NEW YORK -- The Indians got their first taste of instant replay on Sunday, and it was a bitter one. In the seventh inning of the Tribe's eventual 7-3 loss to the Yankees, Jorge Posada hit a controversial two-run homer off Jensen Lewis to give the Yankees their first lead. While it was clear the ball hit the top of the wall, it was not as clear, even on replay, what it hit beforehand -- the outstretched glove of right fielder Trevor Crowe or the outstretched glove and hand of a fan in the first row of the seats. Following a review, the umpires upheld the homer, telling Indians manager Eric Wedge that the ball hit the fan first, beyond the plane of the wall.
But an instant-replay system that is aimed at clearing up uncertainties and controversy couldn't really help in this situation. "I told [crew chief] Jerry [Crawford] I understand what they're trying to do with the replay system," Wedge said, "but what views you have make a difference, too. There wasn't a clear shot of [the play], so you can only analyze it so much. They did the best they could with what they had." The fan reportedly acknowledged that he interfered with the play, while Crawford offered the following, unenlightening quote: "We have no comment." The play happened on a 1-1 pitch from Lewis with one on, one out and the Indians clinging to a 3-2 lead in the seventh. The pinch-hitting Posada lifted the fastball high and deep to right. Crowe, who had been inserted as a pinch-runner for Ryan Garko during the top of the inning, went back to the wall and tried to make a leaping grab. The fan also tried to catch it, and his hand appeared to collide with Crowe's glove. After the deflection, the ball hit the top of the wall and was ruled a two-run homer to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead. "I didn't take into account that I'd have to get above the fans to catch the ball," Crowe said. "I watched the replay, and it looked like his glove was outstretched on top of mine. It all happened so fast, and it was sketchy on replay." But Crowe was sure of one thing. When asked what the outcome would have been had the fan not been there, he replied, "I would have caught it. Oh yeah." This was the first time the Indians have been involved in a review situation since the system was initiated last September. Obviously, it didn't go to their liking. "My argument was that the fan's hand and [Crowe's] glove met at the same time at the top of the fence," Wedge said. "But [the umpires] saw it differently."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.