Hunter Pence Double Overturned, Phillies Play Game Under Protest

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Hunter Pence hit a double in the sixth inning that advanced Ryan Howard to third. Marlins manager Jack McKeon appealed to umpire Joe West to review the play for fan interference, even though instant replay (which is NOT included in the official rule book) is only meant to review boundary home run calls. When West viewed the video, he determined the fan interfered with the ball, called Pence out, and sent Howard back to first. West seems to have made up a rule. Even though the call proved to be the right one, the situation was not reviewable. We think.

Since it's not in the rule book, here's wording from a 2008 column by Tim Kurkjian about how replay would be implemented: [ESPN]

The only plays that will be reviewable will be home runs: Was it fair or foul? Did it clear the fence, or didn't it? The Steve Bartman play from the 2003 playoffs at Wrigley Field would not be reviewable, but the Jeffrey Maier play from the 1996 playoffs at Yankee Stadium would be reviewable. No other play is reviewable, and from all indications MLB is adamant that replay will not be expanded to cover anything beyond home run calls.


Charlie Manuel was thrown out of the game then made his intention known that the Phillies would protest the game. The Phillies wound up not scoring any runs in the inning, despite Raul Ibanez doubling in the next at-bat, which would have easily scored Howard had he been on third.

But here's where it gets weird. Steve Berthiaume spoke with a former Major League umpire who said the following (Berthiaume's words):

On that play, umps CAN use replay to determine if ball was a home run. Once umps see play, they CAN use judgement call to determine fan interference, which is then NOT subject to protest. Once reviewed, umps CAN use judgement on any play between lines, which is not subject to protest.


That would, of course, assume that McKeon made the ballsy call of asking the umpires to review Pence's double to see if it was a home run, a request that would, in turn, allow them to rule on fan interference. Again, that's if you believe Berthiaume's interpretation.

Protesting rules:

4.19 PROTESTING GAMES.  Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for 

protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire’s decision is in violation of these rules.  No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final. 

Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning the game

 Rule 4.19 Comment:  Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play.  A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office. 

Rule 10.01(b)(3) Comment:  It is important that a suspended game resume with exactly the same situation as existed at the time of suspension.  If a protested game is ordered replayed from the point of protest, the game must be resumed with exactly the situation that existed just before the protested play.


This is obviously the Phillies' last trip to Miami and there are no off days on which to play the game. So, should the Phillies lose the game and win the protest, the second half of the game could, in theory, be played in Philadelphia when the Marlins come here in September. 

Here's the guy who interfered. That said, when a fly ball is coming at you (as a fan), it is rather hard to judge where it's going to land. Let's not Bartman this guy just yet.

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More soon, including video.


22 Responses

  1. alright, we all know that you can only review that call to see if it was a home run. and once the umpire is reviewing it for a home run, can use his judgement from there to make the call that he did. this of course brings up the question as to why would the umpire be reviewing to see if that was a home run because why would jack mckeon have said “hey ump, that looked like a homer to me, go review it!”.
    the only thing i could think of is if jack KNEW that if he asked to see if it was a homer, that the ump could make that judgement call. so maybe he risked asking for that to be reviewed as a home run thinking the ump would judge that ball to go his way. and if so… genius managing.

  2. Steve Berthiaume is an ass. It was a “live ball” and “never ruled a double”? That’s hoses hit. It was a live ball for 15 minutes? Pense was never called safe at second that whole time? That’s crap.

  3. I normally agree with Bert, but he’s completely missing it here. Replay is for home run not home run calls. I’ve never heard anybody EVER say anything about judgement calls once the review happens.

  4. These HORRIBLE umpires are praying the Phillies win this game because they know they were in the wrong when the game was protested.

  5. It’s a good thing these assholes didn’t pull that during a Nats game. I’m pretty sure Jayson Werth would have physically decapitated them.

  6. Plus the former ump Bert talked to never used replay, and if it was wasn’t ruled a double then what were the umps reviewing? If it wasn’t ruled anything then the umps were reviewing nothing.

  7. First off, Joe West is an asshole who thinks he’s better than the game itself….just look up how many people he ejected in his career. Second, how the damn hell can see day for certain that a ball hit to the top of the wall, with the fielder going backward and leaping at full speed, would have without a doubt made that catch had a can not interfered? There’s no more than a 50% chance he makes it….so to over rule it and call him out is a travesty.

  8. 1. Don’t sit on the fence if you can’t stay on your side
    2. Don’t try to catch baseballs in your hat if you’re over the age of 13
    3. Don’t sit there and laugh when Ibanez hits a double and you know you cost the team 2 runs in a tie game
    4. Don’t ever wear a Phillies hat or jersey again.

  9. Seriously kyle are you inciting people to crucify this guy like bartman?
    Dont bartman this guy just yet you say?
    Bartman was game 6 of the nlcs for a team that hadnt won a penant in half a century.
    This is a semi meaningless game. So the phils win the division by 8 games instead of 7. Move on and dont instigate.

  10. Those two idiots should be made fun of. First they’re wearing ill-fitting clothing. Second, they need to lose weight. Third, they’re idiots. Fan interference is something that Phillies phans seem to take the cake on. These two mouth breathers (good one JJ) need to be banned for life. Idiots.

  11. What is it about chasing baseballs hit into the stands that turns normally rational thinking people into screaming idiots? Those two knuckleheads should’ve known better than to even THINK about lunging for that ball given how close it was to still being in the field of play. They should’ve known better, sadly, their minds shut down while in the pursuit of a souvenir. Morons!

  12. That is THE MOST BS call I have ever seen in my life! Never mind the fact that the play wasn’t reviewable to begin with, how the hell does ANYONE determine that that ball woulda been caught w/o interference? Even looking at the replay, it sure didn’t look to me like he had it! Yeah, and way to make philly fans look like idiots, guys. They should be banned from CBP for life! ARGGH!

  13. Kudos to the stadium architect who thought it made awesome sense to place rows of seats within arm’s reach of play against the outfield-wall, thus providing for potential fan-interference calls. For such a new stadium, one would think someone could have eliminated this type of situation entirely, and without losing income/seats, back when construction was underway.

  14. WTF are you talking about??? Florida doesn’t have their new stadium yet. They’re still playing in that shitty football stadium. And as far as I’m concerned, ANYONE who says ANY game (other than Spring Training) doesn’t count can’t be much of a fan.

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