Giancarlo Stanton opens AL wild-card game with massive homer ... or so everyone thought

·3-min read

Look, when Giancarlo Stanton hits a baseball extremely high and extremely hard, it's usually a given that ball will be leaving the outfield.

The New York Yankees outfielder's power is a modern legend and it looked like another chapter had been written when he hit a towering fly ball to left field in the first inning of the American League wild-card game. Fenway Park's Green Monster is infamous for swallowing home runs, but this was one looked crushed.

Unfortunately for several involved, especially Stanton himself, the fly ball was not a homer. It hit the higher part of the Monster and bounced back in play, where Red Sox left fielder Alex Verdugo was there to make a quick play.

Multiple broadcasts thought Giancarlo Stanton hit a HR

Stanton's fly ball fooled a number of people, from the player to the crowd to the broadcast booth. 

It clearly fooled Stanton, who broke out a casual home run trot on what would turn out to be a ball in play. The result was one of the season's hardest-hit singles, a red-faced Stanton on first base and no first-inning runs for the Yankees. Joey Gallo struck out swinging to end the inning one batter later.

It fooled ESPN play-by-play announcer Matt Vasgersian, who exclaimed "Oh he got another one. He got another one!" before he realized the ball had bounced back in play.

Most of all, though, the ball fooled Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, who provided a call several degrees more boisterous than Vasgersian: 

The transcript of a call that Sterling would most likely want to take back:

"The pitch to Stanton, drilled! There it goes. Deep left, it is high, it is far, that is gone. Out of the ballpark! A Stantonian home run ... now what did I do wrong? What did I see wrong? He's at first base."

Amazingly, this isn't the first time this season Sterling has called a home run that wasn't. A replay of a previous Aaron Judge home run tricked the veteran announcer into thinking it was the real deal in July. In that case, it was easy to blame that fact Sterling had to call the game remotely, but there was no such excuse on Tuesday. Sterling was definitely in the stadium.

There was no such error to be made in the next half inning, however, as Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts' fly ball definitely landed in the center field stands.

The first inning was only the beginning of an eventful game for Stanton. He nearly homered again in the sixth inning, only to hit the Monster and watch Aaron Judge get thrown out at home on a questionable send by third base coach Phil Nevin. And then he homered for real in the ninth inning, but that wasn't nearly enough to prevent the Yankees from being eliminated.

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