You all saw it, I’d think, or if you haven’t, here it is: The call [VIDEO] that might have changed the trajectory of the American League Championship Series.
Naturally, Joe West is at the center of the play here. West was the right-field umpire for this game, and you can see him near the beginning of the video at the bottom of the frame. He wasn’t all that close to where the ball, Mookie Betts and a fan all converged near the right-field wall, but he eventually signaled that Jose Altuve was out for fan interference. The call went to review and was ruled “call stands.”
I thought the “out” call was wrong to begin with and I wasn’t alone:
Altuve is called out on fan interference after replay. I think that is a bad call. The ball was beyond the fence and Betts closed his glove before the ball arrived. I don't think he was going to catch that. 2-run HR goes away. #Astros #RedSox— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 18, 2018
Eternal question on Altuve home run is: Was a fan's hand over the wall?— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 18, 2018
If so: Out.
If not: HR.
I've re-watched the replay from multiple angles dozens of times. And seeing as the fan's hand first touched Betts' glove when it was past wall, I don't know where interference is.
The replay seemed clear. Betts’ glove was definitely past the wall and there was at least one angle showing this. How the review crew missed this, I have no idea. Here’s what West said after the game:
Here’s what Joe West had to say about the Betts/Altuve play to the pool reporter after Game 4: pic.twitter.com/RwaaIbZ0id— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) October 18, 2018
West is wrong, period, end of story wrong. I don’t know if he had seen video at the time he made those statements, but even if he did afterwards, you know Joe West — he’s not going to admit he was wrong.
Further evidence that West was wrong:
Speaking to fans at the spot where the controversial ball Jose Altuve has “interfered” with. They say Mookie Betts’ glove was at least this far over the wall. pic.twitter.com/447gPzbpCO— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) October 18, 2018
Altuve had a two-run homer stolen from him. If that’s ruled a home run, it’s a tie game and the entire evening likely turns out differently, since the Astros lost by two runs.
And even if you do think it was interference, “out” was the wrong call, according to this:
This ALCS game should also have been under protest since the 1st inning. According to my interpretation the Astros should’ve been given at worst a ground rule double. #Altuve #Betts #RedSox pic.twitter.com/SLZDTnXM4k— C.Michael Connelly (@cMCtheGoat) October 18, 2018
It would not surprise me to see Major League Baseball issue a statement today admitting they got this one wrong. Or not, since that might cause more controversy than we already have.
The Astros had a chance to win anyway in the ninth inning with the bases loaded when Andrew Benintendi made a fantastic catch to put the game away for the Red Sox. But it shouldn’t have gotten to that point with Houston behind. They should have had at least two more runs.
Joe West’s call on the Betts/Altuve play and the replay review decision...
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