The annual drunk brawl between 49ers and Raiders fans took place this past weekend, and it was, historically speaking, more drunk and brawl-y than usual. In what essentially amounts to a timeout for grown-ups, both teams have requested that the NFL "indefinitely suspend" the annual preseason "Battle of the Bay" so that they and their fans might avoid any future increases in arrests, citations, and life-threatening injuries—all of which jumped significantly this year.
Greg Suhr, chief of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) provided Saturday's numbers to the Chronicle. They're actually a little astounding:
- SFPD made 12 arrests (Suhr said 1 to 2 are made at a typical game)
- SFPD issued 8 citations (usually none, other than scalping)
- SFPD ejected 70 fans (the figure from last year's Niners-Raiders regular-season game was in the mid-50s, according to Suhr)
- SFPD cited 19 fans for public intoxication (typically 6 to 8)
- There were 90 medical calls for service (normally 7 to 10) and 10 ambulance runs to a hospital (1 to 2).
The above doesn't include the two fans who were upgraded from serious to fair condition Monday. One of the victims, a 24-year-old man, was shot several times in the stomach. The other victim, a 26-year-old man, was beaten unconscious in a restroom. Another victim had superficial gunshot wounds to the face.
The 49ers, with the honorable intention of keeping their fans from getting wasted and murderous at Candlestick Park on weekend afternoons, have also announced a series of changes to game day operations. They've teamed up with the SFPD to set up DUI checkpoints following every home game and to increase the department's presence in and around the stadium during games. The Niners will also prohibit
pre- and post-game tailgating at Candlestick and—the real nightmare for any drunk—they'll turn up the lights in the parking lot.
The Battle of the Bay began in 1967 and lasted straight through 1993, and then resumed in 1999 after a brief hiatus. Since then, the only year off was in 2000. It's certainly a rivalry, but it's also one that's based around a meaningless preseason game.
"Some of the fans take it too serious," San Francisco's Frank Gore said after this year's installment. "It's a football game." He's forgetting that it's a football game that's always been fueled by a lot of booze.
Tailgating restrictions, DUI checkpoints announced in wake of 49ers-Raiders game [Niner Insider]
Booze crackdown coming to 49ers games as annual Raiders grudge matches canceled [Mercury News]
49ers players say game with Raiders not worth danger to fans [Mercury News]