The New York Yankees cruised to an 11–3 victory over the Oakland A's on Wednesday with a 4-run first inning. This was aided by a 3-run home run that probably should not have counted.
With runners on first and third, the centerfielder harrison bader Hit 1-1 fastball off A's starter Kyle Mueller Yankee Stadium deep toward the right-field bleachers. right fielder jj blade Jumped up to make a play but didn't come down with the ball. As Bader rounded second base, the umpires signaled a home run to increase New York's lead to 4–0.
But the umps weren't sure about that. Neither was Blades, who looked towards the stands after failing to secure the ball. The umpires reviewed the play for possible fan interference. Here's what he saw up close:
Blyde timed his jump perfectly and the ball reached his glove as it headed for the wall. Two Yankee fans wearing gloves arrived to challenge him. One of them came up with the ball with his glove just above the blade.
There are no camera angles down the wall that can definitively show how far the fan reached to corral the ball. But it's hard to conclude that both fans didn't level the playing field with the angles available.
Would Blyde have caught the ball without the fans getting in his way? It is impossible to say. But he gave himself an excellent opportunity to stop it.
Per manualThe replay officials had three options here:
1: Rule that a “spectator clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball by reaching the field of play” and call Bader out.
2: rules that the spectator interfered with the play but did not prevent a definite out, allowing umpires to place baserunners “where the umpire determines they would have been without interference.”
3: Rule that there was no fan interference and let the home run stand.
The replay officials chose option number 3. A 3-run home run scored and the Yankees extended their lead to 4–0. He drove in seven more runs in the fifth en route to an 11–3 victory.