And A Fan Has A Hand In The Outcome Of The ALCS

Fan Interference With The MLB By now we have all looked at the play in super-duper slow motion a dozen times. We may have formed opinions – definitely interference...

Fan Interference With The MLB

By now we have all looked at the play in super-duper slow motion a dozen times. We may have formed opinions – definitely interference and an out, not interference and clearly a home run because the ball was in the stands – and we will never change the outcome of the game.

The Houston Astros had a two-run homer by Jose Altuve turned into an out due to fan interference with Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts on Wednesday night and the Red Sox went on to an 8-6 victory and a 3-1 lead in the American League Championship Series.

It was clear a fan put his hand on Betts’ glove and perhaps helped close it so that no catch could be made. It is less clear exactly where this occurred – fan interference does not apply when the ball has passed the fence – and Betts even made a comment about reaching “over,” apparently meaning the fence.

The call was made by the right-field umpire, Joe West, who hardly has a sterling reputation. A crew-chief review could not overturn his “out” call. And there is no further court of appeal.

“I looked at the replay and it’s tough. That’s the only thing I can say. It’s really hard,” Altuve said.

Fans will always reach for baseballs headed into their part of the stadium. We need no further reminders of Jeffrey Maier more than 20 years ago at Yankees Stadium or Steve Bartman in Chicago having a hand (so to speak) in playoff baseball.
This incident occurred in the first inning with the Astros down 2-0, so they’d have been tied. They still had eight more innings to make up the difference, but so many things change with a two-run deficit.

The argument will continue to rage on Thursday evening when Game 6 of this series commences at 8:09 p.m. ET on TBS.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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