There is a great debate going on in the Orioles blogosphere and on radio shows. During Saturday night's game, Orioles shortshop J.J. Hardy hit what looked like a sure home run, when Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Justin Ruggiano snatched the ball over the left-field wall and prevented the run. Seems standard, right?
Well, apparenty a fan seated in the front row in Orioles gear pulled away from the ball, allowing Ruggiano to make the play. Hardy, O's hitting coach Jim Presley, The Sun's Jeff Zreibec, and plenty of Orioles fans made it publicy clear that they were disappointed this particular fan didn't try to prevent the outfielder from making a play.
This morning on 105.7's The Norris & Davis Show, the fan called in to share his side of the story. Jamie from Glen Burnie, a 52-year-old Little League coach, said that he was the fan in question. "Yes, I could have been a Jeffrey Maier," he said on the show this morning, referring to the incident in the 1996 ALCS when Maier, then 12 years old, deflected a ball that Derek Jeter hit back into the stands so outfeilder Tony Tarasco couldn't make the out. "But I run a Little League program. I teach 400 kids and I wanted to teach them the right thing. If the ball had come over the fence, I would have grabbed it, but it was his play. To me, it would have been cheating."
Jamie goes on to say that he's been an Orioles fan since he was five years old, so this whole controversy has given him "mixed feelings," especially considering the Orioles lost that night.
Here's a video of the Hardy hit if you want to take a closer look. What do you think? Should Jamie have interfered with the ball or was he right in thinking it was Ruggiano's play to make?
[Image: courtesy of AP Photo]