Barbarians within

Far be it from me to rain on the Blue Jays parade, but I’m about to. No one was more happy than I with last night’s come-from-behind win. It had to be the wildest game of all time. There have been other spectacular victories recently that also rank with the ages. And I speak as a fan who froze his butt off at Exhibition Stadium in the early years.

For all this time I’ve been part of one group or another that share a pair of season’s tickets so I go to the ball park for maybe a dozen games every year. Beginning in August, with the run-up to the league lead, there’s been a change. It started first on Friday nights when the regular game followed the gathering outside that featured a band and drinking, not necessarily in that order. As the crowds grew and the sellouts became regular, the whole tone of the Rogers Centre altered, and not for the better.

Many of the newcomers can only be described as “stupid fans.” They weren’t there to watch baseball so much as they were there to party and drink. Oh, they cheered and they waved the giveaway towels but it wasn’t as if they appreciated the finer points of the game. Beer seemed to be more promoted than before. If you wanted to buy beer, a vendor came down the aisle every few minutes. If you wanted popcorn, you’d wait, and you’d wait.

The result of beer served by firehose has been overly zealous and drunk patrons. I know people who’ve had tickets for years who stayed away because the revelry got out of hand. Last night’s “stupid fans” were not only an embarrassment as they threw beer cans and trash onto the field, they represented an endangerment. Some of the missiles didn’t make it all the way, they fell on other patrons. Don’t these people understand that the baseball diamond is hallowed ground, not to be sullied by such detritus?

Of course they don’t. They’re just along for the ride. They rest of us have to put up with them. Winning doesn’t offer the same joyful lift when you’re in bad company.

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