During the ninth inning of Monday's 6-2 loss to the Phillies, it momentarily looked like Brian McCann had snuck a two-run homer down the left-field line off Ryan Madson. McCann's opposite-field liner hit off the left-field foul pole. But because it hit below the gold paint, third-base umpire Chad Fairchild correctly ruled the ball to be in play.
"The toughest part of the call was whether it was fair or foul," Fairchild said. "Whether it was a home run or not wasn't the tough part."
After Chipper Jones, who was running toward third base on the play, and third-base coach Brian Snitker immediately objected, Braves manager Bobby Cox ran on the field and asked for the umpires to look at the replay.
Crew chief Jeff Kellogg and his crew briefly discussed what they'd seen and determined that they didn't need to use the replay system that was implemented late last month.
"There was no doubt in our minds that the call was right," Kellogg said. "If there was any doubt in any of our minds, we'd have looked at the replay."
Above the left-field wall at Citizens Bank Park is a short aluminum fence that balls must travel over to be deemed a home run. The gold portion of the foul pole begins at the height where that fence ends.
McCann's ball landed against the green portion of the pole.
"Everybody thought it was a tough call because they didn't know the ground rules," said umpire Mark Wegner, who was stationed at first base.
After hearing the explanation Kellogg provided after conferring with the other umpires, Cox didn't prolong the argument. His team had surrendered four runs in the bottom half of the eighth inning to allow the Phillies to gain a four-run lead.
"It didn't cost us that game," Cox said. "If it would have been a game winner, you've got to argue to review it, and I think they would have."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less