Robbing home runs is a difficult enough task without having fans around to interfere. Now imagine being Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts trying to extend your glove into the stands at Yankee Stadium while attempting to rob a home run.
That sounds darn near impossible. But Betts was able to pull that trick off during Wednesday’s 8-0 loss to the Yankees, leaping high to snag what appeared to be Chris Carter’s second home run of the game.
Of course, the play wasn’t without controversy. Replays showed that the baseball actually bounced off the hands of a fan before settling into Betts’ glove. But in a strange twist to the play, it appears the fan’s interference really only served to help Betts as he inadvertently redirected the baseball into Betts’ glove.
Here’s a closer look.
Mookie Betts with an outstanding catch aided by a Yankee fan..who knew? pic.twitter.com/bJSWqocV4c
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) June 8, 2017
“I didn’t know it hit anybody’s hand or anything,” Betts said after the game. “It kind of happened really fast. But once I got to see the replay, I saw it hit his hand.”
Though Betts’ effort was tremendous, it’s difficult to say with any certainty that he would have made that catch without the redirection. But he did put himself in a good position, and when you’re in a good position good results tend to happen.
“I try to go out there every day and try to learn something new,” Betts added. “I’ve been working around the wall and doing it for the last couple of years and I’m just trying to get familiar with everything. It’s pretty cool just to see that all the work I’ve put in pay off.”
The work is definitely paying off. In fact, after the umpires huddled and ruled no interference one way or the other, Betts officially took the lead for the most home run robberies in MLB dating back to 2014.
Most HR Robberies Since 2014
Mookie Betts 6
Mike Trout 5
Justin Upton 5
Betts just had one tonight
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 8, 2017
An official replay review likely would not have changed the outcome. As it was, Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi had his request for a review rejected when the umpires decided he took too long to signal. And he wasn’t too pleased about that after the game.
On the Carter warning track ball, umpires said Girardi didn't put his hand up in time for replay. Girardi wants to talk to MLB office.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) June 8, 2017
Here’s another big unknown: Which team was this fan actually rooting for?
If the red shirt is any indication, perhaps he is a Red Sox fan. Then again, Boston sports fans aren’t usually shy about wearing their team logo into enemy territory, so it’s possible he’s a Yankees fan or even a neutral fan taking in a game.
Whatever the case, at least he doesn’t have to worry about being a modern day Jeffrey Maier.
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