I guess now we know why the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario revoked the Rogers Centre's liquor licence for a couple of games this year. Some Toronto fans brought themselves into disrepute last night after causing a 10-minute delay in which Jim Leyland pulled his players off the field because of projectiles being thrown onto the surface. Stay classy, Toronto.
It's easy to scold these miscreants, but which is better: the lifeless suits who fill Air Canada Centre for every Leafs game, or the small group of Toronto FC agitators who got themselves pepper-spayed and tasered in Columbus*, or these yahoos who threw baseballs at Detroit Tigers outfielders? Fan passion is a needed ingredient to a healthy sports franchise (just ask Toronto FC), but some residents of society's underbelly mistake passion for drunken tomfoolery. The crowd I was a part of for the USA v. Canada game at Rogers Centre presented a much better example of desired fan behaviour; passionate support that never crossed the line (despite much alcohol being consumed on that festive day as well).
The incident occurred in the bottom of the eighth, and for a time I thought the story might end up being how Jays fans at the game refused to let their dire predictions for the season go unfulfilled, and snatch victory from the players by forfeiting the game through hooliganism. Thankfully calm was restored and the Jays were able to claim their first victory of the season on the strength of young bats inserted into this season's lineup.
It's a strange occurrence when Roy Halladay is not the story on a night that he's the starter. No; this night belonged to the Jays bats, namely Adam Lind (4-5, 6 RBI) and Travis Snider (2-4, HR, 2B), who pushed 12 runs across, including eight against an over-matched Justin Verlander. Every Jay got a hit last night. It was great to see Aaron Hill turn a double play again and Lyle Overbay bashing a double to the gap, great to see Vernon Wells and Alex Rios having good performances overshadowed. Let's hope this fight for the spotlight happens many more times this year.
For at least one day the Jays are ahead of the Yankees (snicker, snicker C.C. Sabathia), Red Sox and Devil Rays. Tonight, another youngster features for the Jays. David Purcey takes to the mound and we'll get to evaluate whether his hot Spring was as irrelevant as most Spring statistics. Here's hoping he can mesmerize the Tigers hitters and keep this good feeling going.
Viewing note: Sportsnet dropped the ball last night. The game was NOT available in HD in the Ottawa region. Viewers had to tune in to Sportsnet Pacific to watch the game because the Ottawa Senators were playing, but here's what's puzzling; the Senators game was in standard definition. It boggles the mind as to why Sportsnet would put the Sens game on their HD feed and their Jays telecast on standard def. Only once the Sens game ended did the HD channel carry the remainder of the Jays game. What a debacle. Oh, and Sportsnet - that "beautiful" camera view from the 5th deck? There's a reason those are the cheapest seats in the place - you can't see shit.
*For the record, I believe the incident in Columbus had more to do with badly trained police officers, but it does point to a disturbing trend for Toronto sports fans. You can also point to the incident at the FIFA Under World Cup involving the Chilean National team. Perhaps Toronto fans have been going to too many Bills games at Orchard park and this is learned behaviour.