October 24, 2007

Stay cool, Boston

There's a name that hasn't come up much this week, and for that, we should all be thankful.

The name: Victoria E. Snelgrove.

Snelgrove, you may remember, was killed following the Boston Red Sox' historic comeback in the 2004 American League championship series. In the aftermath of the win, thousands gathered outside Fenway in what became a near-riot. Boston police eventually shot pepper-pellets into the crowd, and Snelgrove, 21, was hit in the left eye. She died hours later.

At the time, people in Massachusetts could not turn on the television without seeing the photograph of a smiling Snelgrove. She was mourned as a victim in an incident that fell on a portion of the crowd for losing their minds and the police for failing to prepare adequately for a possible riot. In the aftermath, none of the officers involved faced charges, but several were suspended or demoted, according to this article.

It is this backdrop -- along with a history of sports-related riots or near-riots on college campuses all over New England -- that police, fans and elected officials were facing as the Red Sox again rallied to win an ALCS last weekend, winning three straight games. Just about everyone knew what the stakes were.

And then amazingly, peace was maintained.

In Boston, 26 people were arrested for disturbing the peace and other similar charges, but nothing major happened -- to the point where a judge assigned a five-page essay as punishment for many of them.

At the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, another hot-spot for sports-related trouble in the last few years, no arrests were reported -- a far cry from a night of vandalism and violence I remember witnessing as a student reporter in 2003 and 2004.

Obviously, the peace can't be attributed to anyone source. Police did their job, fans and students maintained sanity and public officials voiced loudly and proactively that there would be consequences if there were repeat performances.

Still, with things remaining quiet, someone oughta say, "Nice job, folks. Way to stay cool."

So, here it is: Nice job, folks. Way to stay cool.

It's the least we can do to honor Victoria's memory, no?

Dan Lamothe writes about the Boston Red Sox year-round on his blog, Red Sox Monster.

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