Every village has an idiot. The crowd at game five was no different, and shortly after the Toronto Blue Jays found themselves on the wrong end of one bizarre call, the beer cans started to rain down onto the field.
American media outlets know that Canadians can tilt ever-so-slightly into the realm of madness when it comes to their sports. We’re not that far removed from the 2011 Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver where police cars were torched. Because, well, they lost a hockey game. Wednesday night’s debacle, led by a select group of fools that couldn’t handle the great impact of their third beer, has left a black eye on Blue Jays fans.
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Watching the fan reaction in that moment had the same feeling of watching a friend who you know has had just one too many drinks. Oh, no… Oh, stop, no no!–Don’t throw that! Blue Jays players took to the field to plead with fans to stop, and we were left with the image burned into our minds of two mothers shielding their infants in the lower bowl while half-empty cans fell around them.
It was a disgrace, and there’s no way around that. Many have taken a holier-than-thou approach to the incident, condemning Blue Jays fans from atop their morale throne, but that’s nonsensical to me. Everyone with two eyes, a brain and a pulse knows that Wednesday’s fan showing was embarrassing, and cannot happen again.
An article today from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports highlights the heart of the problem: what can the Jays, or MLB, really do? The video board message and public address announcer asking for the fans to cease throwing debris on to the field is a start, but what does that really accomplish? Rosenthal suggests threatening a forfeit by the home team, but short of a widespread fan brawl spilling into the field with weapons, would the MLB ever follow through on that? There’s got to me a middle ground.
Eliminating cans in favor of cups would be step one. The 500 level is filled with drunks on a Tuesday in May, let alone a playoff game, so the Blue Jays will need to be pro-active with their security and crowd control. We can’t bring in the military here, but people are paid to develop these strategies and address these issues. It’s easy for other markets to lump us together with the village idiots, so something needs to change.
One conversation that’s fascinating to consider, though, is how greatly that outburst impacted the game. Do the Texas Rangers make those simple errors without the long delay and huge outburst from the Rogers Centre crowd? That doesn’t justify a thing, but it’s enough to make one think.
Expect to see increased security when the ALCS comes back to Toronto next week, but in the end, this entire sideshow comes down to 100.0% of the fans in attendance following one simple guideline: Be a decent person. We’ll need to improve from the 99.9% showing on Wednesday.