As baseball moments go, it doesn’t get much better.
Extra innings in a do-or-die playoff game. A walk-off home run victory by a Toronto Blue Jays team that struggled to win games down the stretch. A jubilant home field crowd, cheering themselves silly.
But you almost ruined it. You and your pathetic display almost ruined it.
I refer, of course, to the fan sitting in an outfield section during Tuesday’s wild card game who tossed a beer can at Baltimore Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim in the seventh inning.
Making things worse, Orioles centre fielder Adam Jones said fans in the same section were yelling racial slurs.
For baseball fans, big moments endure. Stories of epic home runs are told again and again. They live in montages and memories.
But after Tuesday’s awfulness my memory of home run hero Edwin Encarnacion raising his arms in slow, triumphant victory will forever be attached to the shameful image of a booze can crashing down against the turf.
It should go without saying that Toronto is better than this. In the hours after the incident, the response from Torontonians was swift and universally negative.
Mayor John Tory repeatedly and creatively called the beer-thrower a “loon-ball.” Toronto Police immediately launched an investigation.
I urge the loon-ball to save us all some time. Come forward now and face the music.
But it’s worth spelling out that this is about more than just holding someone accountable for a singular mistake.
There’s a lot of pride tied up in being a fan of a game like baseball. You want to feel proud of your favourite team and you want to feel proud of the city that team represents.
Things like that tossed can of beer and the slurs that followed dampen that pride. They add asterisks to a feeling that ought to be absolute.
After Tuesday’s win, Toronto will see more playoff baseball games. I hope for victory and I hope for big moments.
Mostly, though, I hope to be proud of this team, its fans and our city without reservation or qualification. To hell with anyone who threatens that.
When Metro Toronto columnist Matt Elliott isn’t nerdily following budget debates at Toronto City Hall, he can generally be found nerdily following baseball. Yes, he loves the Blue Jays as much as the city itself.
This post was originally published at http://www.metronews.ca/views/opinion/2016/10/05/loon-ball-beer-thrower-needs-to-come-forward-and-fess-up.html on 2016-10-05T00:00:00.000Z