HOUSTON - It’s the call all Astros fans will be talking about Thursday.
Jose Altuve was denied a potential two-run homer in the first inning for the Houston Astros in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series after it was ruled that fans reaching for the ball interfered with Mookie Betts' attempt to make a leaping catch.
While fans are still hurting from the potential game-altering call, most have chosen to stand behind the man at the center of the controversy.
Former third baseman for the Braves Chipper Jones tweeted “Pretty incredible game! Just think if it weren’t clouded by a fan interference call and we were headed to extra innings right now. Or we were talking about one of the all time HR robbing catches in history. Shouldn’t be an issue. Fix it!”
Justin Verlander’s brother, Ben Verlander, said he’s concluded that the MLB wants a Red Sox v. Dodgers World Series “more than anything.” Saying, “they took the easy way out letting that call ‘stand.’ Joe West doesn’t even know what he called!”
Verlander’s wife, Kate Upton, was also infuriated by the call. “So if a player is IN the stands fans are suppose to (sic) move over,” Upton tweeted. “If those are the rules MLB shouldn’t let fans sit there. They didn’t reach over the fence.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo called the game a “perfect storm” that “worked against the home team, from the umpiring to the coaching.”
TxDOT’s Houston District got in on the rage action by advising people to not “let drinking and driving ruin your night like this umpire has done for many Astros fans.”
Even Altuve himself defended the man, saying he would have done the same thing.
“I don’t blame him,” Altuve said. “I would try to do the same thing. I don’t have anything against him. He’s a fan rooting for us. I appreciate him trying to help me.”
The fan in question told KPRC2 he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.
“It was a bad call,” he said to KPRC reporter Sophia Beausoleil. “I feel great.”
A petition to change the ruling is now circulating the internet, fueled by fans' anger on the issue.
According to the petition, the play was not an out and Altuve was robbed of a home run, or even getting to run the bases.
"Baseball is an American sport," reads the petition. "Being American is giving chances and viewing who is wrong and right, so go get your board of people and view how wrong you guys were ruling this as an out."
Houston's chances to a repeat as World Series champion are hanging by a thread, and despite the disappointment, the focus has shifted to trying to stay in the running.
A street fest will take place starting at 3 p.m. ahead of Game 5 so fans can get pumped before the first pitch at 7:09 p.m.
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