Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Twins fan has hand in first MLB instant-replay reversal

ST. PETERSBURG — Tim Nielson didn't even get to keep the souvenir from his 30th birthday trip. Perhaps he'll get an asterisk in the Baseball Encyclopedia.

Or he'll settle for the distinction of being involved in the first instant-replay reversal in a major-league baseball game, awarding Rays slugger Carlos Pena a three-run home run in the fourth inning.

Pena's drive over the yellow-painted barrier above the wall in right-centerfield was initially ruled a double and the play halted on fan interference, indicating umpires thought Nielson had touched the ball in play. Replays confirmed that Nielson made contact — or vice versa — well above the barrier, and crew chief Gerry Davis emerged from the third-base dugout after a delay of 4:10 to award Pena his 31st homer of the season.

"It was clearly above the yellow line," Nielson asserted.

Instant replay has been used to settle fair/foul and home-run calls three times since being introduced midseason, twice at Tropicana Field. A home run by Alex Rodriguez over the leftfield foul pole was confirmed Sept. 3, as was a Hunter Pence double Sept. 9 in Houston.

Nielson, a Denver native and Twins fan, wife Amy, brother-in-law Eric Ulferts, sister-in-law Gretchen and 7-month-old Titus were in town for one day, resplendent in Twins blue and red, to watch one game as an early birthday junket. They had moved down a few rows to the empty seats 9, 10, 11, 12 early in the game. While Nielson made a play for the ball, the rest of the party blanketed Titus, with Gretchen Ulferts thinking, "Somebody better catch that ball."

"I'm sitting here and I even play baseball a lot, and it was like the longest fly ball coming straight to me that I'm camped under — and my glove is in the car," Nielson said. "So the ball's coming straight at me, and I know I can't reach over the fence, but I still want to make a play at the ball, and instead of cupping it with two hands, I just used one and … it was right on top of me."

Twins fan has hand in first MLB instant-replay reversal 09/19/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 22, 2008 9:58am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bucs have chance to beat Vikings in their third stadium


    Here's a cool sign that the Bucs are getting up there as an NFL franchise: If Tampa Bay can win Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, it will mark the first time the Bucs have posted road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.

    TIMES ARCHIVES (2012) | Bucs RB Doug Martin runs during Tampa Bay's 36-17 win at the Vikings in 2012, in what was then called Mall of America Field. If Tampa Bay wins Sunday, it will mark the first time they have road wins against the same NFL opponent in three different stadiums.
  2. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem


    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  3. Matt Peca making case for Lightning spot


    Center Matt Peca said he didn't read too much into the fact he was the only Lightning player to appear in each of the first three exhibition games.

    But Peca, 24, loved it.

    Matt Peca won nine of 10 faceoffs Friday, a skill the Lightning badly needs.
  4. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests


    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  5. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018


    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.