With the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles tied at two in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s wild-card game, Melvin Upton Jr. hit a routine fly ball to left field. Just as Orioles left-fielder Hyun Soo Kim was about to make the catch, a fan in the first level of left-field seats threw a half-full (at least) beer can in Kim’s direction, narrowly missing the outfielder.
Long after the game was won by the Jays in extra innings — sending them off to Texas to start a playoff series against the Rangers — more mannered baseball fans were expressing outrage and amateur sleuths were dissecting photos and video of the crowd.
On social media, the incident drew comments from hundreds of people, including author Stephen King, who mused “Hey, whatever happened to polite Canadians?”
The Toronto Blue Jays have formally apologized to the Baltimore Orioles after a fan threw a beer can on the field at Kim. In a statement released Wednesday, the Blue Jays expressed “extreme disappointment” for the incident during the American League wild card game at Rogers Centre. The team offered “sincere apologies” to the Orioles, its managers and players, and Major League Baseball.
“Throughout this season, we have witnessed an incredible level of fan engagement, with a passionate and loyal fan base that extends across Canada,” the statement reads. “On the heels of one of the most competitive and exhilarating baseball games in our club’s history, it is extremely unfortunate that the irresponsible actions of one individual would detract from the game on the field, and tarnish an otherwise memorable night.”
Now, there’s no way the Jays can control what their fans may or may not do. Realistically, it’s something that can happen at any ballpark, and the actions of one person can reflect poorly on the entire stadium. But I’m hoping that the rest of the Jays’ post-season is about their play on the field rather than things being thrown onto it. With the Jays as Canada’s team, we have plenty to be excited about and that can happen in classic polite Canadian fashion.