Nate McLouth nearly became the latest victim of a baseball fan’s misbehavior on Thursday. The Baltimore Orioles outfielder was nearly struck by a can of beer after making an incredible diving catch.
The incident took place during Baltimore’s Thursday night game against their AL East rival, the Toronto Blue Jays. During the 6th inning, Toronto batter Colby Rasmus laced a long fly ball down the left field line. McLouth raced to his right, managing to snag the ball just before he crashed over the Rogers Centre’s short left field fence.
Although several Blue Jays fans seemed to think that McLouth hadn’t made the catch, the 31-year-old outfielder emerged from stands with the ball, and was awarded the out. That’s when a rowdy Toronto fan attempted to get a measure of revenge.
The unidentified fan threw a can of beer at McLouth, nearly striking him in the back. Orioles manager Buck Showalter was outraged, racing out of the dugout and conferring with the umpires in an attempt to determine who had thrown the beer. Meanwhile, McLouth seemed more surprised than angry, calmly scanning the stands to see where the thrown beer had originated.
“It just kind of startled me for a second,” McLouth told the Baltimore Sun. “I’m not sure how close it landed. That’s just one person doing something they shouldn’t do. . . . I’m not sure what happened. Somebody threw a bottle of something.”
While The Star notes that the beer-throwing fan was ejected from the stadium, the incident could have had serious consequences on the game. NESN notes that the umpire crew chief has the power to call a game if he feels that the fans are creating an unsafe environment for the players.