Skip to main content

Toronto has a drinking problem. What makes it worse is that it's also a baseball problem. Beer and the Blue Jays turn out to be a bad combination, at least in the post-season where Toronto fans are becoming notorious for their alcohol-fuelled idiocy.

In the seventh inning of Tuesday's taut wild-card game that the Jays would go on to win, Baltimore Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim faded back toward the wall, tracking a high fly ball. Just as he prepared to make the catch, a beer-can plummeted down from the seats – an attempt to distract that wasn't just dumb in the context of a do-or-die game but also dangerous.

Sports enthusiasm often shades into anti-social misbehaviour, much of it sadly tolerated in the up-close, highly partisan context of the packed stadium – such as the racial abuse directed at the Baltimore players when they complained about the tossed can.

Story continues below advertisement

The false courage provided by the anonymity of the crowd seems only to heighten the drunken fan's bravado. It would be better if Jays fans could self-police and call out the bad guys, but who pays top dollar for playoff tickets so that they can confront the mentality of the mob?

There's a history here that makes Tuesday's incident look much worse. A year ago, Rogers Centre fans showed their infantile dismay at an umpire's call by hurling beer cans from the stadium's top decks, blindly targeting fans and players below. It's incomprehensible that these projectiles continued to be made available. Why aren't all beers served in plastic cups only?

But the problem at the ballpark isn't just the mode in which beer is delivered. The intoxicant itself is the issue. Rogers Communications, the owners of the Blue Jays, have fostered a party atmosphere at their stadium. Baseball is generally a slow-paced, cerebral and potentially boring sport. Alcohol makes the game more engaging for some fans, transforming all that stats-counting into a group-bonding experience of high emotion and excessive fandom that you'll never forget – at least until the police come calling.

Wiser team owners would consider an alcohol ban at the ballpark. But this will never happen. There's too much profit in beer, and too much riding on its fan-boosting properties. Prepare for more bad moments in the post-season run.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter