Beer can tosser pleads guilty

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - PETER CAMERON

TORONTO — A man who tossed a beer can onto the field dur­ing a dra­matic Blue Jays playoff game last fall has pleaded guilty to mis­chief in con­nec­tion with the in­ci­dent.

In an agreed state­ment of facts pre­sented in court on Tues­day, Ken Pa­gan ad­mit­ted toss­ing a can of beer on the field as a Bal­ti­more Ori­oles player was about to catch a fly ball dur­ing sev­enth in­ning of the piv­otal wild card game in Toronto.

The can thrown from the stands at the Oct. 4 game just missed out­fielder Hyun Soo Kim as he made the catch.

“The can of beer nar­rowly missed the player and nearly in­ter­fered with the play,” the state­ment said. “It caused a sig­nif­i­cant dis­rup­tion in the game and cre­ated con­cerns for player safety.”

The state­ment gave no in­di­ca­tion as to why Pa­gan threw the can.

Pa­gan pleaded guilty to mis­chief un­der $5,000 and is to re­turn to court on June 28.

Af­ter the beer can toss, po­lice and sta­dium se­cu­rity im­me­di­ately con­verged on the stands in an ef­fort to lo­cate the per­son who threw the can, but were un­able to iden­tify a sus­pect.

The in­ci­dent trig­gered a so­cial me­dia frenzy as many an­a­lysed pho­to­graphs and video footage from the game to fig­ure out where the can had come from.

Af­ter re­view­ing video sur­veil­lance, tele­vi­sion footage of the event, as well as video and pho­to­graphs taken by the pub­lic, Toronto po­lice re­leased an im­age of a sus­pect they de­scribed as an “un­sports­man­like fan.”

Toronto po­lice Const. Craig Bris­ter said af­ter the re­lease of the sus­pect photo that se­cu­rity video from the sta­dium played a key role in the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Rogers Cen­tre has a fan­tas­tic se­cu­rity cam­era sys­tem,” Bris­ter said, adding po­lice were con­fi­dent they had iden­ti­fied the right in­di­vid­ual.

Pa­gan con­firmed to The Cana­dian Press at the time that he was the per­son in the pic­ture dis­trib­uted by au­thor­i­ties and turned him­self in on Oct. 6.

Pa­gan was an em­ployee at Postmedia Net­work Inc. in Hamil­ton, and an on­line pro­file listed him as a sports copy edi­tor, but a Postmedia spokesper­son said af­ter Pa­gan was charged that he had left the com­pany.

The tall­boy toss also had reper­cus­sions for beer drinkers at Rogers Cen­tre, as the Jays an­nounced they would no longer serve beer in cans for the rest of the post-sea­son.

The pol­icy change, which saw beer served only in plas­tic cups, went into ef­fect be­fore Game 3 of ALDS against Texas on Oct. 9.

Pa­gan’s de­fence lawyer Tyler Smith said Tues­day in an email that a pre-sen­tence re­port has been or­dered for his client’s next ap­pear­ance in court.

PHO­TOS BY FRANK GUNN, THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

In a one-minute se­ries of pho­tos of the Oct. 4 playoff game, Ken Pa­gan is seen in the cen­tre in the top two pho­tos and was iden­ti­fied as the tall-boy toss­ing sus­pect. The mid­dle photo, taken five sec­onds af­ter the first photo, shows him hold­ing a drink to his mouth. The bot­tom photo, taken 46 sec­onds af­ter the mid­dle pic­ture, shows the seat where Pa­gan quickly va­cated.

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