Baseball as Life Strikes Again

Pecan-Park-Eagle-W - 1_edited-1

If you read the comment codicils of clarification to MLB Rule 3:16 on fan interference (see last night’s game time post in The Pecan Park Eagle entitled fan interference call revisited  ~ you will see that its necessary appended language addresses the issue as to where the ball-pursuing fielder’s total right to have exclusive contact with the ball ends, and another region begins.

The fielder’s ball pursuit rights are total on the field of play, but, “No interference (call) shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He (the fielder) does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.”

The facts contained in last night’s play by Betts on Altuve’s stolen homer speak loudly and clearly in support of the fact that any contact between the Red Sox fielder and the hands, gloves and arms of the fans occurred a conservative 2 to 3 feet inside the stands from the yellow rail line that makes any ball that either hits or passes over it a HR at that exact moment in time ~ no matter where it then goes from the percussive consequences of contact between people and objects on the seating interior side of the yellow line.

The best video is even more convincing, if possible, of the fact that Betts is reaching over the line and into the stands in his attempt to catch the ball. He was definitely in that “at his own risk” region. It was never a case of him looking up to catch a descending fly ball when, suddenly, crazed fans reached over the line and knocked the ball from his grasp. See the photo again below and please also read the script beneath it that we also included last night:

“No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.”
Note the man on the left. His left hand is holding the yellow rail that marks the spot where the field of play ends and the stands begin. Then not eth deeper stands site to where the ball is landing. The NY “out” call should’ve been a HR for Altuve.

If you read some of the other direct reports from Astros players and their reactions to the call, they boil down to a state of outrage ~ and worse, in my opinion. It was outrage over an unjust deficit that fueled their emotional state from the first inning forward ~ and certainly not a state of mind they needed in the crucial game that Game Four turned out to be. ~ And all because some anonymous joker(s) in the NY replay review crew either lacked an understanding of the rule or the guts to enforce it accordingly.

I liked Gary Sheffield’s comments as a member of the TV pre and post game broadcast crew. To paraphrase here, Sheffield put it this way: “Why aren’t we given the names of these people in the replay booth. The field umpires have been taking responsibility and blame for their calls on the field forever. Why are we allowing these people in the replay decisions to get away with sloughing off explanations or revealing who the are?”

Sheffield didn’t say the following, but he had to have been thinking something like it. ~ Why was someone who either did not look closely at the visual evidence logically ~ and/or else ~ did not understand the importance of how the rule changes once it goes beyond a railing in this kind of case?

Oh, well! ~ Baseball as Life strikes again!

How often in life do we get to experience the sting of disappointment and unfairness ~ and still find the energy to pick ourselves up and keep moving in the right direction ~ in spite of our frustration and disappointment?

Well, here we are again, Astros fans ~ at the same baseball street corner we mostly all visited together last as Astros fans, for sure, in 1979, 1980, 1986, 1998, 2004, 2005, and 2016.

In spite of my emphatic call of yesterday that Game Four was to be a “must-win” situation for the Astros, I will now take Game Five with Mr. Verlander on the mound as our connection to the hope that miracles still happen. After all, the Red Sox just won three in a row over the Astros. ~ Let’s get behind Justin for a big win in Game Five ~ and hope the baseball gods will then aid Cole and Keuchel to pitch us to cool and calm victories in Games Six and Seven at Fenway Park this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Let’s get it now, people! ~ Some of us don’t have another 25 to 30 years to wait for a second Houston Astros World Series ring.

Go Astros! ~ Take Game Four!



Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle


4 Responses to “Baseball as Life Strikes Again”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    I agree that the call was botched, but more frustrating was watching the Red Sox batters working the count and laying off pitches low in the zone, while Astros batters were swinging at balls out of the zone or in the dirt.

  2. Rick B. Says:

    As frustrating/irritating as that call might be, it won’t be the central reason that the Astros lose this series (if that happens & it now looks likely) any more than Bill Buckner’s error in 1986 WS Game 6 cost the Red Sox that title or Steve Bartman’s attempt at a foul ball in Game 6 cost the Cubs the 2003 NLCS.

    In a 5-game series, a lesser team can prevail by taking a game unexpectedly and perhaps gaining some momentum, but I believe that the better team wins in 7-game series the vast majority of the time (the Pirates’ victory over the Yankees in the 1960 WS is the only exception that comes to mind in which the lesser team prevailed over the full seven games).

    If the Astros lose the ALCS, it’s because the Red Sox were the better team. I must say that I’m happier these days to be able to complain about poor calls in an ALCS game than to be trying to console myself over another 100+ loss season like we were a mere half-decade ago. I didn’t like the idea of tanking or the three consecutive 100-loss seasons, but I must confess the Luhnow & Co. have built a team that should contend for years to come.

    • Tom Hunter Says:

      I agree, Rick. I just hope Verlander can get a win today, so we don’t have to witness the embarrassment of watching Boston win the American League pennant on our home field and soak the visitors locker room with champagne.

  3. bobcopus Says:

    I went ot the game last night (10/18/18). I sat in row 6 of section 110, just at the end of the boston dugout. Joe West was the left field umpire. The fans let him have it all night long.

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