Yankees Overcome a “Wonky” Interference Call in the First to Win

For the second time in fewer than a week, an interference call and an infield fly loomed huge in a game.

It was Juan Soto and the New York Yankees this time.

The Yankees were defeated by an unusual double play in the first inning of their game against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, with the bases loaded and no outs.

In spite of the peculiar beginning to the game, the Yankees managed to recover and win 2-1.

“A tough way to start things when you load the bases there in the first inning and you’ve got a good pitcher on the ropes. But by the letter of the law it was probably the right call,” Aaron Boone, the manager of New York, was ejected, although according to the text of the law, it was undoubtedly the appropriate decision.

At second, Giancarlo Stanton made a high popup close to the bag. The ball landed in the infield after Angels shortstop Zach Neto lost track of it after Soto brushed into him with his hip while trying to get to second base. The umpires had ruled an infield fly.

Vic Carapazza, the second base umpire, determined that Soto’s interference with Neto resulted in the second out.

“Obviously, a wonky play. Once Juan commits to getting there and he’s trying to stay out of the way, if Neto catches it, he might catch it on the bag for a double play. It’s like, ‘Where do you go?'” stated Boone.

In a pool report released following the game, Carapazza expressed his belief that Soto did not deliberately contact Neto in an attempt to cause trouble; nonetheless, Soto was not on the base, where the baserunner is solely protected.

“I had him interfering with the infielder and called the infield fly first, which now the batter is out. The interference after that was the second out,”  according to Carapazza.

Neto concurred that Soto wasn’t attempting to meddle. Simply said, the timing was off.

“There was no intention for me to get in his way or him to get in my way, the play just happened and I was trying to catch the ball,” Neto stated. “It just got a little behind me. The umpire said every big league shortstop catches that ball. I was trying to catch it, and he happened to be there.”

When Boone attempted to contest the call, Carapazza dismissed him. Boone got ejected for the third time this season and his 36th time overall.

Alex Verdugo grounded out, allowing Tyler Anderson and the Angels to end the inning without further damage.

After Boone was removed, bench coach Brad Ausmus, who led the Angels in 2019, took over.

The game was won by the Baltimore Orioles 8–6 last Thursday in Chicago after umpires determined that White Sox designated runner Andrew Vaughn had interfered with Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson on a popup by Andrew Benintendi.

After the game, MLB stated that there is some latitude in refusing to call interference, but Carapazza insisted that this was not the case.

“I called the infield fly rule first, which now the batter is out. That was not the case of that [White Sox-Orioles] play. It’s a little bit different,” Carapazza remarked.

“I mean, the sequence matters. But hopefully maybe we can get to revisit a little bit,” Boone stated. “Juan is in jeopardy of getting doubled off, and if he doesn’t get there and if you don’t nail the get back the exact way, he gets stuck with Neto probably misjudging a little bit. But what do you do as a runner there?”

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