Fans’ debris-throwing reaction to close call: ‘There is no excuse for that’

Game 1 of the Braves’ 3-0 loss to the Phillies in the National League Division Series Saturday was delayed as fans threw beer cans and water bottles on the field following a close call late in the game.

The incident was similar, to a lesser degree, to the one 11 years ago when the Braves were on the wrong end of an umpire’s controversial decision.

In the eighth inning, the Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto batted with the bases loaded and a 2-0 lead. With a 3-2 count, Braves reliever Pierce Johnson delivered a pitch that Realmuto fouled off. Home plate umpire Brian O’Nora called catcher’s interference on the play signifiying that Realmuto’s bat hit the glove of Braves catcher Sean Murphy.

Following a Braves challenge and review, the call was upheld and a run was forced home, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead.

Just as play was about to resume, fans in the right and left field stands threw cans and bottles onto the Truist Park field. The game was briefly delayed as the litter was picked up by the grounds crew.

Braves manager Brian Snitker took umbrage with the fan reaction.

“We are out there,” Snitker said. “There is no excuse for that. I’ve been on the field when that’s happened, it’s scary because when those water bottles when they come, they are like grenades. It could really seriously injure one of our players. That’s uncalled for.”

Nick Castellanos grounded out to end the inning once play resumed.

On Oct. 5, 2012, the Braves lost to the Cardinals, 6-3, in a win-or-go-home wild card game at Turner Field. Sam Holbrook was the left field umpire. With runners at first and second with one out in the sixth inning, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons popped up to left field. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma was backing up and called for the ball, but he halted at the last moment. The ball landed in the grass just behind Kozma and in front of confused left fielder Matt Holliday. But Holbrook had called the infield fly rule.

Fans showered the field with beer bottles and cans following the call that caused a lengthy delay and was not a good look for Braves fans.

Concerning Saturday’s incident, all involved agreed that catcher’s interference was the correct call.

Murphy: “I didn’t feel it, but I think he nicked me.”

Realmuto: “I caught the ball a little deep, like I made a swing decision a little later than I normally do, so my swing was a little deeper and I nicked his glove. I heard it and felt it and the umpire did, as well.”

Snitker: “All I had was the big board. I looked and Murph didn’t say anything. I don’t know that a hitter reacts like that. I happened to quick for a guy to react like that if it didn’t happen. But I couldn’t tell off the video (board).”