Toronto police have released a photo of the person they believe is responsible for throwing a can of beer at Baltimore Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim during the seventh inning of Tuesday’s American League wild-card game.
Earlier Wednesday, police threatened that they would release the image unless the person came forward and turned themselves in.
Just after 6 p.m., they made good on the threat.
The Toronto Sun identified him as Ken Pagan, an employee of Postmedia – and formerly Sun Media, describing him as “an award-winning journalist and passionate baseball player.”
In a statement to CityNews, Postmedia confirmed that Pagan is an employee with the news organization and that they are “conducting an internal investigation but have reached no conclusions at this time.”
The Toronto Sun reports Pagan denies throwing the beer can, and says he was drinking from a plastic cup.
In response to the incident, the Blue Jays said they will be increasing security at homes games and banning the person responsible from Rogers Centre.
“The safety of our fans, staff, players and visiting teams is paramount,” the Jays said in a release Wednesday. “We’re cooperating with the authorities to identify the individual involved, and the individual responsible is not welcome back to the stadium.
We will also enact heightened security measures and alcohol policies that will ensure the fan experience and safety of everybody involved.” (Full statement below)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred tells ESPN’s Jayson Stark that there will be changes to the alcohol policy when the Blue Jays return home to play the Texas Rangers this weekend.
“We’ve also talked to the Blue Jays about the policies with respect to the serving of alcohol,” said Manfred. “No cans, those sorts of things, to make sure that we have as positive an environment going forward as possible.”
Police told 680 NEWS the fan had already left their seat when officers arrived at their row.
Insp. Chris Boddy said the person, who could be charged with public mischief, made a “very poor choice, [and] put the baseball player in danger.”
“Whoever this individual is has to be made responsible for [their] actions.”
With the score tied 2-2, pinch hitter Melvin Upton Jr. flied out to the track in left. Kim made the catch despite the can narrowly missing him as it came out of the stands behind the player.
Orioles centre-fielder Adam Jones gestured toward the seats, and manager Buck Showalter came out to register his displeasure with the umpires for several minutes.
“That is about as pathetic as it gets. You don’t do that. Yell, cuss or scream,” Jones said. “I hope they find the guy and press charges. … That’s not a part of baseball. Throw an octopus, throw hats.”
Jones, who said he heard racial slurs after the can was thrown, called the incident “pathetic.” Racial slurs were also hurled at Kim.
“I’ve heard that so much playing baseball,” he said. “I don’t really care anymore. Call me what you want … I get it. That’s fine.
“I’ve heard that so much playing baseball, call me what you want, I don’t care. You hear everything, we can hear everything, people cussing you, flipping you off, that’s fine, but to go out of character, put us in harm’s way … we’re here to play baseball, nothing more, nothing less and put us in harm’s way, that’s not part of the game, not part of any sport,” Jones said.
Several baseball fans took to Twitter to express their outrage, and distance themselves from what many called “inexcusable” behaviour.
“Go Jays!!! I hope the moron who threw the beer can is enjoying being the most pathetic person in Canada today,” tweeted one person.
“Tossing beer cans and yelling racial slurs is abhorrent in any instance. The vast majority of Jays/sports fans/Canadians aren’t like that, tweeted another.
“Any fan who resorts to dangerous actions like last night’s – in Toronto or elsewhere – will be subject to arrest by local authorities,” Major League Baseball said in a statement. “We ask all fans to alert stadium operations employees if they witness any form of unacceptable behaviour from fellow spectators. We are committed to providing a safe and fan-friendly atmosphere at all of our games.”
Showalter said it was fortunate no one was hurt in the incident.
“It’s tough when you have many people in the ballpark and one person does something that reflects poorly on all of them,” he said.
Kim, the target of the toss, said such an incident should never happen.
“It’s the first time for me and hopefully the last,” he said through an interpreter.
It’s not the first time, however, that rowdy behaviour from some Jays fans has caused a stir.
Blue Jays fans tossed bottles and debris on the field during Game 5 of last year’s AL Division Series against the Rangers, upset by the call that let Rougned Odor score from third after catcher Russell Martin’s throw back to the mound deflected off Shin Soo Choo’s bat. A baby was narrowly missed.
Following that episode, a decision was made to serve beer in plastic cups in the upper tier of the stadium for certain games.
A Blue Jays fan also threw a drink at Orioles outfielder Nate McLouth during a game at Rogers Centre in May 2013.
The Toronto Blue Jays would like to express our extreme disappointment for the incident that occurred during last night’s American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre involving an object being thrown onto the field of play.
Throughout this season, we have witnessed an incredible level of fan engagement, with a passionate and loyal fan base that extends across Canada. 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.
We would like to offer our sincere apologies and regrets to the entire Baltimore Orioles organization, its manager and players, as well as Major League Baseball for this embarrassing incident.
The safety of our fans, staff, players and visiting teams is paramount. We’re cooperating with the authorities to identify the individual involved, and the individual responsible is not welcome back to the stadium. We will also enact heightened security measures and alcohol policies that will ensure the fan experience and safety of everybody involved.
We hope the focus will remain on the exciting play on the field, and that our fans will express their passionate support for the Blue Jays while demonstrating a level of respect and responsibility that has made Rogers Centre one of the best atmospheres for families and fans of baseball.