BOSTON — Once Mookie Betts went over the fence on Tuesday night, Robin Ventura knew he might end up challenging the play.
Two minutes, 49 seconds later, Jose Abreu had a two-run homer courtesy of instant replay. Though the ground can’t cause a fumble, replay officials in New York determined Betts didn’t have control of his body when he snagged Abreu’s deep drive on the warning track in right-center. Betts — who later was examined for a possible concussion — went over the fence after the catch and dropped the ball after he fell hard onto his head in the home bullpen.
“It looked like he had it, and once he went over you’re questioning it,” Ventura said. “I didn’t know if he had dropped it or not.”
But Ventura remembered a play from his own career where he slid into the dugout and dropped the ball. That memory told Ventura he should have his replay crew of video coordinator Bryan Johnson and pregame instructor Mike Kashirsky take a longer look. They quickly informed Ventura he should challenge the call.
“You always remember stuff you should have had,” Ventura said.
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Crew chief Bill Miller said first-base umpire Adrian Johnson initially called an out because Betts had the ball in his glove when he went over the fence. Because Betts had disappeared, the umpires had no way of knowing Betts dropped the ball on the ground until after Ventura asked for the replay.
“The wording we use is he has to have ‘control of his body,’" Miller said in a statement to a pool reporter. “In this case, we couldn’t tell if the ball was on the ground on the other side of the fence or not, and so that’s why we went to replay. They determined he didn’t have control of his body when he hit the fence and the ball popped out.”
Aside from Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson, like most everyone else Abreu couldn’t recall seeing any kind of similar play in his career.
He didn’t mind it, either.
“Never in my life, but it’s a welcome thing,” Abreu said through an interpreter.