4-4-2016 6-55-46 PM

In the third inning of Monday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays Josh Thole hit what appeared to be a home run off of Drew Smyly, a home run that was put in doubt by the actions of a fan.

As the ball was about to clear the wall, a fan reached out and caught the ball. After catching the ball, the fan’s momentum continued downwards, making it appear to the naked eye that he had reached out and interfered with a ball that was not going to be a home run.

Smyly and Steven Souza quickly protested the ruling and the umpires initially ruled interference. However, this is 2016, and that means a replay and as the replayed showed, the ball clearly was going over the wall and the call was changed to a home run.

Taking off the homer-glasses and looking at this objectively, it sure looks like this was going to clear the wall pretty easily. Your best argument as a Rays fan is to say it is inconclusive. That being said, I am on record as hating the “inconclusive” nature of replay and I can’t be a hypocrite now. There is no reason why the umpire’s ruling on the field should supersede a half-dozen views in slow motion. If you are going to take the time to view the replay, use it and just make the best call based on what is seen.

In this case, the best call based on what was seen was a home run.

4-4-2016 7-13-49 PM

Anyways, during the delay as the umpires checked the replay, Souza stood in silence as he glared at the fan who in turn tried unsuccessfully to explain his actions.

The irony here is that it turns out the fan actually helped the Rays. He took a ball that was going to be a home run and actually convinced the umpires that it wasn’t going to clear the fence. It wasn’t until the replay that they overturned the call. So, if anything, Smyly and Souza should have been thanking the poor guy.

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11 Comments

  1. Nathan says:

    Maybe someone can clear up why he was escorted from the game after the ruling. The TV broadcast showed security leading him out. But if it was a homerun, why would he be led out. He didn't interfere with the play on the field.

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    • angry buddha says:

      I had the same thought... if home run, then no interference, ergo he doesn't need to leave. I've got to believe that they let him come back to his seat, but the broadcast didn't show it...

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    • OriginalTom says:

      Once the fan reaches over the railing and contacts the baseball it is interference. The fact that it would have been a home run anyway does not change the interference call.

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      • angry buddha says:

        Update: Topkin reports that the fan was relocated, but not ejected.

        Tom: That rule doesn't seem right. If the ball wasn't playable, then the fan couldn't have interfered with anything. In this case, the ball was a home run (or - at least - was called a home run) & Souza had no chance of stealing it.

        As such, there's no interference, even if the fan reaches across the railing.

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  2. Dave L says:

    I guess i'm a hopeless homer because I didn't see that the ball was clearly going to pass over the yellow rail by its own accord if the ignorant fan allowed it to come to him.

    Seeing he made initial contact 6 to 12 inches above the rail the trajectory of the force of the ball should have taken his glove to the rail at best but clearly not in the field of play.

    I have sat in those seats. If the ball is going to clear the rail you dont have to lunge for it. You just have to stand and make a basket catch. A grown man would not have to extend his elbow fully from his body. Leaning forward it should have sent him backward if he were 100% out of bounds when the ball hit his glove

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  3. woodrow744 says:

    I love it - the analysis of the Zapruder film has nothing on us. That dude on the
    right even sticks his tongue out at Souza! You know how some nights you wear out the remote, switching between games? I did that - between that game and SEC Softball. I found myself enjoying top quality pitching and defense......and then occasionally checked to see what was going on at the Rays game.

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  4. Portsomerdale says:

    Looked like Smyly took their bottom order lightly. Haven't seen a whole lot of fire or intensity from the Rays. Kiermaier being the exception.

    I hope they can show something exciting tonight. I mean come on!!! Can we make the other pitcher break a sweat! Last night the tying run is on and we are wiffing at the third pitch. Can a few of these hitters step up and break the mold of the Rays being a complete lineup of EASY OUTS?

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  5. Jack Airey says:

    These two Ray's fans remind me of the film Dumb & Dumber.

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  6. AndySue says:

    I was AT THE GAME, seated where I had a real good view of this guy. He definitely LEANED OVER the rail to catch the ball. The play should have been called a Double, and the guy should have been "relocated" - to the parking lot.

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  7. Jeremy says:

    These gentleman were NOT escorted to other seats in fact the security officers of the stadium THREATENED them with being arrested for trespassing. The way that the staff handled themselves was completely inappropriate. Once the ruling was made that the ball was considered a home run the security officer said I quote " That was your saving grace", when asked what he meant by that he said " I was about to escort you up to the managers office and have you arrested for trespassing.

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  8. AndySue says:

    Hallelujah, Jeremy! Great to know that this kind of stuff won't be tolerated, really. Yeah, it's only one play in one game - but it was a big one, and it changed the momentum of the game...

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