TORONTO (AP) — The beer taps weren't turned off this time, but fans in the upper deck at Monday night's Toronto Blue Jays home opener found it harder than usual to get their hands on some suds.
With a sellout crowd of 50,000 expected at Rogers Centre for the game against Boston, the Blue Jays limited beer sales to one per customer, per trip — half the amount permitted at regular games. Concession stands elsewhere in the stadium were not affected.
Blue Jays spokesman Jay Stenhouse said the move to curtail beer sales in the cheap seats was a joint decision between the team, the stadium concession operator, and Toronto Police.
The Blue Jays have had trouble with crowd control before, particularly at home openers.
Fights have broken out on several occasions, and the 2009 game against Detroit had to be delayed when fans littered the field with debris, including a pair of baseballs tossed in the direction of Tigers outfielder Josh Anderson.
Beer sales were halted the following day, and at one other game that season, because of unrelated infractions of Ontario liquor control laws. In all, the stadium's license was suspended for three dates, including one Canadian Football Game, with beer even removed from stadium restaurants and clubhouse refrigerators.
Both dry dates in 2009 coincided with a promotion, since ended, called "Messin' With Recession," when upper-deck seats sold for $4.
In 2008, the 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.