FanDuel - WFBC

October 27, 2013

Cards Win Game 3 Through Game-Ending Obstruction Call: The St. Louis Cardinals took a 2-1 World Series lead over the Boston Red Sox, winning game 3 by a 5-4 score when Will Middlebrooks was called for obstruction at third base on Allen Craig. "It was the first time in World Series history that a game ended on an obstruction call, but third-base ump Jim Joyce absolutely got it right," writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Fellow scribe Jon Heyman offers more on the call.

posted by rcade to baseball at 10:09 AM - 55 comments

The home plate umpire has been absolutely atrocious this game, but I think if the Sox lose it'll be on Farrell for that dipshit move of pulling Doubront for a PH. He let the NL rules outsmart him; it makes more sense to have let Doubront hit and make an easy out, then go out and continuing another inning (since the Cardinals aren't as good against lefties) since you'll have the top of your order with a clean slate. What's the point of PHing Gomes in that spot? Best case he hits a homer, but even if he gets on then you're batting with two outs.

Because he pulled him, we got Breslow imploding, and then you have the mediocre Middlebrooks not playing the line on that Holliday double. This would still be a 2-2 game if he left Doubront in, or possibly even if Middlebrooks had been playing the line better (hell, that was a potential triple play ball if he'd been positioned correctly).

posted by hincandenza at 11:15 PM on October 26

The always common "walk-off obstruction call"!

posted by grum@work at 12:14 AM on October 27

Here is the official rule about obstruction. Please note the bolded final sentence:

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and
not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.

Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered "in the act of fielding a ball." It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the "act of fielding" the ball. For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

I'm just glad that Joyce pointed at the obstruction immediately and made the call when he did.

posted by grum@work at 12:16 AM on October 27

For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

Very likely? Wow. Been a long time since I've read the rules. Had no idea they were written that badly.

posted by justgary at 12:24 AM on October 27

It's like MLB quickly wrote that in and said "Here, look!"

posted by BoKnows at 12:32 AM on October 27

It's like MLB quickly wrote that in and said "Here, look!"

Ha! Right call or wrong call, Farrell would have probably blown it anyway. What a terribly managed game.

posted by justgary at 12:34 AM on October 27

Oh man, I'll be shocked if Craig didn't twist both ankles and lose a testicle on that utterly graceless slide into "the area around" home plate. The invisible pizza strikes again.

posted by phaedon at 01:03 AM on October 27

What a stupid ending. From everything I've seen it was the right call but that doesn't make me feel any better about it. There are no heros when an umpire ends the game.

posted by tron7 at 01:18 AM on October 27

The other thing that should be pointed out is that if Molina hadn't slid into home like a little girl - two feet short of the plate and with no contact - Saltalalala would never have tossed the ball back to third.

And the Cards should've also put in a pinch runner for Molina earlier in the inning, his fat ass could only make it to third on the previous play.

I mean it was a real clusterfuck of mistakes. I'm also sick of starting pitchers getting pulled mid-inning because of pitch counts. The Cards were in really bad shape until rookies Rosenthal and Wong basically saved the day. Meanwhile it looks like Kozma is desperately trying to Bill Buckner every fucking game.

I love playoff baseball. Go Cardinals!

posted by phaedon at 01:49 AM on October 27

I still think that was a bullshit call, in that the umpires should be like NFL refs in the last quarter of the Superbowl, where nothing short of a shanking in the end zone is getting a personal foul/interference call; as tron7 said, you should err on the side of "let 'em play" unless something is too flagrant to ignore. St. Louis might still win this game, but I'd rather it be on a clear single than on a questionable call of interference.

And in my alternate universe, Papi hits his 3rd HR of the series in the 10th to win it. :(

I suppose by the letter of the rule it's somewhat understandable, but that post-game PC where Joyce says Craig was right at the chalk was nonsense. Craig had plenty of room, and I don't think Middlebrooks was trying to interfere but rather trying to stand up, and it happened too fast to really be considered interference (in my opinion) because it's not like he was laying there on top of Craig or impeding his movement. Craig actually stepped towards second before turning and running over WMB himself, pushing down on his body before he tripped- after which he should have simply held up at that point when he tripped. The ruling of "very likely" means it's a judgment call, and part of 7.06b says that the player can then advance at their own risk- which is exactly what Craig did. I can't imagine what more WMB could have done there, other than teleport away; if he tries to stand up he is called under the same rule, if he stays down for another second he is called under the same rule, and if he moves his legs so as not to block the baseline, he is called under the same rule.

That play aside... this is turning into a pretty ugly series all around; no one is looking particularly covered in glory, Boston or St. Louis. Farrell's managing was Grady Little levels of stupid this last game, and if the Sox defense wasn't throwing the ball around like a bunch of little leaguers, they're up 2-1 or even 3-0 in this series. When Farrell pinch-hit for Doubront, I and all of SoSH were screaming about the stupidity of that, and he almost got lucky enough for us to forget that among the other bad decisions he made. What is it about NL ball that makes AL managers stupid? They over think things and try to get cute. In a close game, the multiple outs a good pitcher delivers is worth far, far more than the single at-bat difference between a .100 hitter and a .250 hitter, especially when there are already 2 outs on the board in that half inning.


I can't believe Boston has basically lost the last two games on ill-advised throws to third; the Saltalamacchia throw was horrible, he should have held on to it with Kozma up next and two outs, just like Breslow on Thursday. But that said... jesus, a couple of plays go differently and the Sox have those wins, and we're talking about the fact that the Cardinals have been pretty awful in the field themselves. It's like the Three Stooges playing the Keystone Kops for the World Series Championship out there!


Breslow and Saltalamacchia ought to be benched for the rest of this series, barring a laugher of a game where they're filling in so others can get a rest. I'd like to see Ross behind the plate, Bogaerts at third, Drew at SS- but only because as bad as he is hitting, there isn't really a better option other than the experiment of Napoli at third and Bogaerts at short, because right now the Sox need to be hitting. They had a chance to win this last game with only 6 hits, but that isn't working. Also Bogaerts needs to be further up in the order, he's just too damn good this series (and only 21) in particular his ability to work a count and have solid at-bats.

Boston needs to come out slugging in game 4, and put up a laugher like in game 1, because a best of 3 with two in Boston to finish is very winnable. They snuck by Detroit with no hitting, but that luck has run out.

posted by hincandenza at 02:36 AM on October 27

the Saltalamacchia throw was horrible, he should have held on to it with Kozma up next and two outs, just like Breslow on Thursday.

Before you get all worked up about how shitty your Sox handled the situation, I would like to remind you that the Cardinals, with one out, only had runners on second and third. There was no force-out at home. So the question is, who the fuck green-lit Molina? Because with Pedroia playing extremely shallow, and with the ball going straight into his glove, this had keep your fat ass at third written all over it.

You also have to keep in mind that Yadier Molina (and his brother Bengie) are already world-famous for their shitty baserunning. If you look closely, Craig doesn't immediately take off for third. Why? Because he isn't a moron like Molina.

So the fact that Molina's huge gaffe at third resulted in a run is truly an act of God. I mean, the guy didn't even slide into the catcher; instead he comes to a dead stop two feet in front of the bag. Without that shit performance, Saltalamacchia would never have attempted the heads-up double play.

But Saltalamacchia's throw to third sailed right, causing Middlebrooks to crash into Craig. Hard to imagine Saltalamacchia playing tomorrow. But if you think about it, it's St. Louis third base coach Jose Oquendo that really deserves to be canned. I doubt Craig would have made it home even without the obstruction.

And say what you will, but that was definitely obstruction. Middlebrooks sticks his cleats up and flounders on the ground like a fish out of water for a half second before tucking his knees in and sitting up.

posted by phaedon at 03:59 AM on October 27

I'd say it's questionably obstruction; Craig got up and moved back towards 2nd and Middlebrooks before heading home, so if we were going to be all "strict constructionist" about this then he either should be awarded third- the next available base once he headed to 2nd briefly- instead of home, or he should have been ruled out for not touching third.

But what we agree on is that neither team is making smart moves. It's weird, they each have 2 rings in the last decade, yet you'd think they were both rookie teams tasting post-season glory for the first time, what with all these yips, miscues, and thoughtlessness.

posted by hincandenza at 04:22 AM on October 27

Craig got up and moved back towards 2nd

Two reasons why I think you might be wrong on this one:

#1: Why would Craig ever want to run back to 2nd? When in the history of baseball - without a runner in front of them - has a player slid into third and made it to the bag and then got up in order to run back to second? To accomplish what? He's either safe or he isn't.

#2: Craig slid into third with his right leg first and his body facing the infield. He also got nailed in the arm by that throw - you can see Middlebrooks never even got his glove on the ball - and then he had Middlebrooks fall on top of him (all of this at 2 minute mark of this video). So in reality, he wasn't turning to second, he was simply getting up at an angle that happened to be facing second base. He looks back down the foul line to see where the ball is, never once looking at second. Since the ball ricocheted off his arm and into foul territory, he appears to be look back into the outfield where he thinks the ball should be, and then takes off. Not sure he sees it. Oquendo is probably yelling in his ear to fucking run home. Still no reason to even consider taking off for second.

It's weird, they each have 2 rings in the last decade, yet you'd think they were both rookie teams tasting post-season glory for the first time

Yeah well let's not forget St. Louis has made it back to the World Series in one year without Pujols and LaRussa, and the Red Sox are without, well, Francona.

posted by phaedon at 04:49 AM on October 27

#1 Wasn't there a Kansas City game earlier this year where a player stole second, then (thinking he was out I guess?) ended up running back to 1st. Craig looked disoriented for a second, like he wasn't sure where to go/what to do until he scrambled over Middlebrooks to head home.

# 2 I'm not saying he was heading to 2nd; I'm saying that if you want to be "strictly by the rules", when he got up he was moving in the direction of 2nd (he was after all running for third, so a runner could opt in that case to head back to 2nd) so the next logical base was third.

The point I'm making is that the call is basically a bad call to make in that case, and from my understanding is a judgment call ruling- and thus one where the umps should have let them play on.

posted by hincandenza at 05:23 AM on October 27

The point I'm making is that the call is basically a bad call to make in that case, and from my understanding is a judgment call ruling- and thus one where the umps should have let them play on.

There is no chance they don't call that obstruction if they see it happen. With Middlebrooks kicking up his feet, Craig falling down over top of him, and then being thrown out at the plate, it has to be called.

If they don't call the play (given that the last sentence in the rule is exactly what happened, changing "ground ball" with "thrown ball"), then there is even more controversy of the non-call.

They would have been rewarding Middlebrooks/Salty for a shitty play (bad throw and terrible catch attempt).

For example: an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner.

Very likely? Wow. Been a long time since I've read the rules. Had no idea they were written that badly.

The reason it's "very likely" is that in this instance if Craig had tripped over Middlebrooks, took a step to home, and then tried to dive back to third and was tagged out there, then they DON'T call it obstruction since Craig made no real effort to advance on the bases. Because Craig continued home and was out, the obstruction call is correct.

Side note: It looks like Craig re-injured himself on the play.

posted by grum@work at 07:55 AM on October 27

The reason it's "very likely" is that in this instance

Does the rule actually say that? If not, again, badly written rule.

Joyce said (Middlebrooks) he was "right on the chalk"

I see no reason to doubt this man's judgment.

posted by justgary at 08:13 AM on October 27

Here's the play just for reference:

posted by justgary at 08:24 AM on October 27

Wasn't it the Cardinals that got the better of the infield fly rule controversy a couple of years ago? Man, god must be a cardinal fan.

Bottom line, the Red Sox had 2 outs and the best closer in the game on the mound. The throw should never have been made. And Ross should have been the catcher, which I said before the game.

posted by justgary at 08:27 AM on October 27

The reason it's "very likely" is that in this instance

Does the rule actually say that? If not, again, badly written rule.

It's already been interpreted like that.
In the playoffs, no less.
In favour of the Boston Red Sox.

The 2003 ALDS between Oakland and Boston. Here's the recap (from someone who found it):

Erubiel Durazo scored, tying the game. And as Miguel Tejada raced around third, he clearly ran into Sox third baseman Bill Mueller. The contact did not escape Welke, who pointed at Mueller, ostensibly calling interference.

Tejada, meanwhile, thought home plate was his automatically, so he stopped running hard, pointing back at Mueller and Welke. Left fielder Manny Ramirez threw home after fielding the ball and Varitek slapped a tag on Tejada who, much to his surprise, was called out by Emmel for the final out of the inning.

That's when the argument erupted as the Sox ran off the field.

Obstruction was called (rule 7.06), and because, in Welke's judgement, Tejada would not necessarily have scored, he was running to the plate at his own risk, a judgement that seemed highly questionable.

posted by grum@work at 08:31 AM on October 27

It's already been interpreted like that.

I'm aware of that play.

Again, the fact that you have to point to a play to show how the rule is interpreted instead of actually showing me the rule shows that its badly written.

Or is the rule intentionally vague to allow it to be interpreted per case?

posted by justgary at 08:36 AM on October 27

Eh, never mind. Shitty way to lose a game, but the throw should never have been made. Gonna stick with that.

posted by justgary at 08:40 AM on October 27

Hey, wasn't that Jim Joyce who made the call at third base? Wasn't he the guy who made that botched call that cost a pitcher a perfect game in the ninth inning last season?

posted by NerfballPro at 08:45 AM on October 27

Hey, wasn't that Jim Joyce who made the call at third base? Wasn't he the guy who made that botched call that cost a pitcher a perfect game in the ninth inning last season?

Yes, that's the same umpire, but unless you're a time travelling person, that was over 3 years ago (June 2010).

Or is the rule intentionally vague to allow it to be interpreted per case?

Yes. The part I quoted from the rule is written that way.

posted by grum@work at 08:49 AM on October 27

Yes, that's the same umpire, but unless you're a time travelling person, that was over 3 years ago (June 2010).

Yep, I know better than to argue with the grum. I had the right game, the pitcher (Armando Galarraga), but had the date wrong. Though I could've sworn it happened not so long ago. Guess the chronometer in my TARDIS needs repair.

posted by NerfballPro at 08:53 AM on October 27

Here's the transcript from the conference with the umpires.

posted by justgary at 09:07 AM on October 27

I was at the game last night and must admit it was the most bizarre ending to a game I have experienced personally (duh). The crowd really didn't know what to make of it -- instead of the standard eruption you get on a walk-off, most people seemed pretty confused (followed by being pretty happy, obviously). For what it's worth, I saw Joyce point out the obstruction right away (I was on the third base side, just past the bag in the lower level) and knew that Craig was probably going to be awarded home (although honestly thought it was automatic, without reference to whether the run was likely to score -- although I do think healthy Craig likely scores on that play without the interference, not sure about current Craig).

What's a shame is that lost in this is that Allen Craig actually had a monster 9th-inning clutch hit off of one of the best closers in baseball (who seems to be bordering on unhittable at present); shame that the indelible memory of him from this 9th inning will be of him stumbling and bumbling down to home. My abiding memory of that game, aside from the 9th, will be the squandered opportunities of the Cardinals. They had a man on third with no outs in two different innings (including once with the bases loaded) and failed to score each time. Exciting game, but not a particularly well-played game.

posted by holden at 09:08 AM on October 27

What's a shame is that lost in this is that Allen Craig actually had a monster 9th-inning clutch hit off of one of the best closers in baseball

There's a lot of shame to go around. The Red Sox came back twice from two runs deficits, the second time in the 8th inning on the road against the Cardinal closer, 21 year old Xander Bogaerts had a great game, Pedroia made a great play to get the runner at home.

Biggest shame of all is that the Red Sox have lost two games in a row because of bad throws to 3rd. It would be nice if they started, I don't know, making the Cardinals beat them instead of giving the game away?

posted by justgary at 09:19 AM on October 27

Good stuff holden, thanks. If the Cardinals go on to win in 5, the incident will be lost to history. If they win in 7 though . . . it's a mark of how successful Boston sports have been recently that the city isn't on fire. The rule's the rule, just hate to seem a game end on a ruling, but that's why they're the judges and I'm the law-talking guy.

posted by yerfatma at 09:51 AM on October 27

... if we were going to be all "strict constructionist" about this then he either should be awarded third- the next available base once he headed to 2nd briefly- instead of home, or he should have been ruled out for not touching third.

That's a bizarre rule interpretation. He touched third when he slid into it. You're suggesting that if a runner steps towards second as he's scrambling to run home off of third base, he's obligated to touch third again?

posted by rcade at 10:27 AM on October 27

Heroic Cripple Allen Craig. How very bloody Cardinals.

posted by etagloh at 11:13 AM on October 27

... if we were going to be all "strict constructionist" about this then he either should be awarded third- the next available base once he headed to 2nd briefly- instead of home, or he should have been ruled out for not touching third.

I'm pretty sure that 99% of the players that slide into third base, get up, and then run home are going to plant their left foot on the baseline between 2nd and 3rd and begin running to home. To call that as "heading to 2nd" is not "strict constructionist", but "surreal interpretative".

posted by grum@work at 11:52 AM on October 27

So the question is, who the fuck green-lit Molina?

I would have. There's very little downside if both runners are going on contact.

Here's the transcript from the conference with the umpires.

The video in that link, a press conference with the umpires and a guy with a copy of the rulebook with a backdrop stating world series, is pulled directly from my nightmares.

posted by tron7 at 12:08 PM on October 27

Funny, the simplest solution would've been for Middlebanks to just catch the ball. Especially after gm2, you'd think the coaching staff would've stressed the idea of 'catching/blocking the ball first, apply tag second'.

That said, Farrell did not have his best defense on the field, and the result proved that.

It was a tough call, but it was the right call.

Quoted from a Red Sox fan regarding GM1 fubs by the Cardinals: "I understand being upset, but from what I've read they almost seem to insinuate it shouldn't have been overturned. This wasn't a borderline call. And though it's disappointing, I can't imagine anyone not believing getting the call right is more important.

The cardinals should forget about the corrected call and the mystery substance and just play better. They're a good team. I'm sure we'll see that before the series is over."

The Red Sox should just play better.

posted by BoKnows at 12:30 PM on October 27

Quoted from a Red Sox fan

Dude, you can use my name. I'm not sure if you're saying I'm a hypocrite, but I stand by those words. And everything I've written in multiple places said that the Red Sox made mistakes that cost them the game.

From this thread:

Shitty way to lose a game, but the throw should never have been made. - a Red Sox fan

Biggest shame of all is that the Red Sox have lost two games in a row because of bad throws to 3rd. It would be nice if they started, I don't know, making the Cardinals beat them instead of giving the game away?

Did you miss that?

I don't see a way to get around calling obstruction. That said, when a rule says 'very likely', when it's a play that you don't see very much, when the play has so many variables happening, I see no problem with it being discussed.

In game one, he simply didn't catch the ball. There's no rule to debate, no interpretation of the rule. I don't see the direct correlation between those two calls at all, and I'm not sure how you took my previous comment regarding the Cardinals as an insult.

posted by justgary at 01:08 PM on October 27

Dude, you can use my name. I'm not sure if you're saying I'm a hypocrite, but I stand by those words. And everything I've written in multiple places said that the Red Sox made mistakes that cost them the game.

I didn't use your name because I didn't think it mattered. Those are some good words (bold) that can be applied all over the sports world in times of controversy.

And no, I didn't miss your other comments at all - I think you have a very solid understanding of why the call was made the way it was. Like it or not, it was the right call. I think you've also done a great job of pointing out the other factors that contributed to the gaffe.

And I'm not comparing those two exact plays - I'm suggesting that better play, by both teams in their respective flubs, would significantly reduce the bullshit little league baseball we've seen during this series.

I think Farrell mismanaged the game. I think Salty made a bad decision. I think Middlebrooks 1st priority was the ball - he seemed to be glued to the bag.

Unfortunately for the BoSox, all those things put WMB in a position that he could do nothing to prevent.

posted by BoKnows at 01:29 PM on October 27

Ah, sorry, I understand you better now.

I think Farrell mismanaged the game. I think Salty made a bad decision. I think Middlebrooks 1st priority was the ball - he seemed to be glued to the bag.

Unfortunately for the BoSox, all those things put WMB in a position that he could do nothing to prevent.

Agree with all this. And...

1) Salty should never have made the through. Horrid decision. 2) Middlebrooks has got to catch the ball, knock it down. 3) Farrell allowed the pitcher to make the second out in the ninth inning, and then replaced him in the ninth inning. 4) Napoli, who can hit a home run at any time, never got off the bench.

Salty, Farrell, and Middlebrooks should be thankful the call was made. Most of the questions and attention after the game was on the call, and not their incompetence.

posted by justgary at 01:35 PM on October 27

And really, aside from all of that, it was a pretty flipping good baseball game.

posted by BoKnows at 01:37 PM on October 27

Won't soon forget it, that's for sure. I think the two teams are pretty close, and so far the difference has been which team hurts itself the least. It'll be interesting to see if that continues.

For the Red Sox part, we're sending out a pitcher tonight who has a dead arm, so naturally I'm expecting great things.

posted by justgary at 01:43 PM on October 27

The best is Farrell letting Workman bat (with Napoli sitting on the bench) and then relieving him one out later.

posted by phaedon at 02:13 PM on October 27

I suppose by the letter of the rule it's somewhat understandable, but that post-game PC where Joyce says Craig was right at the chalk was nonsense. Craig had plenty of room...

Craig got up and moved back towards 2nd...

You saw the same things I did, hincandenza. If you interpret the move by Craig as deliberately putting himself into a position where he would be sure to run into the fielder, then there should have been no obstruction called. While it would require some real imagination on the part of Jim Joyce thus to ignore the contact, he probably could have sold it. Of course, to call it against the Cardinals in St. Louis is a real stretch. Calling it against the Cardinals in Fenway might have been possible., but not very likely. This is on the level of "probable cause" vs "reasonable doubt" in a courtroom.

To me, it looked like Craig stepped toward 2nd just to get his feet arranged in the right position to run or get back to 3rd, depending on where the ball ended up. Had he stayed near the chalk, he had an open path to the plate, would have been out by 10 feet instead of the 15 by which he should have been out without obstruction, would have won the bonehead of the game for trying to score on the play (had Boston come back), and in general had the St. Louis fans yelling about the obstruction.

A couple of things about obstruction: I was taught always to look for it whenever there was a play that involved an unusual situation. Things like a rundown, fielder in the base path making a play, fielder out of a normal position (such as lying on the ground), and things like that. Another thing involves the definition of the base line. It has nothing at all to do with chalk marks. Generally the baseline is established by the runner's position with respect to the base at the time a fielder is ready to make a play upon him. Look at how often a runner rounds 3rd, goes well into foul territory, and is then involved in a play at the plate. If the play is up the line toward 3rd, the runner might be 5 or 6 feet into foul territory, but his base line is the direct line between where he is when the catcher receives the ball and the plate. It is from that line, not the chalk line, that "running out of the base line" is determined

posted by Howard_T at 04:38 PM on October 27

Had he stayed near the chalk, he had an open path to the plate, would have been out by 10 feet instead of the 15 by which he should have been out without obstruction

That sentence confuses me. But if the umpire felt the runner would not score anyway, they could have ignored the obstruction.

JIM JOYCE: Our determination is whether or not he could have scored or not. And Dana immediately came up with, he saw me make the call. And as soon as Craig slid into home plate, Dana immediately pointed down at me knowing that we had obstruction and it impeded Allen to score the run, essentially. Dana did a great job on installing that right away. Dana did a great job signaling that right away.

JOHN HIRSCHBECK: And that's the last, most important part of this rule, is that the umpire has to determine ‑‑ if what you saw tonight happened and he's out by 20 feet, then the umpire determines that if the obstruction had not occurred, he would have been out, okay? But since it was right there, bang, bang play, obviously that's obstruction, definitely had something to do with the play.

One of my initial problems with the play was that the runner had an open line from 3rd base to home, if he actually stayed in the direct path. But he takes a big step towards 2nd before coming home. Of course, doesn't matter because the runner determines his path home.

JOHN HIRSCHBECK: Don't forget, the runner establishes his own baseline. If he's on second on a base hit and rounds third wide, that baseline is from where he is, way outside the line, back to third and to home plate, it's almost a triangle. So the runner establishes his own baseline.

I've just come to see it as one of those weird things about baseball. A rule that almost seems inadequate for what happened, but is all we can go by. Baseball is a strange sport. In this case, the umpires use the letter of the law. When we had the debate about the infield fly rule a couple of years ago, my case was that the reasons we have the infield fly rule weren't applicable to that play, and the umpire doesn't have to call it. Others didn't care.

And yet we umpires with their own determination of the strike zone. Just one of those quirks about baseball that I love, but can bite you in the ass.

My biggest problem with the press conference is Joyce being so adamant that Middlebrooks was 'on the chalk". And of course, he wasn't. But that's neither here nor there.

JIM JOYCE: He was right on the baseline. He was right on the chalk. And so that never played into any decision, at all, because he was ‑‑ he had slid, stood up, and he was literally right on the chalk.

posted by justgary at 05:35 PM on October 27

What was the infield fly rule situation you're thinking of? Because my understanding is that it's a pretty good rule, designed to prevent a fielder intentionally dropping a ball to get two outs instead of one. If he drops the ball, the hitter is still out, and the runners may stay, or advance at their own peril- but don't have to. You could also make a case for eliminating it, since how is it different than another double play? But I've not heard of a case where the infield fly was called poorly.

posted by hincandenza at 06:06 PM on October 27

Dave Cameron has a nice writeup today at fangraphs, which sums up my opinion: I'll begrudgingly concede the call was to the rules, while steadfastly insisting that it's a terrible rule if it means simply by not catching the ball, Middlebrooks sealed his fate no matter what happened next.

posted by hincandenza at 06:15 PM on October 27

What was the infield fly rule situation you're thinking of?

Here.

--------------

Cardinals still processing chaotic win

The Red Sox were dazed and Wainwright said he completely understood.

"As a baseball fan, you hate to see a game end like that," Wainwright said. "Obviously I'm on the Cardinals, so I'm fortunate the rule is the way it is. And you hate to say it, but he impeded the process of running home. But I totally understand why Red Sox players would be upset about that. That is just a horrible way to lose a baseball game, no question about it, especially after such a great play by Dustin at second."

posted by justgary at 06:17 PM on October 27

To me, it looked like Craig stepped toward 2nd just to get his feet arranged in the right position to run or get back to 3rd, depending on where the ball ended up. Had he stayed near the chalk, he had an open path to the plate, would have been out by 10 feet instead of the 15 by which he should have been out without obstruction, would have won the bonehead of the game for trying to score on the play (had Boston come back), and in general had the St. Louis fans yelling about the obstruction.

I guess I don't understand this sentence. If there was no obstruction, Craig would've been safe by 15 feet. The obstruction was the reason it became a bang bang play.

posted by BoKnows at 06:33 PM on October 27

The other point I think that needs to be thrown in: When this play occurs at 2nd base - because of a baserunner stealing from 1st, and a shortstop trying to apply a tag (that went into center) - would this still be such a discussion? Or would it just be acknowledged that the runner moves to 3rd?

If not, then I don't see how a rule change is needed. If the anger or question of the rule only occurs by fans in big games (read: WS GM3), then it's just sour grapes.

posted by BoKnows at 06:41 PM on October 27

But I think in that play at second, the SS and runner get tangled for a moment on the attempted catch and tag, the ball sails into CF, and then the runner gets up and heads to third at his own peril based on where the ball went... and no one calls obstruction on the momentary and unavoidable disentanglement of the two players, unless the SS appeared to make a special effort after the slide to delay the runner. Otherwise, every single missed catch on a stolen base would automatically be entitled to third if the runner was even remotely close to beating the tag at third. And how many times do you see that called?

From a gameplay perspective, neither Molina nor Craig should have made an attempt at home in the first place, even though the second throw was monumentally stupid, and had not Nava made a great backup and throw, Craig scores easily as well.

posted by hincandenza at 06:48 PM on October 27

And how many times do you see that called?

Rarely. No question. But based on the unavoidable (pun intended) offseason discussion, we may see it called much more. Or not at all.

....unless the SS appeared to make a special effort after the slide to delay the runner

But that's exactly not the rule. Intent and/or special effort does not matter. And I think that's the hard part to understand. Why don't we see this rule called more often? Because it rarely happens. But that doesn't make it less than a rule.

Anyway, it was only GM3. Lots more to be played. Good luck to all, fans of both teams. I believe these are the two teams that deserve to be in this series. Win or lose, I freaking love this game.

posted by BoKnows at 07:25 PM on October 27

Saying that the Red Sox have thrown away two games, while technically true, also undersells the Cardinals' efforts/actions in getting in a position for that to happen. Getting runners on base and then the double steal in Game 2, getting 2nd and 3rd with one out vs. Uehara last night, although one of those runners was Workman's. (Although sending Molina was questionable, it, coupled with Craig advancing, obviously put pressure on Boston's defense.). It seems to me that the focus on the deciding play obscured some really questionable managing by Farrell (obviously mentioned by a couple of folks above, though).

This series is actually reminding me a bit of the 2006 Cards-Tigers series, where I think Tigers pitchers had at least one error in each game. Just has been kind of weird and sloppy, where sloppy plays have decided or contributed to the outcome of all 3 games (as a Cards fan, I will be somewhat delusional in thinking that Game 1 would have gone differently had Wainwright gotten that double play to get out of the first with no runs, rather than the Kozma error).

I will say that the ending of the game last night, as noted above, was bizarre from a live fan experience in terms of just trying to figure out what happened and how to react. Reaction was generally "Oh no!" followed by fireworks out in centerfield followed by "Woooo? I guess?" My two oldest sons can tell their kids someday that they were at the only World Series game decided on a walk-off obstruction call, cause I bet it ain't happening again. What a weird and beautiful sport this can be.

posted by holden at 08:26 PM on October 27

Saying that the Red Sox have thrown away two games, while technically true, also undersells the Cardinals' efforts/actions in getting in a position for that to happen.

Speaking for myself, when I use that phrase I'm not slighting the other team. A team might make mistakes, but the other team has to take advantage of them. And both the Cardinals and Red Sox have done that.

In the two Red Sox losses, the Cardinals forced the Red Sox to make plays they failed at. No doubt. When I say the Red Sox threw away games, that's just coming from a Red Sox fan view point. And really, all I'm saying is they're better than what they've been playing. And you can't do that against a talented team like the Cardinals and expect to win.

posted by justgary at 01:07 PM on October 28

some really questionable managing by Farrell

There has been a lot of that. I wonder how much being a pitcher/ pitching coach comes into it and whether he resists listening to his bench coach or if he's getting bad advice. He has a bit of Captain Bligh about him. None of which has me pining for Bobby V.

posted by yerfatma at 02:45 PM on October 28

some really questionable managing by Farrell

Yes. Then in Game 4, you start to question his decision (Lackey et al), and lo and behold it works. Now he's a bloody genius. In other words, when it works, you are brilliant. When it fails, you are the dumbest SoB in the game. That's what makes sports so much fun.

posted by Howard_T at 05:10 PM on October 28

In other words, when it works, you are brilliant. When it fails, you are the dumbest SoB in the game.

Eh, some decisions. Matheny has gotten a lot of criticism for bringing in a ground ball pitcher instead of a strikeout pitcher to face gomes. He was hoping for a double play. If he gets it, brilliant call.

But some decisions, allowing your pitcher to hit in the top of the 9th in a tie game while one of your best HR hitters never gets in the game, and then taking him out in the bottom of the 9th after a runner gets on, is a brain dead move. It doesn't matter if the pitcher hits a HR. That's luck, and still an awful decision. There's been a few of those this series.

posted by justgary at 06:15 PM on October 28

Eh, some decisions. Matheny has gotten a lot of criticism for bringing in a ground ball pitcher instead of a strikeout pitcher to face gomes. He was hoping for a double play. If he gets it, brilliant call.

When Maness faced Gomes, there were two outs. Not sure why Matheny went to a ground ball specialist when the guy at the plate Ks over 30% of the time.

posted by holden at 06:29 PM on October 28

Matheny has gotten a lot of criticism

Here's Cardinals fan Will Leitch's contribution.

posted by yerfatma at 09:02 AM on October 29

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.