Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays may have the most reviled fan base in the major leagues at the moment. I was going to add “rightly or wrongly” to that statement, but after last night it’s awfully hard to argue that anybody could be wrong for saying so.
In the wake the frustration over a piece of human garbage throwing a beer can that nearly hit Hyun Soo Kim in the head as he fielded a fly ball, I noticed at least a couple fans rushing to insist that the actions of this one utter fucking moron shouldn’t tarnish all 50,000 people who were there, or the millions who follow the team in this country. There are always going to be a few bad apples in such a giant group, they admonished. And they’re not wrong. Unfortunately, I think this is too much of a convenient simplification.
We’re now seeing compelling video evidence of who the as-yet-anonymous beer-thrower might be, and a separate photo that shows several disgusted fans looking at a sheepish man who seems to be identified as the culprit in the clip. I don’t know what happened up there, so I can’t be too definitive about anything here, but it sure looks to me like these people knew exactly who had done it. And yet this morning the Sun was offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to a charge, the mayor was talking about him as an unidentified “loon ball,” and the internet was going over video footage like it was the Zapruder film trying to piece together where the can had come from.
And we wonder why shitstains think they can get away with this? Why others still think they can — and do — get away with hurling racial slurs at Kim and Adam Jones? Why garbage was able to rain down from the stands in the seventh inning of Game Five in last year’s ALDS?
By no means am I putting the innocent fans at Rogers Centre on equal footing with the squids who do things like this, but let’s not be so quick to give the culture a pass — and that’s a culture we all share in.
Shit like the thrown can is straight-up dangerous. Shit like the racial slurs is disgusting and hurtful. But even if you’re fucked in the head enough to not be moved to action in the face of that — if you can only think about these things through the prism of your own self interest — you’re still missing the fact that this *will* become your problem if the team and the league ever get serious enough to try to do something about it. Do we not remember the booze bans in the 500s because of all the bro-morons fighting on Toonie Tuesdays? Are we not aware that giving the club no choice but to pour every single beer sold into plastic cups will grind beer lines to a halt?
Those are, of course, terrible reasons to not do or tolerate hateful, dangerous shit. But perhaps we need a reminder. Perhaps the league should consider going the route that they do in soccer when crowd trouble becomes too much and threaten that more incidents will result in the Jays being forced to play a game behind closed doors.
I’m not asking for that to happen, but if all the good Jays fans — who obviously comprise the vast, vast majority — can’t seem to do anything to root out the repellent shit-heads among them, uh… maybe it should?
I don’t know. Maybe people did identify the thrower to police and security, or legitimately weren’t looking and could only offer their best inference. And I’m certainly not opposed to the atmosphere that’s been created at the Rogers Centre over these last two seasons — the loud, raucous crowd with a hint of menace. But only as long as it doesn’t cross the line. And I don’t think that’s a line that’s difficult for anybody to see.
“Yell, cuss, scream we suck, we’re sacks of shit. We know, we’re horrible. We get it,” said Adam Jones to reporters, such as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, following the game last night. “We’re the opponent. We completely understand that, but to throw something at a player, that’s just as pathetic as it gets.”
Hear, hear. And the thing is, we all know that. So then why did it happen? Why did someone feel he could get away with it? Why are opposing players saying they’re hearing racial slurs from the stands?
Those are questions we ought to, at the very least, be asking ourselves.