Alcohol banned in $2 Tuesday sections
Rowdiness on most recent promotion night prompts change
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays aren't going to tolerate any more fight nights at Rogers Centre. In the wake of this week's altercations between fans in the stands, and one on-field game interruption, the club has decided to change its alcohol policy.
Alcohol will no longer be available for fans sitting in the sections affected by $2 Tuesdays, which is one of the club's more popular ticket promotions. That means the outfield seats on the 200 level and the entire 500 level will now consist of dry sections for home games on May 6, May 20 and June 10.
"A few can always ruin it for the majority," Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Godfrey said on Wednesday. "It's really unfortunate that some of them feel that this is a nightclub here. It's not a nightclub. It's a sport venue."
Godfrey and the Blue Jays decided that they'd had enough after what took place on Tuesday, when numerous fights broke out in the 500 level seats, which cost just $2 for the first of four games under the promotion. Roughly 100 fans were ejected from the game and there was at least one arrest.
During Toronto's home opener on Friday, there were also a handful of fights in the 500 level, and Godfrey said there were also nearly 100 people escorted out of the stadium. In the ninth inning on Friday, a pair of especially rowdy fans shed some clothing and created a game delay by sprinting onto the field.
There were roughly 21,000 more people in the seats on Friday, so the fact that Tuesday netted nearly the same volume of ejections was alarming. That convinced Godfrey that it was necessary to reduce the availability of alcohol and, if the issue persists, he's not against getting rid of $2 Tuesday altogether.
"If it continues to cause our fans who are interested in baseball a disturbance," Godfrey said, "then I'll seriously consider scrapping the $2 program entirely. It's unfortunate, because it's a good way to attract people, but we're not going to tolerate that type of activity at the ballpark."
Beyond cutting back on alcohol availability, Godfrey said fans can expect heightened security and more pat-downs as they enter the stadium. He noted that, aside from the fights, the Blue Jays have had to stop many fans from sneaking their own alcohol into the stadium.
"We stopped a lot of people [on Tuesday]," Godfrey said, "and even on Opening Night, from bringing hard liquor and their own beer into the ballpark. That won't be tolerated. People will be turned away."
Godfrey wasn't worried about any backlash from fans when it came to the rule changes.
"They don't have to come," said Godfrey, who was able to see the 500-level brawls from his private box at the ballpark. "That's why we're going to tell them in advance."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.