Horrific brawl during Padres-Giants game at Petco Park highlights need for change

This can't keep happening.

San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants v San Diego Padres / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Whenever a large group of people get together for a San Diego Padres game -- or any game in any sport for that matter -- there's a chance that things can get a bit rowdy and contentious.

You have opposing fan bases in one enclosed space and some of them simply do not know how to behave in public. Once you add alcohol and competition to the mix, you have a recipe for fights to break out. As a result, people can and do get hurt.

Such was the case over the weekend when the Padres faced the Giants, as there was a full-on brawl on Saturday that cast a shadow on what was otherwise a delightful weekend full of baseball.

Padres-Giants fan brawl highlights need to improve fan safety

Violence at baseball games is not a new phenomenon. One of the more notorious examples was the case of Giants fan Brian Stow nearly getting beaten to death at a Dodgers game back in 2011 that sparked a national conversation about fan safety at sporting events.

Even now, there is debate as to what can and should be done to keep fights from breaking out at games, although there has been only incremental progress towards actual solutions thus far.

There are just some fundamental truths that the game of baseball is going to have to deal with here. One is that some people are just going to be problems regardless of what security measures are in place. But prioritizing quick security responses to incidents has to be a priority. Two, there is almost no chance that alcohol isn't going to be served at games (money is still king, after all), so having tough protocols in place to deal with unruly drunks at games is a must.

One hopes that incidents like these can be a learning moment for everyone. While it is unclear if anyone was seriously hurt over the weekend, the more frequently this happens, the more in danger we are of witnessing another Stow incident.

If that means MLB needs to set higher standards for the number of security personnel a team has on staff during games, or perhaps even limit the amount of alcohol a fan can be served, so be it.

This is happening on Opening Day weekend? When there's no tension? When every team has a clean slate? Come on.

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