John Lanahan Jr. was spending Sunday afternoon at St. Agnes Hospital with his father, who was recovering from an allergic reaction. The two Orioles fans planned to watch the game against perennial favorite Boston Red Sox.
Then disaster struck. As the game went into extra innings — ultimately, 17 in all — WJZ interrupted the broadcast at 7 p.m. to show "60 Minutes." The hospital did not offer the cable station MASN, which carried the remainder of the game.
The father and son missed out on the culmination of what is arguably the most memorable game of the O's season so far — in which designated hitter Chris Davis pitched two scoreless innings and the Orioles won, 9-6.
"We were both pretty disappointed that we couldn't watch the end of the game," the 36-year-old accountant said. "It was a classic. And they cut it off. It is going to go down in baseball history, and we missed it."
Many Orioles fans — who had been watching the game since it started at 1:35 p.m. — were miffed Sunday when the game was interrupted. MASN was carrying the game, and "60 Minutes" was featuring hometown swimmer Michael Phelps — but the damage had been done.
"I thought it was pretty bad," said Lanahan, an Arbutus resident. "They only put a handful of games on TV to begin with. It just stinks when they can't put on the whole thing."
The interruption set off a firestorm of Twitter comments.
"WJZ about to be flooded with angry calls after switching away from the Orioles-Red Sox in the 15th to go to 60 Minutes," one tweet predicted.
"Boo to WJZ for not recognizing #orioles magic!!!," another person tweeted.
Even Kevin Gregg, a self-described "casual Orioles fan," said he was "crushed when CBS switched away from the fantastic O's game against Boston."
The Baltimorean griped that "60 Minutes" is "routinely delayed during the NFL season but not for a baseball game.
"This double standard is unfair to the baseball fans — both diehard and casual," the 51-year-old Lauraville resident said. "It was frustrating. I don't have cable TV. I cannot receive MASN Orioles network."
He added: "Can you say 'double standard'? It just isn't right."
Contacted Sunday night, WJZ spokesperson K.C. Robertson said the station chose to "give the vast majority of viewers a choice."
"Viewers were alerted via a lower-screen crawl before 7 p.m. that those viewers who wanted to see the game's conclusion should switch over to MASN," Robertson said. "Those who wanted to see '60 Minutes' particularly the high local interest story on Baltimore Olympian Michael Phelps, were alerted to watch '60 Minutes' on WJZ."
Robertson said that WJZ alerted viewers of the final score with a lower screen crawl.
He said he did not know what reaction — if any — WJZ received Sunday evening.
"I can't speak to that," he said. "I'm not there. I'm not tuned into that."
Orioles fan David Jones, 28, watched the entire game from his Elkton home. He wasn't affected by WJZ's decision because he watched the game on cable. But he said he felt bad for the fans who missed out on the ending.
"They missed one hell of a game," he said. "It was up and down the whole extra innings. It was just phenomenal, edge-of-your-seat type game."
Sun critic David Zurawik contributed to this article.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun