In the hours leading up to the Thursday night matchup against the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly reminded his team's supporters that baseball was a game and nothing more.
Like many of his players, Mattingly woke up to news that a Dodgers fan was fatally stabbed near AT&T Park on Wednesday night.
"It's a game, you know?" Mattingly said. "Leave it on the field."
Less than 24 hours earlier, Jonathan Denver was stabbed to death just blocks from the ballpark in a run-in with another group with whom there was a "back-and-forth about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry," police said.
In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, the Dodgers said they were "shocked and saddened" to learn of Denver's death. They called him "the son of one of our security guards.”
“There is no rational explanation for this senseless act which resulted in Jonathan's death," the statement continued. "The pain that this has caused his family and friends is unimaginable. Words are not enough to describe our sadness. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this extremely difficult time.”
Both teams observed a moment of silence before the Dodgers' 3-2 defeat to the San Francisco Giants, which was decided on an eighth-inning solo home run by Angel Pagan.
Denver was wearing Dodgers apparel when he left the game early with his father, brother, his father's girlfriend and another friend to go to a bar a few blocks from AT&T Park.
While on 3rd Street, they encountered a group of people who were going to a club, authorities said. One of the men in the other group may have been wearing a Giants cap, police said, and there was some jawing between the groups over the rivalry.
The encounter became physical. It ended when Denver realized that he had been stabbed. He died a short time later at San Francisco General Hospital.
Michael Montgomery, of Lodi, will be charged in the slaying of Denver, 24, San Francisco police said Thursday.
The deadly encounter left fans on both sides baffled and saddened.
“Every time I go to a game, there’s always a friendly banter between fans,” said J Wheeless, a 34-year-old San Francisco chef. “I’ve personally never encountered any hatred… I think this is a bunch of meatheads and ignorant individuals.”
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