Phils play under protest after call reversed
Pence's hit ruled fan interference, Manuel tossed in Marlins' victory
MIAMI -- With the score tied in the sixth inning of the Marlins' 5-4, 14-inning victory on Sunday, a Phillies fan may have cost his team a potential rally. Hunter Pence doubled to right field in the sixth, but it appeared a fan interfered with the ball.
Marlins skipper Jack McKeon came out to argue that it was fan interference. The umpires gathered to discuss the play, then went to video review and determined that the Phillies fan did interfere with the ball and ruled Pence out. Ryan Howard returned to first base.
"I'm confused about it," Pence said. "I haven't really seen the replay. All I know is I hit a ball that didn't get caught, and I was called out for it. I know they're trying to get the call right. I've just never seen that before."
"They called it in play for a double," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who was later ejected for arguing the overturned decision. "I thought that they wanted to review it to see if it was a home run. I was arguing because if he went to see it because of the defensive play, I didn't think you could do that.
"My understanding is that's not the rule. Even if you go look if it's a home run or a double, the defensive play doesn't come into play there."
According to Major League Baseball, "instant replay will apply only to home run calls -- whether they are fair or foul, whether they have left the playing field, or whether they have been subject to fan interference. The decision to use instant replay will be made by the umpire crew chief, who also will make the determination as to whether or not a call should be reversed."
Both Manuel and Jack McKeon came out of their respective dugouts to argue the initial ruling, and crew chief Joe West said that led to the review.
"I had two managers on the field," West said. "One of them was arguing that they wanted an out, and the other was arguing that he wanted a home run. Because they wanted me to go look because they wanted a home run, I got to judge whether it went over the fence or not.
"[Home-plate umpire Chad Fairchild] already thought it was spectator interference. So now we go look at the replay, and we have to take all the evidence that we get from the replay and that's why we came up with the rule, which is the correct ruling."
But Manuel believes the rule should be interpreted differently.
"To me, my interpretation of it is he went to see if it was a home run or a double," Manuel said. "Evidently, they saw the interference or whatever, but I don't know why they reviewed it. Jack must have asked them to review it for something, but I don't think he's going to ask them to review a double for a home run."
McKeon admitted he thought the process may not have been entirely correct, but he believed the most important thing is that the umpires were able to make the correct call.
"I'm not the judge," McKeon said. "But I would think, isn't what we want from the umpires is to get it right? Did they get it right? Yes. Did they make a mistake on how they went about getting it right? Yes."
|"I thought that they wanted to review it to see if it was a home run. I was arguing because if he went to see it because of the defensive play, I didn't think you could do that. My understanding is that's not the rule. Even if you go look if it's a home run or a double, the defensive play doesn't come into play there."|
|-- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel|
"I did think I was going to catch it," Petersen said. "At first, I didn't know what happened. I just knew that I went after the ball, and when I came down the ball was shooting to the corner. I figured somebody hit it or something hit it, I didn't really feel it go off my glove."
The fan was Alex Dicandio, a college student in Tampa, according to the Associated Press, and he left no doubt as to what he thought should have been ruled.
"It should have been a home run," he said.
After the ruling, the Phillies played the game under protest.
"I know I'm not supposed to question a reviewed play, but I wasn't questioning the reviewed play," Manuel said. "I was questioning the interpretation of the rule about the defense. That's why he threw me out. He was telling me I wasn't supposed to, but I wasn't contesting the review. I was contesting the rule."
Manuel added that when he tried to explain himself to West, the umpire did his best to avoid speaking with him.
"I didn't get a chance to ask him a lot of things because he absolutely didn't want to talk to me," Manuel said. "He used this thing where you can't question a reviewed play, but I wasn't questioning the reviewed play. I was trying to explain that to him."
Following the 13-minute delay -- including the official review, Manuel's ejection and the Phillies announcing a formal protest of the game -- Raul Ibañez hit a double that would have brought in both Howard and Pence.
Ibañez's hit would have driven in both baserunners had it not been for the interference ruling. Instead, it allowed the Marlins to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz to load the bases. Florida then induced an inning-ending double play from Wilson Valdez to end the threat.
Following the game, Manuel was told that the fan who interfered claimed that the ball hit the railing beyond the fence. To Manuel, that didn't matter as much as the replay potentially costing his team runs.
"He said it was a home run? It might have been," Manuel said. "When I looked at it on replay, they assumed he's going to catch the ball, but assuming is not how it's played. A lot of times when you hit the fence, it jars and you will miss the ball. They assumed that the guy being there is interference. I'll argue that with you too, because I played there 20 years. That's how I look at it. At least we should have got a double out of it with men on second and third."
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.