ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Colabello's drive off Rays reliever Andrew Bellatti in the seventh inning might have been a home run, but the Blue Jays designated hitter had to settle for a triple. That's what happens when Tropicana Field's infamous rings get involved in the action, which they did in Toronto's 8-4 win Friday night.
Colabello hit a ball that prompted Rays left fielder Joey Butler to hold out his arms while looking up, as if to ask, "Where is the ball?" Seconds later, Butler found out: The ball fell to the field some 30 feet away from where he had camped out to haul in the drive. By the time Butler got the ball to the infield, Colabello slid into third base with his first career triple.
Given the action of the play, Tom Hallion's umpiring crew wisely called for a review.
For those not educated in the semantics of Tropicana Field's ground rules, any fair ball that hits one of the lower catwalks, a.k.a. "D" or "C" rings, is an automatic home run. If a fair ball strikes the "B" ring, it is in play. Based on where the ball landed on the field, it clearly hit something.
Unfortunately, one of the more difficult plays to review is that of a baseball that disappears into the abyss of the rings. When conclusive evidence could not be found that the ball struck the "D" or "C" rings, the ruling was that the call on the field stands.
"Yeah, they couldn't tell anything about what catwalk it actually hit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "That's what's crazy about playing here. They checked, but I don't think there's any cameras up there that are focused on that."
Colabello then scored on Russell Martin's home run to push the Blue Jays' lead to 8-4.
Butler had already cleared out by the time reporters were in the Rays' clubhouse. Center fielder Brandon Guyer said he could not see what the ball hit, but he added that Butler told him the ball hit the "B" ring, which means the right call was made.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.