Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Coach to host concert for Bryan Stow
SAN FRANCISCO -- Fan Bryan Stow stayed on the minds of the Giants all season as he fought for his life after being brutally beaten outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.
Tim Flannery wants to make sure everybody keeps supporting Stow's challenging recovery throughout the winter and beyond. San Francisco's third base coach and offseason musician and songwriter will bring his bluegrass band, the Lunatic Fringe, to Yoshi's jazz club in San Francisco on Wednesday night for a concert to benefit Stow. Flannery's group also will release its 10th album in 15 years -- "The Restless Kind" -- that night and give all the money from sales to a fund established for Stow.
The 42-year-old Santa Cruz paramedic and father of two is back in the Bay Area after months spent at a Los Angeles hospital in a medically-induced coma. Stow suffered serious brain injuries during the attack. He was recently moved from San Francisco General Hospital to a rehabilitation center.
"It's been pretty amazing," Flannery said of the positive response he has received since Yoshi's brought up the idea late in the season. "Jason Olaine of Yoshi's contacted me and he wanted to keep Bryan Stow in the forefront during the offseason, when everybody goes home for a while, keep the light on him. It's something we can do to help. It affected everybody in different ways and on different levels. It affected me being a father, being a son. In the blink of an eye things can change."
While the Stow family said in an email that they will be unable to attend, Flannery believes Wednesday's sold-out show also will allow others to heal from Stow's ordeal.
Home run king Barry Bonds has contributed to a college fund for Stow's children, who were regulars along with other family members at AT&T Park this season -- the slugger sat with them on occasion. In April, Giants ace Tim Lincecum gave $25,000 to the Bryan Stow Fund to help with medical bills and other expenses.
The Giants also raised approximately $70,000 for the Stow fund, partnering with his employer, American Medical Response, to gather donations at AT&T Park before the start of a series with the rival Dodgers in April. The total included a $10,000 donation from the team.
In a rare scene before that April 11 game, a player from each team addressed fans before the first pitch. Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt and Dodgers second baseman Jamey Carroll came together for a joint message: This rivalry must stay on the field, without violence and hatred.
The teams gathered on the pitcher's mound to make clear there should be no further acts of violence in this long-standing rivalry.
Affeldt, outgoing owner Bill Neukom, team president Larry Baer and others have visited Stow to show their support. Stow, whose progress is posted by the family on www.support4bryanstow.com, last week wrote his name for the first time since the March 31 beating.
Flannery -- who sings and plays guitar -- figures the attack on Stow strikes a nerve with many fans, or any wives whose husbands take a weekend road trip with friends to see their favorite team as Stow did. In this case, it was the 2010 World Series champions' first game after capturing the city's first title since moving West in 1958.
"Here's a working family man from Santa Cruz who said to his wife, 'Can I go to L.A. with my buddies?' and everything changed. That's the thing that just buckles me," Flannery said. "It was a hate crime, I don't see it any other way. That's the only way you can beat it, by saying, 'We're not tolerating it.' "
Flannery typically keeps his music separate from his job as a baseball man, but this is an exception and an "honor" for him to combine his two lifelong passions.
"It's so easy after a tragedy to be there for him or for anybody those first couple months, but if you can continually show your support you can fill up the void that was taken away. There are moments he'll never get back with his children and moments he'll never get back from his wife. In our clubhouse he was on our minds."
Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood have been charged in the attack, which police describe as the culmination of a string of confrontations they had with randomly-selected Giants fans at the stadium during the Dodgers' home opener.
Sanchez and Norwood both have pleaded not guilty to mayhem, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury, and battery with serious bodily injury in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
"It hurt everybody," Flannery said. "It's also a chance for me to heal a little bit, let others heal a little bit. All the love and energy that has come from this -- somebody telling a friend and somebody telling another friend -- this sold out before we even started promoting it. The Bryan Stow incident affected all of us and it's our way of supporting but also saying that it was a hate crime and we're going to love harder and it's not going to stop."