Alex Rodriguez asks for review of his two-run home run against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Three of the 2009 MLB World Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 31, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The camera never blinked, but it did play a role in the two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez when video technology was used to reverse a call for the first time in World Series history.
A-Rod hit a disputed drive in the right-field corner that clanked off the lens of a TV camera above the wall at Citizens Bank Park, sparking the Yankees to an 8-5 victory Saturday night and a 2-1 Series lead.
Rodriguez, who also homered in the first regular-season use of replay last year, hit an opposite-field shot with the Yankees trailing Philadelphia 3-0 in the fourth inning. It was his first-ever World Series hit.
"Well, it's only fitting, right?" Rodriguez said.
Mark Teixeira was on first base with one out when Rodriguez sent an 0-1 fastball down the line off 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels, who at first thought A-Rod had popped up. The ball carried and bounded back on the field. Rodriguez stopped at second base, with Teixeira holding at third.
"The ball hit something hard, solid," right field umpire Jeff Nelson said. "In my judgment it was the top of the fence."
A-Rod signaled home run with his hand, and Yankees manager Joe Girardi came out to talk to the umpires.
"Our coaches started yelling they thought it hit the camera," he said. "My eyes aren't great, so it was hard for me to see."
Even Matthew McGahan, the 29-year-old from Long Beach, N.Y., operating the Sony 1500 camera didn't know for sure.
"I felt the ball hit the camera, but did not see the ball hit it," said McGahan, a second-year FOX cameraman. "I had no way of
knowing whether it was a home run, or not."
Umpires convened and then went inside to check replays as Rodriguez spoke with Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, who had
trailed him to second on the play. About 1 minute later, they emerged and signaled home run, bringing New York within a run and
prompting the crowd to boo.
Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said umpires looked at the view from the camera that was struck.
"It looked like the camera was out over the fence," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "The umpire told me that before the game that they talked about that, and if it hit the camera that it was going to be a home run."
But Manuel said that if the umpires discussed that among themselves, they failed to notify the Phillies.
"We tour the field during the Series whenever we go to a new ballpark and discuss specific ground rules and potential trouble areas, just like that," crew chief Gerry Davis said. "Because we cannot control what the cameraman does with the camera, one of the specific ground rules is when the ball hits the camera: home run."
Baseball began employing video review starting in August 2008, with the umpires consulting replays shown from a control center at
Major League Baseball Advanced Media in New York only for questions of whether possible home runs were fair or foul, or they cleared fences.
They had a good chance to see it in New York or wherever the headmaster is," said Rodriguez, who claimed he didn't see where the ball hit. "I think it was a big hit. I think it woke our offense up a little bit."
In its first use, a home run by Rodriguez at Tampa Bay was upheld on Sept. 3, 2008. This was the first-ever use of technology in a postseason game.
Umpires have blown a string of calls during this postseason, prompting some to call for baseball to widen the use of replay review.
"I think it's an assistance," Davis said. "Our objective is to get every play correct, and on boundary calls that's one of the toughest things we have, and there's no question that it helps."
FOX had 20 cameras covering Saturday night's game, and their positions were approved by Major League Baseball and the umpires, network spokesman Lou D'Ermilio said.
Rodriguez's sixth postseason homer tied New York's postseason record, set by Bernie Williams in 1996. It stopped an 0-for-8 Series slide for Rodriguez that included six strikeouts and was the Yankees' team-record 17th homer of the postseason, one more than they hit in 1996, 2001 and 2003.
All five previous home runs in this year's Series had been solo shots. Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui homered for the Yankees later in the game.
"Alex really got us going with that home run," Johnny Damon said.
And it seems to have boosted A-Rod's confidence after a slow Series start.
"It was a little weird," he said, "to have the first home run and the replay and the whole nine yards."