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1 dead after storm blows down St. Louis beer tent after game

ST. LOUIS (AP) — High winds swept through a beer tent where 200 people gathered after a Cardinals game Saturday, killing one and seriously injuring five others. But the owner of the St. Louis bar that hosted the crowd said it was lightning – not wind – that killed the patron.

Seventeen were hospitalized and up to 100 people were treated at the scene after straight-line winds whipped through a large tent outside Kilroy’s Sports Bar, near Busch Stadium. The crowd was celebrating after the Cardinals had beaten Milwaukee 7-3, a game that ended about 80 minutes earlier.

Eddie Roth, director of the St. Louis Department of Public Safety, said winds of about 50 mph shattered aluminum poles that held up the tent, located south of the stadium. The force of the wind Saturday afternoon blew the tent onto an adjacent railroad bridge.

Both Roth and Deputy Fire Chief John Altmann said they could not confirm a cause of death for the man killed. Roth said the man appeared to be in his 50s. His name was not immediately released.

“It was crazy, scary,” said Annie Randall, whose family owns Kilroy’s. “We’re just so sorry this happened.”

Janece Friederich was in the parking lot at Kilroy’s when she saw dark clouds approaching. Before she could get out of the car and go into the bar, she saw the tent fly into the air.

“It looked like it just got ripped out because it ended up 100 feet in the air on top of the railroad tracks,” Friederich said.

Kilroy’s owner Art Randall described a short burst of a storm – perhaps five seconds, he said – with a massive wind that lifted the huge tent, threw it high into the air and sent the aluminum poles and most everything in the tent airborne.

When he heard the boom, he initially thought a train had derailed into the tent.

As the wind blew, a bolt of lightning crashed into the bar, Randall said. He said firefighters told him it was a lightning strike – not flying debris – that killed the man.

“At some point in that five seconds, we were getting lightning strikes, and apparently one of our customers got hit by lightning right in the middle of the dance floor,” Randall said.

The bar owner said he screamed for help and three customers ran over to administer CPR, but they couldn’t save the man.

Randall looked around “and saw 50 bodies scattered everywhere.” He described a scene in which barstools, pedestals and a 100-pound bass amplifier were flying through the air. The disc jockey working the party was struck by the amp and knocked unconscious, he said, and people were scurrying to help one another.

“My wife had people in the beer cooler – we had the beer cooler loaded with injuries,” Randall said. “It was a triage deal.”

Most of the injuries were minor – cuts, bruises, twisted ankles, Altmann said. He did not have details about those with serious injuries.

Several bars and restaurants in the area around Busch Stadium set up tents throughout the baseball season to handle overflow crowds – Cardinals games are typically sellouts, or close to it. In addition to the baseball game, about 20,000 fans were downtown Saturday for a St. Louis Blues hockey playoff game.

Building Commissioner Frank Oswald said Kilroy’s was granted a tent permit on April 11 and it passed inspection a couple of days later.

Oswald said the city requires tents to be able to withstand winds up to 90 mph, but he declined to speculate on whether Kilroy’s could face discipline.

Both Oswald and Altmann cautioned that patrons need to understand that a tent is not a safe place to be in bad weather. St. Louis had been under thunderstorm watches and warnings for some time prior to the incident at Kilroy’s.

“Tents are temporary structures,” Oswald said. “They are certainly not designed in any stretch of the imagination to handle weather like this.”

About two hours after the incident at Kilroy’s, tornado sirens blared throughout the city after a funnel cloud sighting. There were several reports of tree damage, power lines down and damage from hail that in some parts of the region reportedly was as big as tennis balls. By late evening, about 2,600 Ameren UE electrical customers were without power in the city.

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Update on CA Bill

Lawmakers Knock Down Plan For Stricter Rules On Stadium Violence
Call for new law follows NBC Bay Area investigation
By Tony Kovaleski, Liz Wagner and David Parades, Wednesday, Apr 18, 2012
Democratic assemblyman Mike Gatto plans to reintroduce a bill to stop the growing trend of fan violence at sporting events after the assembly Public Safety Committee shelved the bill this afternoon.

Earlier this year the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit exposed problems at sporting venues throughout California, and the issues caught the attention of state lawmakers. The proposed bill, AB 2464, calls for greater punishments for anyone caught committing violent acts at sporting events. It would create a ban list that would prevent these people from attending games in the future.

Today lawmakers heard from Manuel Austin Jr., the Los Gatos resident at the center of our investigation, who was a victim of fan violence at Candlestick Park late last year. His family went to the 49ers Steelers game on December 19, but Austin never saw the game. A verbal exchange lead to a pregame fight that left him with a concussion, four missing teeth and a black eye.

“The fans are not gladiators,” Austin said, “they should not be fighting in the stands. That’s not the venue, that’s not the place.”

Assemblyman Gatto wants a new law to punish the attackers, which would return a family culture to sports venues in the state.

“I know a lot of families who are just afraid to take their kids to a ballgame and that’s not the state I grew up in and that’s not the state I want to live in,” Gatto said. “The current system does not work. Right now someone gets into a fight at a game, chances are he goes into the drunk tank and then he’s let off with a slap on the wrist.”

Assemblyman Gatto’s proposal would require all teams to post signs encouraging fans to report incidents. It would also create a black list banning convicted violent offenders at sports venues from attending future sporting events.

“I hope something good can come out of this so we can go to games, athletic activity” Austin said. “We need to have a safe venue for people to go and experience athletic competition and enjoy it.”

Fan banned for Life

Baltimore’s ‘Batman’ speaks after Orioles ban him from Camden Yards for life
By Kevin Kaduk

The YouTube video of an underpants-clad Batman storming the field during the Baltimore Orioles’ opener last week has been viewed almost 200,000 times.

Now the joker behind the black bloomers — Mark Harvey, a 26-year-old from Severn, Md. — is speaking out. Just what compelled Harvey to put a dent into the O’s-Twins game last Friday?

As you might expect, his answer is as deep as Maggie Gyllenhaal’s acting in “The Dark Knight”:

“It was my birthday and I just love to make people laugh and get them going,” Harvey told WJZ. “So I was like what’s better not to do than to go on opening day and do it? So I went with it.”

The CBS affiliate in Baltimore has more from Harvey in this interview:
Despite a Camden Yards warning that says trespassers will be prosecuted, Harvey somehow escaped charges from the state attorney’s office after sitting in jail for 13 hours. (Perhaps it was just as amused as we were and decided to release him back into the night?)

The Orioles, however, say Harvey has been banned from the ballpark for life and they’ve pledged to throw the book at anyone who chooses to follow their own Bat Signal after a few too many Natty Bohs.

“I don’t recommend no one doing it,” Harvey said. “Trust me, they tackle you hard.”

We’ll soon see how really serious the O’s are about their pledge to seek prosecution as this boy wonder ran on the field during Tuesday’s game with the Yankees. At the very least it looked like he earned a serious scolding from Adam Jones.

New Law Proposed in CA for Major Sport Stadiums

California Bill Could Restrict Who Attends Sporting Events

By Jordan Kobritz

Don’t take me out to the ballgame. That could become the new refrain if a bill recently introduced in the California State Assembly is enacted into law.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, introduced Bill 2464, dubbed the “Improving Personal Safety at Stadiums Act,” which is designed to prohibit anyone who has been convicted of committing a violent crime in or around a Major League sporting event from attending similar events at stadiums and arenas around the state. Gatto says his bill was motivated by the vicious beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium on Opening Day 2011. Stow nearly died from the beating, spent several months in a coma and is currently undergoing treatment for his injuries. The Stow incident — along with multiple acts of violence which included a shooting at an Oakland Raiders-San Francisco 49ers preseason game at Candlestick Park last year — brought renewed attention to the issue of fan violence at sporting events.

Gatto says his goal is to make fans who attend sporting events feel safe again. “There are so many people out there who are just afraid to take their kids to a ballgame,” he said. The legislator believes that taking away the ability to attend sporting events would be a strong motivator for fans to behave in the stands. “You’re taking away from people what they like most,” said Gatto. However, the bill’s effectiveness in limiting fan violence at sports venues is questionable.

Gatto’s bill would authorize judges to place anyone convicted of a violent crime at a sporting event on a ban list for a period of up to five years for a first offense, up to 10 years for a second offense, and up to 25 years for a third offense. The bill targets those who have been convicted of committing violent felonies such as robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, or infliction of great bodily harm. It includes crimes committed inside or outside of a stadium, while watching the event, entering or leaving a stadium, or tailgating. Bill 2464 would also assess each Major League sports team in the state an annual fee of $10,000 to fund the ban list along with a program to reward individuals who provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of perpetrators of violent stadium-related crimes.

While the bill would only ban convicted felons, it should be noted that violators of the ban would be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum of one year in jail and/or a $10,000 fine.

The California bill may be the first of its kind in this country. However, similar measures designed to stem violence at soccer matches have been adopted in England and Italy. While those countries claim their legislation has reduced soccer related hooliganism, even if Gatto’s bill passes, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to enforce.

If the bill becomes law, the names and photos of fans who are convicted of committing violent crimes at Major League sporting events would be uploaded to the internet and distributed to sports venues, ticket offices and police departments throughout the state. Enforcement of the ban would fall to sports teams and stadiums, in addition to law enforcement. However, anyone on the ban list could easily purchase a ticket over the internet or obtain one from a third party.

With thousands of fans entering a stadium at once, it will be difficult for ticket takers or stadium security to react quickly enough to identify an individual on the list. Furthermore, the bill increases the potential liability of a team or venue if a convicted felon circumvents the ban and commits another crime in or around their sporting event. Anyone injured by someone on the ban list could argue that the team and/or stadium failed to fulfill their duty under the statute.

The bill only applies to those who have committed felonies at a sporting event. It does not apply to felons who commit crimes elsewhere, which suggests that not all violent criminals are equally dangerous to sports fans. It makes little sense to ban those who commit a felony at a sporting event from future entry to a sports venue while criminals who committed a violent crime elsewhere, say in a private residence, a bank or any other public place, are free to mingle with sports fans.

It should also be noted that Bill 2464 only applies to Major League sporting events and venues. Felons who commit violent crimes at Minor League and amateur sporting events aren’t covered by the proposal. Apparently, Gatto is unfamiliar with Timothy Lee Forbes, who was recently charged with assault and battery and felony mayhem for attacking the coach of a Catholic Youth Organization pre-teen basketball team that beat his son’s team. Nor would Gatto’s bill affect the likes of Shelly Miller, who faces felony battery charges for punching an assistant middle school basketball coach unconscious for making his daughter run extra laps after practice .

While those sporting events were amateur in nature, the violence which occurred was anything but.

Even absent Gatto’s bill, most judges currently have discretion in sentencing and can include a ban on attending sporting events for anyone who would be covered if the measure becomes law. However, that approach to ensuring the safety of sports fans wouldn’t provide Gatto with the free publicity that attended the introduction of his well-intentioned but difficult to enforce bill.

Jordan Kobritz is a former attorney, CPA, and Minor League Baseball team owner. He is an Associate Professor of Sport Management and Sport Law at Eastern New Mexico University, teaches the Business of Sports at the University of Wyoming, and is a contributing author to the Business of Sports Network. Jordan can be reached at

Volume 9, Issue 6 April 6, 2012 Sports Litigation Alert is a bi-monthly publication of Hackney Publications. Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.

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Fans burn couches, cars after Ky. beats Louisville

By BRUCE SCHREINER | Associated Press , 4/1/12
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Thousands of fans swarmed streets near the University of Kentucky campus, setting couches and a car on fire, after the Wildcats beat cross-state rival Louisville 69-61 in the Final Four.

The screaming, cheering fans took to the streets following the win Saturday evening in New Orleans. Many streets had already been blocked off around Kentucky’s Lexington campus to make way for the crowds, but sirens blared and police began shutting down more streets as the blazes broke out.

A spokeswoman for Lexington’s mayor, Susan Straub says police made fewer than 10 arrests. She says a few injuries have been reported, but says things have not gotten out of control.

In Louisville, disappointed Cardinals fans gathered on a closed street near campus and chanted “C-A-R-D-S” while waving school flags.

Shortly afterward, the crowd dispersed and the campus was quiet.

Screaming, chanting fans swarmed the streets around the campuses of the University of Louisville and cross-state rival Kentucky after the Wildcats beat the Cardinals 69-61 in the first game of the Final Four.

In Lexington, where police say some bars had opened at 9 a.m. EDT, throngs of jubilant Kentucky fans spilled out onto blocked-off streets after the victory. At stoplights, fans hanging out of their cars chanted “C-A-T-S” while police and firefighters watched from the sidelines.

Lexington police tweeted reports of a car and a couch on fire. Police reported at least a dozen couch fires in neighborhoods around campus last week after Kentucky’s win over Baylor.–spt.html

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