On October 4, 2016, avid Blue Jays fan and regular guy Ken Pagen made a bonehead move that would follow him around like a nagging herpe sore.
Pagen, a 42-year-old Canadian journalist, chucked a tall boy can of beer at Orioles outfielder Hyun Soo Kim in the seventh inning of the 2016 AL wild-card game in Toronto, narrowly missing him. The video went viral, and the social media pile on hit him full steam. The Toronto Sun even offered a $1,000 reward to anyone who helped identify the culprit.
The soft spoken guy admitted to having “a few beers” with friends before the game and kept the drinking train going while in the stadium and cannot conjure up a reasonable motive for his actions–“impulse,” he calls it.
Pagen was temporarily banned from all MLB stadiums and required to carry out 100 hours of community service, but the collateral damage was by far and away the most damaging consequence.
Speaking with CBC,
Pagen claims he cannot watch a Blue Jays game anymore without feeling immense guilt and even experiences PTSD-like symptoms when he tries tuning into the Jays’ radio broadcast.
“When I hear that voice, I think of the disappointment I’ve brought to the organization,” Pagan said, about the moments he tries to listen to Jerry Howarth, the Blue Jays play-by-play man since 1981. “I was an idiot. I let a lot of people down. I’d rather not sit through nine innings of feeling like that.”
Overnight, Pagen went from being an award-winning journalist to unemployed. He picked up a part-time gig at a landscape supply yard, and then as a delivery boy for Domino’s pizza.
This July, Pagen appeared before a judge and his lawyer argued that the ridicule he’s faced for his mistake has been punishment enough. Pagen fought off his emotions to read a statement in court pleading for a break.
“My emotions got the best of me in an exciting moment and my reaction is a deeply regrettable mistake, something I’ve been torn about since the moment it happened,” Pagan said. “I am fully aware of the disgrace I brought to the game.”
Recently, the social media craze has died down and things have been looking up for Pagen, as he’s recently received a salaried with a recycling company. The 42-year-old has even been sinking his time into amateur baseball, lending a hand as a coach of the Burlington Bulls, an under-21 team.
As Pagen works to break free from the stench of widespread humiliation, his mission is to “[become] the person I was in the first 41 years of my life … because this is the person I am — not a drunk beer tosser brought down by Twitter.”
Note to self: Don’t make a stupid mistake in the social media age. The witches will be hunting and they won’t stop until you’re a Domino’s delivery guy.