Out of the corner of his eye, Wil Myers said, he could see Desmond Jennings parachuting in from center field.
But Myers was already tracking the ball, shades down, glove in the air, hand out to call Jennings off.
“I ran back for the ball and waved Desmond off,” Myers said. “I should have taken control of the situation.”
How he lost track of David Ortiz’s deep fly ball and let it drop in for a ground-rule double was hard for the 22 year-old rookie outfielder to explain, but it was the breaking point the Rays 12-2 Game 1 ALDS loss to the Red Sox and the low-point in an ugly five-run fourth innings that sent the game spiraling out of their control.
“I feel it changed the demeanor of the game,” said Myers.
The immediate question was whether he heard someone — Jennings, a fan, someone in the Red Sox bullpen — call him off. But he didn’t.
“I didn't hear anything from their bullpen,” he said. “I didn't hear anything but the crowd yelling. It was my fault. I was calling for the ball. I messed it up. I should have made the play.”
Neither did Jennings.
“The whole crowd thought David Ortiz hit a home run,” Jennings said. “Everybody's yelling. It's not really much you can hear anyway. I didn't hear anything.”
From that point on though, he heard the crowd stretch his name out into a sing-songy taunt, “Myyyyers, Myyyers.”
“My teammates were behind me,” Myers said. “They told me to shake it off.”
But along with the botched fly ball, Myers was left to sulk in an 0 for 4 day.
“I couldn't tell if that was getting to him,” said Rays starter Matt Moore. “He didn't let any of us know.”
The play was a microcosm of a wholly uncharacteristic day for a Rays team that finished the regular season with the second-fewest errors in the American League.
“We didn't play our best game tonight,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We've been playing very well. We've not been making any mistakes. We made a bunch tonight. mistakes will kill you. We're normally not the team that makes those kind of mistakes. We did tonight.”
Myers said he would try to put it behind him.
“I’ve just got to brush it off,” Myers said. “You can't let that effect you.”