NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez was called out for interference
when he swatted at Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo's glove and
knocked the ball loose during a play near first base in the eighth
inning of Game 6 of the AL Championship Series Tuesday night.
With one out and Derek Jeter on first after his RBI single cut
Boston's lead to 4-2, Rodriguez hit a grounder down the first-base
line that Arroyo fielded. While Arroyo ran toward Rodriguez to tag
him out, the Yankees third baseman stuck out his left hand and
slapped the pitcher's glove. The ball was knocked loose and rolled
down the right-field line. Jeter came all the way around to score
and first-base umpire Randy Marsh ruled Rodriguez safe.
"That was unprofessional. That's against the rules," Boston's
Kevin Millar said. "If you want to play football, strap on some
pads and go play for the Green Bay Packers."
First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz and other Red Sox players argued with Marsh,
saying that Rodriguez interfered with Arroyo. Boston manager Terry
Francona also came out to argue the call, and the six-man
umpiring crew -- plate umpire Joe West had a clear view of the play
-- convened to discuss it.
"I didn't know what the ruling was at first," Arroyo said. "I
knew what he had done, but I wasn't sure it was legal. He hit my
arm and jolted the ball loose."
According to Section 6.1 of the MLB Umpire Manual, "While
contact may occur between a fielder and runner during a tag
attempt, a runner is not allowed to use his hands or arms to commit
an obviously malicious or unsportsmanlike act."
The umpires decided to change the call, ruling that Rodriguez
was out on interference and Jeter had to go back to first base.
Replays clearly showed that Rodriguez intentionally stuck out his
"Years ago, that process wasn't used all the time," Marsh
said. "It's better for the game, it's better for umpiring, it's
better for the league."
According to Rule 2.00 from the Official Baseball Rules, "If
the umpire declares the batter, batter runner, or a runner out for
interference, all other runners shall return to the last base that
was in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of
"The umpires got it right. That's the beauty of it," center
fielder Johnny Damon said. "If they got it wrong, who knows what
situation we'd be in."
Rodriguez, who reached second base on the play which was
originally ruled an error on Arroyo, stood at second with both
hands up in apparent disbelief.
"I was kind of perplexed by it," Rodriguez said. "I don't
know what I was trying to do. I know he was coming and I know that
the line is mine. They said I could've run him over, but I went out
of my way. Looking back at it, I probably should've just run him
The Red Sox went on to win 4-2 and force Game 7 on Wednesday
Some angry fans in the crowd of 56,128 at Yankee Stadium threw
baseballs, empty drinking cups and other trash onto the field and
Francona wanted to pull his team off the field.
"I wasn't really worried about the trash," Arroyo said.
"Trash was the furthest thing from my mind. I was just worried
about getting a new ball and pitching to Sheffield."
Yankees manager Joe Torre then came out and argued the call
"Arroyo was in motion, too," Torre said. "It's not like he
was just standing there."
The game was delayed for about 10 minutes while the play was
More objects were thrown onto the field in the top of the ninth
inning, and an announcement was made telling fans to not throw
Kevin Hallinan, senior vice president of security for the
commissioner's office, went on the field and spoke to security
personnel. Police officers, wearing helmets, then kneeled
shoulder-to-shoulder down both foul lines in an attempt to prevent
any further incidents. The officers left the field for the bottom
of the ninth.
"It was a big momentum changer," Rodriguez said. "I don't
want those umpires to meet anymore because every time they meet, it
goes against the Yankees."