Ryan Howard bottle thrower, a University of Delaware student, is identified, cited

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The incident occurred after Ryan Howard grounded out to end the June 4 game that the Phillies lost.

The great mystery of the Ryan Howard Bottle Toss has been solved, according to police.

Authorities announced Monday that Sidney Smith - a 21-year-old student at the University of Delaware - turned himself in to police last week and was cited for disorderly conduct for throwing an aluminum Bud Light Lime bottle toward the Phillies' struggling slugger on June 4 at Citizens Bank Park.

Howard had just grounded out to end a 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers when Smith hurled the beer toward him, police said. An image of a man authorities believe to be Smith has circulated widely online for more than a week. It shows a man darting from the front row in a gray Phillies jersey, blue Phillies cap, salmon-hued shorts, and boat shoes with socks.

Police did not say what prompted Smith to confess, and attempts Monday to reach the native of Wilmington were unsuccessful.

A university spokesman confirmed that Smith is a student there but declined to give details.

A Twitter profile that appeared to belong to Smith said that he hoped to graduate in 2017 from the university in Newark, and that he was on its roller hockey team and in the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Phi Kappa Sigma in 2014 was suspended from Delaware's campus until 2018 due to "hazing policy violations," according to the university's student publication, the Review.

Dennis Gabert, who witnessed the toss, said in an interview that the man who threw the bottle onto the field appeared to be sitting alone in the front row of Section 115 at the time.

Gabert, 22, said it seemed that the man had moved down to that row at the end of the game, because neither Gabert nor his cousin noticed him from their third-row seats in earlier innings.

Although the incident exploded onto talk radio and sports TV - mentioned in the same vein as Phillies fans throwing batteries at a Cardinals player in the 1990s, and other infamous incidents involving the city's boisterous fans - Gabert said that the bottle-thrower was quiet and bolted to avoid attracting further attention.

"He just chucked his beer and turned around and got out of there as fast as he could," he said.

A few people in the section seemed to witness the incident, Gabert said, but none stopped the man from leaving. Most eyes were glued to Howard, who started screaming toward the stands, Gabert said.

Gabert's cousin Bryan Curtis snapped the photo of the fan leaving and posted it online. Police and Phillies officials said they used it to help identify Smith.

Howard said afterward that the toss was "uncalled for" - a sentiment echoed wholeheartedly by Gabert.

"He's in a slump and not playing well," Gabert said. "But to throw a bottle at Ryan Howard is over the line."

cpalmer@phillynews.com

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