in 2001 which saw 63 fans arrested for celebrating a bit too much.
This incident has nothing to do with winning or losing but goes down as the most idiotic promotion probably in the history of sports say next to the honorable mention below. The year was 1974 and the Cleveland Indians were playing at home against the Texas Rangers and stadium and team officials decided it would be a good idea to hold a “10 cent beer night.” Ahhh…can you say groundwork for a serious problem?
Sure enough, at 10 cents a beer, there were enough drunk fans that before long firecrackers were going off in the stands, bottles became projectiles, and then to no one’s surprise, fans took to the field. These morons began tearing up the field of play and understandably players from both teams ran for their lives into the locker rooms. The manager of the Rangers at that time was the late Billy Martin who said:
“That was the closest you’re ever going to be to seeing someone get killed in this game of baseball.”
As an honorable mention, Chicago’s Steve Dahl, a self proclaimed shock jock who hated disco music proposed to the White Sox a “disco demolition night” at one of their games where they would blow up disco records. The White Sox wanted to draw more fans during this 1979 season that was seeing an underachievement by their team so they went along with it.
The event was scheduled to take place in between games of a doubleheader so on July 12, the event was set and put into action. Expecting a crowd of around 20,000, the number instead ballooned to 50,000 not including fans of the radio show host who snuck in. These mostly rock and rollers brought their own records in and began to throw them like a Frisbee. If you have never tried throwing an LP or 45 record, I used to do that and let me tell you…THEY TRAVEL! FAR! So the promotion went on, the records were blown up by Dahl and the fans went nuts. LITERALLY.
A riot ensued that resulted in riot police having to break up the mess and the second game postponed until a day later when the then American League President Lee MacPhail ordered a forfeit by the ChiSox.