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September 7, 2011

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.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 2:02 AM | | Comments (54)


That's not quite the truth, Schmuck. Umpire Rich Garcia didn't say he blew the call in the ALCS; he said it was uncatchable, which was the case here as well. And neither of the calls you mention would've changed the outcome for the O's or mattered in the grand scheme of things because, in both instances, the O's simply sucked. Between you and your chief crybaby Bucky there's more tears flowing than all the rain falling in the Bronx tonight. Both of you should try growing a pair and save the excuses for your sorry lineup. Sore loser.

I hate Jeffery Maier! I wish he would show up at Camden Yards one day and let the announcer signal him out and put him on the big screen.

It's common knowledge that umpires will favor the Yankees on a close call in Yankee stadium. Happens to many times to be a coincidence.

I thought you couldn't argue a replay?

Angle is "NO" left fielder. He took a bad "Angle" on Francisco Cervelli's "Bad Call" Home Run. He was at least 2 to 3 feet from that ball, quite "Frankly" he was no where near it. He must be watching Nolan Reimold videos on how to play left field and for that matter Reimold isn't a left fielder. Quite honestly, Showalter may as well put Robert Andino out their in left field at least he can catch fly balls. Something our left fielders have been unable to do this year. As for the Jeffrey Maier reference, Tony Tarasco was under the ball to make the catch. Matt Angle was in "NO" position to do it. If you think I am crazy, goto for yourself and review the video. It would be nice for Bud Selig to do something pro active here like reviewing the call, but you know he won't because he a jellyfish and a figure head, nothing more. For Orioles fans it's just another disappointing loss. What a Joke!

i hope jeffrey maier is rotting in a ditch right about now


Look in the mirror. Your manager and your team the Yankees are cry babies when they don't get their way. Look at what happen a couple weeks ago when girardi had to use one of his days off to make up a game, but cried when the date he couldn't get. It was inconvinient.
Lets see how competitive you are when stop buying championships.

frontrunnerfanforever cracks me up. I guess it's not enough that your favorite team is nearly guaranteed a spot in the post season nearly every year due to the fact that the networks and MLB would never let the Yankees or Red Sox not be involved? You also have to post a lame beat down on a few fans of the worst team in the league.

Yankees championships are almost as fake as pro wrestling championships. Vince McMahon should be the new baseball commissioner. It’s very easy to root for a team that is guaranteed to win every season. You’d jump ship in a heartbeat if they ever fell to the basement of the division.

I used to love baseball, but its borderline comical at this point that the sport clings to these stupid "traditions". The entire problem could be solved by using a short plexiglass wall at the homerun line. Its just ridiculous that baseball continues to allow fans to physically alter the outcome of a game-- no other sport allows that.

On the other hand, Peter Angelos has made the sport so irrelevant in this town that I doubt more than 10 people care anyway.

One of these days the saknkees will get repaid by the Orioles and it will be the biggest embarrassment they have ever suffered in their history. I just hope it happens in Yankee stadium so all their fans get to witness the event and the O's will come out on top.

effrey Maier Jr. reaches12-15 inches into the field of play and flubs the catch. That's not indisputable evidence only if you're in the Bronx and the Bummers are at bat. Two thumbs way down for the feckless umps. Two thumbs up for the Orioles who battled, especially Hunter.

As always, two thumbs way, way down for the Angelos boys, whose arrogance and incompetence have made it impossible to build a competitive team. Did they design the Sun's often indecipherable verification system for entering posts?

What was the author of this piece watching? All he did was lie in this article. If he actually WATCHED the replay, especially from the side angle, it shows that ball may very well have hit the top of the wall if the fan didn't try to catch it, but it is impossible to tell for sure. One thing that is certain: to be overturned, the replay would have had to show that the ball was DEFINITELY not going to go in the stands, and the replay in no way showed that. Don't be such a homer. Try some honesty, people will find you more credible.

The only thing that nyyankeefanforever got right is that Garcia never admitted he got the call wrong. In fact, during his post-game interview when he had a chance to correct himself and admit his mistake, he compounded his error by feebly offering a second erroneous explanation saying that, if it wasn't a homer, then it was a ground rule double. As "Lefty" correctly stated, Tarasco was firmly squared up right underneath the ball at the fence and immediately pointed up to Maier after he interfered with the ball. Garcia had no excuse to blow that call which certainly affected the game's outcome. I suppose playing 13 against 9 (in a close play-off game) is just another way to become a "storied" franchise.

Hey do realize the Maier incident happened in the 8th inning of a game the O's were leading, right? That HR tied the game and the Yanks won in extras. So I'm pretty sure it changed the outcome.

Oh, and the next season? The O's won the AL East while your boys watched from the sidelines in October, so I'm not sure where you're getting the notion that they sucked back then.

brandon, you realize Maier was a 12 year old boy when that incident happened. That's no different than telling a 12 year old to be rolling in a ditch.

Jeter's hit would have been a double. As nyyankeefanforever said, neither ball was catchable. The ball hit by Jeter would have been off the top of the wall.

I'm sorry Lefty Rosenthall, but you are wrong on that, Tarasco did not even jump, and without a jump he isn't making that catch.

As far as this call goes, well it didn't make much of a difference since one batter later Gardner homered and if Cervelli was ruled a double, it's still a 5-3 game

Matt Angle doesn't belong in the Majors PERIOD!! If this is all they have in the minor leagues to call up, shame on the front office for having players in the system that just can't play major league baseball.
When you stink as bad as the Orioles, the calls will not go your way.....and the Orioles stink!!

Yes and the Yankees have NEVER EVER complained about a call. Yeah, that'd be a laugh. Be it Boston or New York, all they do is complain about calls, the strike zone, whatever they can complain about.

Buy a rule book! Have you never seen a ball hit down the left field line and a fan leans over and touches it? It is automatically ruled a ground rule double no matter where the left fielder is. It's called fan interference not fan kept someone from catching the ball.

If this is the way they are going to play and officiate games at Yankee Stadium, allowing mentally-challenged fans to reach into the field of play and touch or catch balls, then just let them bring fish nets into Yankee stadium and interfere with every fly ball.
There is no way they could say with any certainty that that ball would not have hit the wall and bounced back into the outfield for a double.
They cheated because that is how they play in New York.
The league should fine the umpires.
And there should be a league fine of $1000 charged to any fan who interferes with fair balls in the field of play.

It may not matter that much for the O's season, but it might for the Red Sox.
And you can't have first place in any division affected by asinine decisions like that and the moronic behavior of Yankee fans.

That game NEVER should have played in rain like that anyway.
They are VERY lucky no player was seriously injured.

So it seems that nyyankeefanforever didn't actually see the 1996 game. The ball was not ruled uncatchable, and replays show it would have been caught; it was ruled a home run. Moreover, but for that home run, the game would have ended with the Orioles in the lead and heading back to Baltimore up 2-0 in the series.

Last night's decision was ridiculous, however. Even if the ball had been ruled uncatchable, it still would count only as a double. The umpires wanted to go home and the Yankees get whatever call they need from the obliging hacks who make the calls.

If I ever ran into Jeffrey Maier on the street, he would be gone forever.. I remember how the US world news made him a local NY hereo. Hate is not even a word I can use to describe him.

O's fan in TX

Nice to see a Yankee fan comment on something he read on this web blog. I didn't think that many Yankee fans knew how to read?

Do you love New Yorker's revisionist history? The Jeter home run tied the game and it went to extra innings. If it was not ruled a home run, the Orioles would have won that game.

That alway right attitude was also on display on last night's epsiode of the World Series of Poker. NYer had Ace King and Opponent had Ace Jack. Jack hits on the flop and the calls his opponent a loser sucking out on him on the river. Through out the show, he kept saying he played out this opponent until the river and would not let it go. The NYer had nothing, but he thought the other guy had less then him instead of a pair of Jacks. NYers see what they want to see.

The Orioles need to go 8 and 14 to avoid 100 losses. I say they go 5 and 17, and break through the 100 loss barrier with relative ease. Andy Macphail should slip out of town without holding a news conference, because if he does hold one, I am going to hit him with a pie.

I think we need to get over it with Jeffrey Maier, as well as with all bad calls of Christmases past....

Not only do calls go this way there for the yankees, but the yankee fans there and when they come to Camden yards are more than eager to reach over and interfere with a ball in play. I don't think the penalties are harsh enough. Perhaps ushers or officers with tazer sticks would help :)

TO THE NY crankee fan you are a liar. BOTH BAllS WERE CLEARLY IN PLAY, and it proves the yankees feel they are above the rules and probably payoff the umpires and commisioners office. The rules clearly state any fan interfering with a ball in play is supposed to be removed from the stadium. Only in new york would they idolize and celebrate a cheat. It proves how the yankees have fallen and rely on money only to compete.

bottom line, can't get beat on home runs by cervelli and gardner. that's like the yanks getting beat by angle and tatum. There's no excuse for not getting those guys out. And what the hell was Angle doing last nite in LF? Had to leave Buck shaking his head. He's in there for defense!
The weeding out process will eventually lead to what everyone has been saying- there's about 10 guys on the roster worth keeping.

There will be a day where such arrogant fans (nyyankeefanforever) eat their words. He is the reason why most people think New Yorker's are a$$#!s

I have to respond to your comment.

Garcia didn't rule it was uncatchable, he ruled it was a home run. And he absolutely believed he blew the call.

Here is a quote.
"Honestly, I don’t think (Tarasco) would have caught the ball. I don’t think the ball would have gone over the fence, either."

If a ball isn't going to go over the fence and you call it a home run, that's blowing it.

Read it yourself.

You want to talk about whining and crying? Let's talk about your boy Jorge who through a hissy fit this year when he had to bat 9. Or how about your manager crying every time his players get hit by pitches while his boy Burnett leads the league. Or maybe your entire team crying about having to play on an off day. It's tough playing a game and making millions, isn't it. I really feel for them.

There is indeed a lot of crying going on, but it's pretty clear which side it's coming from and who needs to grow a pair.

And sore losers? Really?

When it's your job to write about a game and what happened in it, you aren't a sore loser.

When, as a Yankee fan, you go an Orioles message board after a win, read the post, enter in your info, comment on the post with insults to the writer and the losing team, and hit enter, you are not only the sorest of sore, but you are also pathetic.

Let us know how that works out for you in the long run.

Sorry for the insults Schmuck. I know they have no place on this blog and that you need no defense, but that got me fired up.

I'll understand if this doesn't make it to the post.

There's no way that ball was going to go over the wall on it's own.

There's also no way Matt Angle was going to catch it. Angle was about five feet too far to the left to make that play.

In other news, apparently Yankee fans have no access to replays or photos of that fated night in Yankee Stadium back in 1996. Maybe they close their eyes whenever the worst umpire screwup in the history of baseball is replayed every single post season. Maybe they just want to believe that the right field fence was three feet closer to home plate that night. Maybe they didn't read the headline on the New York Post the following day: "Schoolboy helps snatch Yank victory from jaws of defeat." Maybe they actually believe this "uncatchable" nonsense. What does that even mean? If an outfielder doesn't have a chance to catch a ball, fans are allowed to reach as far over the fence as they can to give a player an assisted home run? Boy, things in New York are a lot worse than I thought...


Oriole fans are just as bad though, when they post vitriol about Jeffrey Maier - "I hate Jeffrey Maier", "I hope he's rotting in a ditch right about now". Last I checked, 12-year-old Jeffery Maier did what just about any 12-year-old would do in that situation. One of his heroes hit a high fly ball within his reach, and he tried to catch it.

No, O's fans, after 15 years, Jeffrey Maier still isn't the villain. If you're looking for the villain, look no further than the men in blue. The fact that the entire umpiring crew missed such an obvious fan interference call (three quarters of Maier's arm, including the hand armed with a glove at least as big as Tony Tarasco's, was over the fence, in the field of play) is still, to this day, absolutely pathetic.

I'm just waiting for the day that we can all put that incident to rest, so we'll never be reminded of it again. Too bad that day is never going to come...

They could show his face, show his name and where he is sitting and most of the fans would cheer because most of the fans at the Orioles/Yankee games are Yankee fans.

There is really NO QUESTION that this ball was interfered with. Its really simple physics. Where the ball was coming down it would NOT have been a HR. That doesnt mean it should have been an out via fan interference, but it should have been ruled a GR Double.
That being said, the likely response is "he would have been on when Gardner hit his HR." But anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that you can't really say that at all because the runner on second changes the way you pitch to the batter, etc. And CHANCES ARE, one of those factors would have lead to something OTHER then a HR.

I don't blame Maier...he did what any other kid in his position would do. I blame the official (Garcia) who is PAID to correct such happenings.

But I must say, I laugh my butt off at insecure Yankee fans like Mike. Your team has won countless championships and you still have to lie to yourself.

"Jeter's hit would have been a double off the top of the wall!"

What a joke. Considering Carrasco could have reached up and touched the top of the wall without jumping, I highly doubt he just stands there, with his back against the wall, and watches the ball hit above his head.

Anyone who defends that play and says it wouldn't have been an out is laughable and shouldn't be allowed internet access. They might hurt themselves.

MLB Rule 2.00 (d) "Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the stands, OR goes on the playing field, and (1) touches a live ball OR (2) touches a player and hinders an attempt to make a play on a live ball."

All this "who struck john" about the ball not being "catchable" or "would have gone out" etc is smoke filled BS. The spectator reached out into the field of play and touched a live ball. It was spectator interference plain and simple just like the Jeffery Maier incident. Ball was immediately dead on contact by the spectator so whether it "would have gone out" or was "uncatchable" or "Angle is no left fielder" has nothing to do with it.

If MLB officials make excuses for not enforcing the written rules then they are guilty of making a travesty of the game and encouraging such acts.

Ok, I clicked the picture on the main Orioles page but would up with this column. What happened to the picture?

So Garcia thought it was uncatchable so lets call it a homerun and alter the outcome of the game. Garcia didn't even see it. If he did he would have ruled fan interference.... You are right it was uncatchable. No way Garcia could have gotten over to make that catch. Tony Torasco however was planted under it and would have easily made the catch. Still makes me sick. No way it happens to the Yankees and the Orioles get away with making the punk a hero. That game would have been replayed from that point if it went against the Yankees. Bet on it.

I have an idea how to resolve these fan interference calls; automatically rule these plays as Ground Rule Doubles.

We all know that fans will go after fly balls headed their way so when they interfere with the ball, the umpires automatically give the batter a Ground Rule Double.

No more disputed homeruns ala Jeffrey Maier and now the fan in last night's game.

How does everyone feel about this?

Is there anything sadder than a Yankee fan who feels the need to go to a Baltimore newspaper, not even a Boston newspaper, but a BALTIMORE newspaper's website and talk trash?

Talk about having a real life inferiority complex...

You know, nyyankees(suck)forever has a point. As long as we fail to put a competitve team on the field the umpiring is not going to give the O's any respect. So; even though I could write a book on the calls the team that plays in Yankee stadium has go their way, like the night their pitchers bean three Orioles yet the Oriole pitchers got thrown out; there is no use getting upset about it.

To those of you who still have doubts after the Tarasco/Maier play has been replayed about 10,000 times per post season, I urge you to watch it again.

Watch Tarasco closely. He clearly has a great read on the ball as he's fading back towards the fence. As he reaches the warning track, he prepares to jump, but then realizes he doesn't have to, so he backs right into the wall with his glove stretched out. The ball is about to land in Tarasco's glove when it's snatched away from him by a black glove from the stands.

Watching the replay from the original camera angle in real time, it's plain as day. Watching the slow motion replay from Tarasco's right side, it's plain as day. In the real time original footage, you see Richie Garcia huffing and puffing along the right field line, looking up at Tarasco, until he's cropped from the frame. The fated catch happens a second or two after you lose Garcia, so one can only imagine that the chump... Oops, I meant ump... looked down for that second and completely missed what happened. Taking fan emotion out of the equation, that's really the only rational explanation, as literally everyone else on the planet aside from Richie Garcia could see a blatant occurrence of fan interference.

Moving on from that moment in the game, I don't think it's fair for Oriole fans to blame Jeffrey Maier or even Richie Garcia for that entire series. That was Game 1. And Jeter's "home run" only tied the game. No one remembers Roberto Alomar's error that led to an unearned run in the second inning. Jeter's "homer" wouldn't have tied the game without that error. No one remembers that Randy Myers gave up an unassisted game winning home run to Bernie Williams in the 11th. No one remembers Mike Mussina's 8th inning implosion in Game 3. No one remembers that the O's, down 8-4, loaded the bases with no outs in the 8th inning of Game 4 and couldn't score a single run. No one remembers another Alomar error in the deciding Game 5 that led to five unearned runs in the third inning.

Sure, maybe the momentum of winning Game 1 would have led to a completely different outcome, but the ALCS is a seven game series. Game 1 was one game. The Orioles played a sloppy series overall, and while a correct call in the 8th inning of Game 1 probably would have changed things in a big way, a couple of double plays by Alomar instead of a couple of errors would have changed things in a big way as well. A better 8th inning by Mussina in Game 3 would have changed things in a big way as well. A couple more hits in the 8th inning of Game 4 would have changed things in a big way as well. Boy that 8th inning was a rough one for the O's in that ALCS...

"bottom line, can't get beat on home runs by cervelli and gardner. that's like the yanks getting beat by angle and tatum. There's no excuse for not getting those guys out."

Gardner has an OBP of .353, which is higher than the OBP of all the Orioles hitters. There is no reason to think that "...there is no excuse" for not getting Gardner out. I know the Orioles and most of their fans have no appreciation for OBP, but that does not change the fact that it is the most important offensive statistic.

I think it's funny that people are whining about that call when by far the more egregious error by the umpires was the strike-em-out-throw-em-out that wasn't. Hunter's pitch was pretty much dead-center and Wieters' throw was on the money.

That was the umpiring error that cost the game, in my opinion.

CNC Orioles Fan
The problem with you solution is you may be rewarding the hitter with a two base hit even if the ball would have been caught had the interference not occurred. The solution is you enforce the rule as written, if the fan interferes with a play the batter is out.

"There is no way they could say with any certainty that that ball would not have hit the wall and bounced back into the outfield for a double."

What is wrong with you Oriole fans? Are you all normally this stupid, or just this stupid when it comes to acting like a bunch of homers?

The ruling on the field stands unless the umps see concrete evidence to the contrary.

The umps that made the call thought the ball was in the stands and dropped off a fan's hands.

Thus, the replay would have to show that the ball definitely would have stayed in the park without the fan touching it.

If you think that replay shows that the ball would have definitely hit off the wall, you are lying to yourself and making yourself look like an idiot to every honest person.

Take it up with the MLB. They are the ones who demanded the game be played yesterday.

Of course, the childishness of the Orioles not allowing the double header before Irene didn't help the matter.

So ultimately, the game had to be played because the Orioles thought they could one-up the Yankees by not rescheduling before Irene. Ha ha you had to play in the rain because your own shortsightedness and childlike petulance.

Oh, and the Yankees asked the Orioles BEFORE the Flannagan death was known, and the Orioles had already said "No" at that point.

"MLB Rule 2.00 (d) "Spectator interference occurs when a spectator reaches out of the stands, OR goes on the playing field, and (1) touches a live ball "

So according to you, the ball Jeter hit in the World Series could NEVER have been an out, because it was a dead ball as soon as it was touched.

Thanks for providing proof to all your fellow Oriole fans that they should stop saying Jeter should have been called out on the Jeffrey Maier play (even though Tarasco was NOT going to catch it, anyway. Watch the friggin' replay, it was well over his glove).

It seems like Eric and others have never played the outfield. To say that Tarasco was "NOT" going to catch the ball shows that someone simply does not know what they are talking about. Tarasco didn't need to "jump" as he was camped under the ball, he knew exactly where the ball was going to land and could have closed his eyes and the ball would have dropped easily into his glove, (if not for one infamous little Yankee punk).

I suggest you watch the friggin' replay. It was headed straight down into his glove.

What are Yankees fans doing in Baltimore?
Did they raise the rent in the Bronx and Jersey? Or is that sewer gas backup acting up again?
Go home and stop trolling here.

@NYYankeefanforevern/ Wayne - I knew you were a Yankee fan

If it was fan interference, it wouldn't have been a ground rule double, the player would have been called out.

And don't get me started about Jeff Meier.

I think someone else said it right when the Yankees feel they are above everyone. They are apparently.

Remember the A-Rod interference call against Boston? They play the game to cheat.

Other great moments in Yankee cheater history:

2007, when A-Rod screams on a pop up against Toronto.

Yankees - cheaters.

The thing all you next-morning-managers are not mentioning is the fact that the wind was whirling around above the left-field wall on both Cervelli plays.

THAT was the factor in Angle's failure to line up both balls.
OF COURSE the ball didn't come straight down in either case.... that's why he didn't appear to have either ball lined up properly.

BOTH balls were IN PLAY, however, and the two fans who interfered with the second (which was called a home run) clearly caused the confusion.

One can argue all one wants that the conditions were the same for both teams..... and that is indeed a correct side of the argument.
However, those "conditions" were in fact UNACCEPTABLE for both sides.

BOTH teams are fortunate that there were no serious injuries because of the conditions MLB insited those games be played under.

It was not major league baseball we were made to watch. It was not major league baseball the players were made to play.
It was instead an act of tooth-pulling proportions FORCED upon players under contract to perform under circumstances that were the antithesis of those normally striven for by officials of the game.
It was a clear CONTRADICTION of everything MLB proports to stand for.

Shame on them all.

Does everyone know that the Orioles actually drafted little Jefferey Maier???

Nothing worse than a Yankee PUKE talking.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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