Orioles: Border call (updated)
The Orioles should have been the poster team for the imposition of video replay to review disputed home runs. No O's fan worth his or her salt isn't still fuming about the Jeffrey Maier fiasco that may have cost the Orioles a chance to go to the World Series in 1996.
It only took another 13 years to get a system in place that would have overturned that Derek Jeter home run, and now it's been used twice to take home runs away from the Orioles.
The first one was last week in Seattle, when a drive by Aubrey Huff was ruled a foul ball after originally being ruled a home run. That was definitely the right call. The second was tonight, when a shot by Melvin Mora into the left field bleachers was called back because of fan interference. I'm not so sure about that one.
If it is obvious that the outfielder would have caught the ball before a fan reached into the field of play to prevent the catch, the ball is to be ruled an out under baseball rules. The fan definitely interfered with Endy Chavez's attempt to make the catch, but it was not as clear that he broke the plane of the fence to prevent the catch. Generally, if the ball has entered the stands, it's considered fair game for the fans, but the umpires ruled that the fan did reach into the field of play.
Home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom explained the ruling to me after the game, and nobody really disputed his account, though it might have been a little more contentious if the call had cost the Orioles the game.
"The fan reached over the fence and hit his cap in Endy's glove as the ball got there,'' Cederstrom said. "He would have caught the ball."
It was the first time that a home run has been reviewed at Camden Yards.