Three Ways of Looking at a Disputed Home Run

The controversy over the umpiring in last night’s Rangers-Yankees game didn’t really matter, thanks to Texas’ merciless bludgeoning of their hosts. Robinson Cano’s second-inning home run for the Yankees, ruled a home run by the umpire even though a spectator had collided with Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz’s glove, turned out to mean that the Yankees lost 10-3, rather than 10-2.

On replay, in slow motion

, it did look as if Cruz’s glove was even with or inside the line of the wall when the fan reached out and grabbed at the ball. (The replay also confirmed that the fan was a braying jackass.) More revealing than any retrospective frame-by-frame breakdown, though, are the three different soundtracks on the highlight reel, capturing how three different broadcasts—the national TBS play-by-play, the Yankee announcing team, and the Texas announcer—narrated the same events in real time.


That ball is hit to right and deep! And that ball … is gone, although—Nelson Cruz is going to complain about interference!


[Announcer No. 1:] Swung on and hit in the air! To deep right field! It is high! It is far! It is … gone! Robbie Cano! Hits one over the right-field wall, and the Yankees take the lead. Robbie Cano! Oh, don’t ya know! He homers, and the Yankees finally have a lead, one-nothing.

[Announcer No. 2:] And we’re going to have an argument here, because Nelson Cruz—and we can’t see that far—Nelson Cruz thinks he was interfered with, and here comes Ron Washington to talk to the right-field-line umpire, Jim Reynolds. He’s not going to win this.


Swung on, high fly ball to right field. Hit pretty well. Cruz is back, on the track. And Nelson Cruz…jumps up, and a fan reaches over and grabs it! It is ruled a home run! Jim Reynolds, the right field umpire, rules it a home run for Robinson Cano. Ron Washington is coming out to argue.

Was it a contested play all the way (“gone, although” comes out in a single breath)? A heroic piece of Yankee slugging (in which Cruz, the fan, and the umpire were all unnoticeable at first)? Or was it a Rangers catch ruined by officiating ("Reynolds…rules it a home run”)? People saw it how they were prepared to see it. Especially in the Yankees booth.