MLB urges can ban in Toronto park
Tuesday incident prompts apologies from Blue Jays fans
Major League Baseball has called for banning cans at Rogers Centre in Toronto after someone threw a full can of beer onto the turf on Tuesday night, barely missing the head of unsuspecting Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim.
The incident prompted apologies from Canadians and a statement of “extreme disappointment” from the Blue Jays, pleas from police for the culprit to come forward and anger from Orioles players and fans in the hours after the Orioles’ 5-2 extra-inning loss in the wild-card game.
Toronto police said Wednesday on Twitter that they were asking the person who threw the beer can at Kim as he tried to field a fly ball in Tuesday’s game to turn himself in. In the tweet, police said they’re investigating the “unsportsmanlike fan,” saying they have photographs and asking the fan to “turn yourself in.” Some reports late Wednesday identified a man as the suspect police were looking for, but no charges were filed and police said they were continuing their investigation.
Kim was in left field, on the warning track before the wall, and lined up underneath a fly ball from Melvin Upton Jr., when the projectile landed at his feet, nearly hitting his head. Kim caught the ball for the third out of the seventh inning. An enhanced image of the can revealed it was silver and blue with a Blue Jays logo.
Center fielder Adam Jones ran over, shouting up at the fans in the sections above the outfield wall.
“That’s a full beer that’s being thrown, and that’s just not part of the sport, man,” Jones said after the game. “Like I said, call us what you want ... to put us in harm’s way, man, all we’re trying to do is focus on the game and that’s not part of baseball.”
Manager Buck Showalter ran out of the dugout to see whether Kim was OK.
“I don’t like it. Nobody likes it. I’m sure the Toronto Blue Jays don’t like it,” Showalter said.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether a fan was ejected.
Emails to The Baltimore Sun newsroom on Wednesday morning from people identifying themselves as Blue Jays fans or Canadian residents expressed apologies to the Orioles and their fans.
One wrote: “Out of 50,000 fans it only took one to ruin the mood and enjoyment of this great game. No player should have to be concerned with objects being thrown at them while engaged in playing any sport. This was a no-class gesture and it reflects badly on an otherwise great city with passionate fans.”
The Toronto Sun offered a $1,000 reward for “information that leads to the arrest of the witless” fan.
The Toronto paper referred to the thrower as “a beer-tossing boob.”
“We’d be very interested in talking to anyone who can identify the ‘loon ball,’ as our mayor suggests, who chucked a beer can onto the ball field and gave our city a nasty black eye,” said The Sun’s editorial vice president, James Wallace.
Later in the day, a photo was released of a dark-haired man in a Blue Jays shirt and a jacket.
There’s also a GoFundMe campaign under way to offer a reward for anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest, with a $1,010 goal.
“We are working very hard to locate the individual involved,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told the Associated Press.
“I think from a deterrent perspective, it’s important to follow up and make sure that he’s prosecuted to the extent available.”
Manfred is also leading the move to ban cans from Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays said they will “enact heightened security measures and alcohol policies that will ensure ... safety.”
“I don’t think there is another ballpark where beer is served in cans,” 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.” Orioles outfielders Hyun Soo Kim, left, and Adam Jones look toward the seats after a beer can was thrown at Kim. twitter.com/SeanJWelsh