Did Vuvuzela-like Horns Cost Marlins a Baseball Game?

France was the first World Cup team to complain about vuvuzelas, the cheap plastic horns that are a tradition at soccer games in South Africa. The team claimed the constant droning, compared to a hornet's nest, messed up their communication. You would have thought that other sports would have realized supplying horns to fans wouldn't be a good idea, but go ask the Florida Marlins.

Major League Baseball's Florida Marlins handed out 15,000 air horns on Saturday. While not identical to a vuvuzela, they were still annoying enough. They may have caused the Marlins to blow the game.

The air horns were a promotion to capitalize on 2010 World Cup fever. The horns were as noisy as vuvuzelas, but not the same shape or length. That is a real vuvuzela pictured above.

What happened? It appears the horns caused a miscommunication between Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez and home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale. The game ended 9-8 in the 11th inning, with the Tampa Bay Rays hanging on for the win.

In the eighth inning, Hanley Ramirez injured his hamstring. He was replaced by Brian Barden before the ninth inning. However, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez thought Barden was batting ninth. Umpire Lance Barksdale had marked Barden on his official lineup card as batting third. When Barden walked in the ninth, he was called out for batting out of turn.

Naturally Gonzalez argued, and after a long review, Gonzalez was ejected.

“Lance confirmed it with Fredi before he left to go back into the dugout,” crew chief Tom Hallion said said. “And that’s all we had to go by then.”

After the game, Gonzalez insisted he was in corrent, and Barksdale had made the error. Did the horns have anything to do with it? Possibly.

As Hallion added: “It was the most uncomfortable baseball game I’ve been a part of in a long time because of that. Whether that (the horns) had anything to do with it, I don’t know, but it could have. When’s the last time you heard something like that at a baseball game? Never. You don’t see this kind of stuff at baseball games.”

Not sure what a real vuvuzela sounds like? Listen to the sound here.

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