There is no question that Alex Rodriguez’s fourth-inning shot hit a television camera just over the railing near the rightfield foul pole, and thus per the ground rules, was correctly reviewed by the umpires and judged a home run.
The question is, why was the camera put in such a position that it was partially in play? In short, while it was conclusive that the ball hit the camera, the intent of the ground rules, and the ‘primary directive’ for judging their application, is: what would’ve happened if the camera, or the fan’s hand, or whatever, had not been there.
It certainly was not conclusive that if the camera had not been there, the ball would’ve gone into the stands, nor hit the top of the railing and bounced back into play. The camera lens seems to have been projecting a few inches past the railing. It should not have been placed there, for the exact reason brought into focus by the Rodriguez homer. It acted like a fan reaching over the rail and interfering with the natural descent of the ball.
This should’ve been a no-brainer. All it would’ve involved was placing the camera a foot further back. It’s startling that the umpires and the stadium officials who routinely survey all potential obstructions at a Series game, two hours or so before first pitch, didn’t see the problem. And more lightly, it is continually amazing that the game of perfect distances can be so precise that a 350-foot blast is either a home run, or just a double, on the basis of a camera lens about four feet in diameter sticking out only about half a foot too far.