Two seemingly harmless fly balls fell for hits in the first three innings of the Rays’ 8-7 victory Wednesday as Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones, right fielder Tyler Collins and second baseman Ian Kinsler were confused by the shouts from the Tropicana Field stands.
The source of the Tigers’ confusion wasn’t miscommunication between the fielders. If anything, it was overcommunication on the part of a fan in the Tropicana Field stands yelling “I got it!”
“It’s fair game, if you’re a fan. I’m not the blaming fan or anything. He’s within his rights to do that. We have to make the adjustment,” Ausmus told reporters Thursday, according to mlive.com.
Since outfielders have the right to call off infielders on fly balls, Kinsler assumed his teammates were doing so Wednesday night and backed off.
“I just got out of the way,” Kinsler said Wednesday, according to mlive.com.
Ausmus told reporters it was a first for him in the major leagues. He said the sparse crowd at Tropicana Field on Wednesday (the announced crowd was 12,281) also contributed to the effectiveness of the fan’s shouts.
“I think the acoustics of Tropicana Field helped and the fact that there’s not a huge number of people sitting in the stands,” Ausmus said, according to mlive.com. “Most of the time, when you have a decent-sized crowd, it’s all kind of white noise. All the noise kind of mixes together and nothing really stands out.”
The Rays won Wednesday’s game after a throwing error by Jose Iglesias allowed two runs to score in the ninth inning. The Tigers shortstop stumbled while trying to turn what would have been a game-ending double play, and instead his error cost Detroit the victory.
“Weird ending. I really didn’t see the collision. I was following the ball,” Kinsler said Wednesday. “I threw maybe to the inside of the base. It’s a tough play. We were trying to turn it fast. The whole game was kind of strange.”
Iglesias was held out of Thursday’s game against the Rays with concussion-like symptoms. He collided with a sliding Brad Miller on the game-ending play.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.