Fan channels his inner Bartman in halting potential Nationals rally

The stakes weren’t nearly as high as they were during the 2003 National League Championship Series, but a young fan did his best Steve Bartman impression Sunday afternoon in Washington.

With two outs and the Seattle Mariners holding a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, the homestanding Nationals were mounting a rally. With two runners on base, Luis Garcia lifted a fly ball down the left field line.

Mariners outfielder Jonatan Clase sprinted into the corner, where there’s very little foul territory between the field and the elevated bleachers. Clase leaped and hit the padded side wall with his glove outstretched and grabbed … nothing but air.

That’s because a youngster with a glove – and a Mariners shirt – reached out over the railing and caught Garcia’s ball on the fly before it ever got to Clase.

Third base umpire Dan Bellino called fan interference on the visiting fan. The ruling was upheld by replay. And the Mariners were out of the jam.

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MLB Rule 6.0(e) says: ‘If a spectator clearly prevents a fielder from catching a fly ball, the umpire shall declare the batter out.’

What the rule doesn’t say, but is perfectly clear after the Mariners took their 4-1 lead to the top of the next inning, it doesn’t matter what jersey that spectator happens to be wearing.

The score would hold, and they would go on to defeat the Nationals, 9-5.

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