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Was controversial ALCS Game 4 call really fan interference?

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 10/18/2018 Cesar Brioso
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In the aftermath of Wednesday night's controversial fan interference call in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, it might be good to review how MLB rules define fan interference.

Under the spectator interference entry in the 2018 edition of the Official Baseball Rules:

  • No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should 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.

In the bottom of the first inning, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hit a deep drive to the wall, but Boston Red Sox Gold Glove right fielder Mookie Betts leaped high above the seven-foot outfield wall as several fans attempted to catch the ball.

More: Astros know who to blame if they don't reach World Series

After hitting off someone's hands, the ball bounced back onto the field, but right field umpire and crew chief Joe West ruled the fans interfered with Betts' opportunity to make the catch and ruled Altuve out.

The call was upheld after a replay review.

The Astros were livid, believing they had been robbed of a home run by the call.

The question is: Did Betts reach into the stands for the ball, or did fans reach into the field of play?

You decide:

One infamous fan interference non-call from the past was far more blatant.

Remember when young Yankees fan Jeffrey Maier clearly reached into the field of play to prevent Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco from catching a ball hit by New York shortstop Derek Jeter during Game 1 of the 1996 ALCS?

But right-field umpire Rich Garcia credited Jeter with a home run.

Related slideshow: Best of the 2018 MLB playoffs (Provided by photo services)

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