Almost a year after fans’ behavior led to a beer can ban in the upper decks of Toronto Blue Jays’ Rogers Centre for the remainder of the AL Championship Series, a new incident threatens to revive the ban.
During the seventh inning of the American League wild card game between the Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre, fans were outraged when one Blue Jays supporter hurled a beer can onto the field, narrowly missing Orioles’ outfielder Hyun Soo Kim as he went for a fly ball. The incident has gone viral on social media, with thousands of fans searching through footage of the game for the culprit. Toronto Major John Tory urges fans seated near the thrower in the left-field stand to turn him in.
The offense has elicited an embarrassed response from Blue Jays fans, some of whom have pooled their money to take out a boosted Facebook ad apologizing to Baltimore fans. The post states that the event “soured a win against worthy Divisional opponents.” André de Pape, a Blue Jays fan living in the US, told CBC that the ad cost $200 and has already reached 80,000 users.
Toronto detective Pat Alberga told Valley News that security cameras have helped identify a suspect. The man in the photo has since been identified to The Star as Ken Pagan, an employee of Postmedia. Pagan has confirmed that he is in the photo, but denies responsibility for the thrown beer can. According to Toronto police, the culprit will face charges for general mischief, stating, “investigators are strongly encouraging this man to seek legal advice and turn himself in to police.”
In their official statement to CSN, the team expressed their “extreme disappointment” and assured fans that the individual responsible will not be welcomed back to the stadium. Major League Baseball is calling for additional actions from the stadium, pushing for both the prosecution of the thrower and a complete ban of cans from Rogers Centre. The stadium has expressed its intent to heighten security and tighten alcohol policies for the safety of all involved.
“I don’t think there is another ballpark where beer is served in cans,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said. “We’ve worked really hard to make sure ... that alcohol is served and consumed in a responsible way in all of our ballparks. I think that one of the reasons last night attracted so much attention is it’s an unusual — rare may be a better word — event in one of our ballparks.”