During Game 4 of the American League Champion Series between the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox, a crucial play resulted in a controversial call. The Astro’s Jose Altuve hit a ball off Rick Porcello deep into right field. Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts jumped up to catch the ball, but a group of fans had the same idea…
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As Betts’s glove rose over the top of the wall, several eager fans got in his way. This resulted in a miss as the ball bounced off of his glove and back onto the field. Footage of the play, which can be seen below, clearly shows fan interference. This led umpire Joe West to call Altuve out, and there wasn’t enough evidence on the field to overturn the call. Finally, a replay review backed up his decision.
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There was an Astors player, George Springer, on base during the hit, but the team didn’t score that inning. Had the fan interference call gone differently, the Astors would’ve had two points they’d end up needing. While this happened relatively early in the game, it kept the Red Sox’ 2-0 lead and they would end up winning 8-6. According to the official rules, Rule 3.16 states, “If spectator interference clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire should declare the batter out.”
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Rule 6.01 (e) says, “No interference shall be allowed when a field reaches over a fence railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball.” AJ Hinch, the manager of the Astros, said of the call, “My argument was more about the fact that the ball was leaving the yard. The trajectory was there… I’m not sure Mookie makes that catch. He’s a great athlete. But how it’s an assumed out is unbelievable.”