Alcohol sales banned by Jays

Updated: April 7, 2009, 9:10 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TORONTO -- It was just a coincidence that beer and alcohol sales were banned for Tuesday night's Blue Jays game one night after unruly fans littered the field with baseballs and debris. But some players appreciated the timing.

The Blue Jays' 12-5 win over the Tigers on Monday was delayed nine minutes in the eighth inning when fans threw two baseballs in the direction of Detroit left fielder Josh Anderson and tossed a handful of paper planes and empty beer cups onto the field.

Anderson was pleased to hear alcohol would not be sold Tuesday.

"That's good," he said. "These people can't handle it."

The clubhouses were cleared of booze, too, because the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario suspended the liquor license at Rogers Centre for three dates because of past infractions. The dates had been established before Monday's game.

The panel cited five broken rules at baseball and football games and concerts dating to the Canadian Football League championship game in 2007. The stadium will also be dry on April 21 when Toronto plays Texas, and for a CFL game on Aug. 1.

Both affected baseball games fell on dates when the price of upper deck seats was cut to $4, a promotion called "Messin' With Recession." The ban covers everything from concessions, vendors and restaurants to the beer refrigerators in both locker rooms.

Signs posted Tuesday at stadium entrances listed five reasons for the license suspension: permitting drunkenness, permitting the use of narcotics, selling and serving to apparent minors, failure to request approved identification and permitting illegal liquor on the premises.

Mario Coutinho, vice president for stadium operations and security, said the three dry dates were jointly selected in talks between stadium staff and the alcohol commission.

"We proposed some dates that were suitable to their criteria," Coutinho said. "They came with 'X' number dates of suspension and we suggested some proposed dates based on the events that we've had in the past."

Fans who want to exchange their tickets for the affected dates will be allowed to, subject to availability.

Last season, the Blue Jays halted alcohol sales in the upper deck for three games in May and June after fans brawled in the stands, leading to almost 100 ejections.

On Tuesday, the team increased security by checking bags and patting down fans in a bid to stop alcohol from being smuggled into the stadium.

Tuesday's ban meant little to Tigers manager Jim Leyland.

"That has no bearing on me," Leyland said. "I don't drink beer, particularly not during the game."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE