ST. LOUIS — Sportscaster Vin Scully apologized Wednesday for making a bad call about "fan interference" in Game 1 of the National League playoffs and touching off a controversy that went all the way to Missouri's governor.
"I was wrong," Scully said during NBC's telecast of Game 2. "If to err is human, you are listening to a very human person. But I do figure that forgiveness has to be here in a city named after a saint."
Scully said Tuesday night that a fan's interference took the ball out of play and robbed the San Francisco Giants of a run in the opening game, won by the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-3.
Scully's call in the eighth inning brought scores of phone calls to radio stations and made a celebrity of the fan who grabbed the ball hit by Candy Maldonado--after it had become an automatic ground-rule double. It also prompted a call from Gov. John Ashcroft.
With runners on first and third in the Giant eighth, Maldonado's hit bounced into the left-center-field stands and was ruled a ground-rule double, with no indication of fan interference.
Both runners crossed the plate, but Jeffrey Leonard was ordered back to third base.
Reporters at the game paid little attention to the play, but NBC, reportedly on orders from executive producer Michael Weisman, ran at least a half-dozen replays.
"Maybe their replays showed something different, but we called it a ground-rule double all the way," said Mike Shannon of KMOX radio.
But Scully and color commentator Joe Garagiola discussed the significance of the run that was "robbed" by the fan throughout the remainder of the game.
Ashcroft said he phoned Scully and explained the purpose of a wire basket just below the top of the 10-foot-high outfield wall at Busch Stadium.
A Cardinal spokesman said the basket extends three feet, making it virtually impossible for a fan to interfere with a ball still in play.