The ghost of Jeffrey Maier
Two days after a heavily disputed fan interference call led to the ejection of Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel in Florida, the Orioles fell victim to another strange border call that resulted in the tie-breaking home run by New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli in the seventh inning of Tuesday night's/Wednesday morning's loss at Yankee Stadium.
Cervelli hit a towering fly ball to left field that came down right at the fence, and a fan reached over and deflected it back onto the field. Two umpires signaled home run and upheld their call after Orioles manager Buck Showalter asked for a video review.
That video replay was available to all, and it's hard to figure out just what the umpires were looking at. It seems pretty clear that the ball was still in the field of play, and you would think the umpiring crew would err on the side of not letting the home fans affect the outcome of a game that's important to the American League East race between the Yankees and Red Sox.
You would think wrong. Showalter continued to argue after the replay, since he apparently went back and looked at it himself, but got no satisfaction.
Everyone in Baltimore remembers when 13-year-old Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier interfered with Derek Jeter's fly ball in the right-field corner in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series. Umpire Rich Garcia, who ruled it a home run, admitted afterward that he blew the call, but it still may have cost the Orioles the game and a better chance to reach the World Series.