Did Yankees Security Guards Eject Fans for Heckling in Toronto?
The New York Yankees may have found a new way to affirm their status as baseball's Evil Empire. According to a Blue Jays fan, guards employed by the Yankees had two Jays fans removed from Friday night's Yankees-Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre in Toronto after the fans heckled members of the Yankees' bullpen.
Blue Jays' fan and blogger Justin Jackson, 30, was one of the fans nearby. He said the Toronto crowd was doing what it normally does to visitors, especially the hated Yankees, when things became weird. After some verbal goading of the Yankees' bullpen by the Toronto crowd, Jackson said two men wearing Yankees jackets and ID badges walked into the section, jotted down a description of fans, left and returned with Toronto police who "violently" removed two of the men doing the jeering.
“It was disturbing to see representatives of another organization be the on-point security for that situation,” Jackson said. “(We were yelling) You know, the usual ‘Yankees Suck!’ type of stuff…I didn’t notice anything untoward that would cause them to be removed from the game that way.”
A Yankees spokesman confirmed the team travels with security guards. One of the guards, Mark Kafalas, alleged the Jays fans were also throwing peanuts. He denied ejecting anyone.
“Heckling is heckling; it’s baseball,” Kafalas said. “But when people start throwing things, it becomes dangerous.”
Jackson blogged about the incident and filed a formal complaint with the Blue Jays organization. While there is an obvious difference of opinion as to what happened on Friday, it is common for teams to travel with security, but unusual for them to hold any jurisdiction on the road. The Yankees have a right to protect their players and alert the home team's officials, but if the fans were tossed just for verbal heckling, it could create a much larger fan issue in MLB.