The Rockies beat the Astros 3-2 on Charlie Blackmon’s first career walk-off home run, but there was nearly as much drama to be found earlier in the game, when Alex Bregman led off the sixth with what looked like a triple—until the Rockies challenged, and Bregman was called out due to fan interference. Controversial fan interference, we should say.
Before we roll the video, let’s let Bregman himself set the scene. Cussily:
“It was a fucking joke, and they should be fucking ashamed of themselves,” Bregman said. “Obviously, the guy has never played fucking baseball before in his life, the guy in charge of whoever made that decision. There is no possible way you can say that a left fielder jumping backwards into a wall is guaranteed to make a catch.
“It changed the whole fucking game. We’re up 2-1 at the time, I’m at third base. We need a fly ball to the outfield to get me in, and it’s 3-1. It’s fucking horrible.”
Okay, now watch.
What is clear is that a man in an Astros jersey (who was ejected from the ballpark for this) leaned his arm over the outfield wall and made contact with the ball, which outfielder Gerardo Parra was trying to make a play on. What is not immediately clear, at least not to me, was whether Parra had a bead on the ball or not. And that very much matters. Here’s how the comment to 6.01(e) in the MLB Rulebook explains it:
[S]hould 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.
So, it boils down to: Would Parra have caught that ball? Would he “plainly” have caught it? Bregman thinks not. And it certainly would have to have been a nice play. Parra, on the other hand, says he would have had it.
“I was surprised, because I put up my glove and the ball almost hit me in my face. I said, ‘What happened? Did the ball move at the last second?’ I never saw the fan.
“When I saw the replay, I felt better. I said, ‘I’m all right. I’m not crazy.’ I thought, 100 percent, I had it.”
Do you want my opinion on this? Too bad if you don’t, because it’s between you and the comment section: The ball’s trajectory obviously changed when it glanced off the fan’s glove, so I’m fine with the ruling. No, you can’t “guarantee” that Parra would have made the catch, but on some epistemological level, you can’t “guarantee” that any catch is going to be made. How’s that opinion? Too abstract? Okay, how about this one: It was a good call because the fan was an Astros fan. Interference calls should always go against the fandom of the dummy who interferes.