Controversial call to conclude a World Series game involving the Cardinals? You better believe the Cardinals were on the benefitting end. Voodoo magic, and the Cards are now up 2-1 in the series.
- The play, which you can watch here (and grainy, Bigfoot shot to the right), saw the Cardinals with men on second and third and one out in the bottom of the 9th, tied 4-4. A grounder to second results in a runner thrown out at the plate. The catcher throws to third to try and nail the guy advancing from second. That throw gets away from the third baseman, who goes to the ground in the attempt to make the catch. The runner, now trying to score from third, trips over the third baseman. The runner’s progress is impeded slightly, and he’s then thrown out at home to end the game. But obstruction is called, and the runner, Allen Craig, is awarded home. Game over. Walk-off voodoo win.
- Was it the right call? My reading of the official rule, and the comment thereto, says it was: “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.” That is, essentially, what happened. It’s bad luck for the Red Sox, as I don’t think Will Middlebrooks was *trying* to obstruct, and I don’t think he really had any chance to get out of the way.
- Kris Bryant did the AFL a favor and took the day off yesterday, leaving Albert Almora, Jorge Soler, Wes Darvill, and Lendy Castillo there for the Mesa Solar Sox to pick up the slack. They did not, and it was a 6-1 loss. Almora went 0-4 with a K, Soler went 1-4 with a double, Darvill went 1-3 with a double (those two doubles were the only extra base hits for the Solar Sox, as the pitching on the other side was dominating), and Castillo threw a scoreless inning (1 BB, 1 K).
- CSN Chicago looks at the state of “closer” in the Cubs’ organization, and aptly notes that it’s not like the Cubs – from a philosophical standpoint – feel like they have to go out and get a “proven” closer. A veteran reliever or two that may have been a closer in a previous life? Sure. There can be value there.