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Shorter Too Many Red Sox Fans


“Umpires should refuse to apply clear rule to bail out awful play by catcher who shouldn’t have been in game.”

I think we’ve been through this before, but few things drive me crazier than arguments that officials shouldn’t make calls in key situations because this would have been “deciding the game.” If Joyce refused to call obstruction because the run is too important or something, then he would be “deciding the game.” In fact, the game was decided by a catcher who threw to third with a 0% chance of getting the runner, a third baseman who couldn’t make a play on the ball and then obstructed the baserunner, and a manager who screwed up the game 100 ways from Sunday. I’m cheering for the Red Sox here, but these arguments are silly.

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  • Pooh

    As a Sox fan, clearly the correct call. Unlike John Farrell’s Dick Morris-level performance. Good god, what an atrocity.

    • Ni Hao Lao Wai

      Seriously. I’m not upset at all about the umps. It’s a shitty way to lose the game, but John Farrell is a Grady Little level tactical genius. Fire his ass. And thank god Salty is gone after this season. His performance in the WS has probably cost him millions of dollars.

      • John Casey

        Fire his ass.

        Took a last place team to the World Series in one year.

        Clearly an incompetent bozo, eh?

        • I think there may have been some personnel changes

          • but the most important thing that happened on the sox this season is that the guys who were largely the same – the starters – performed considerably better a guy known for working well with pitchers.

            it could, of course, have been unconnected.

  • George Lovell

    I don’t understand why the bad decision by Salty or the earlier bad decisions by Farrell have anything to do with it. It was certainly a pivotal play.
    Understand that Red Sox fans are sensitive about interference/ obstruction calls in Game 3s. The real loser tonight is Larry Barnett.

    • Pooh

      The point is that we didn’t lose because of a clearly correct interference call but because our catcher sucks, our third baseman sucks (perhaps even more than our shortstop who is the midst of an alltime bout of suck) and our manager was managing for extra innings WHILE BATTING IN A TIME GAME.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I don’t understand why the bad decision by Salty or the earlier bad decisions by Farrell have anything to do with it. It was certainly a pivotal play.

      True, but my point is that Joyce is only “deciding the game” if the call is wrong.

      Understand that Red Sox fans are sensitive about interference/ obstruction calls in Game 3s. The real loser tonight is Larry Barnett.

      Very fair. There’s an umpire who decided a game illegitimately.

      • Anonymous

        Though Fisk was never vilified this way for making a stupid throw on the Armbrister play.

        • because it wasn’t a throw to third when the runner was uncatchable and when a mistake ends the game the wrong way.

          in short, he wasn’t villified because it wasn’t nearly as dumb a play: instead, it was fisk, risking to keep the runner out of scoring position.

  • howard

    I’m happy to report the 3 sox fans with whom I watched all immediately agreed with the call and blamed salty for the throw.

    And then we reminisced about ’75.

    • jeer9

      ’75 was fucking painful – but not as bad as ’86. I spent two hours walking around the block, muttering like a mad man, after that sixth game.

      The two championships have wiped away a lot of the frustration. It’s just not the agonizing spectacle it used to be. Perhaps if they go on another 25 year drought …

      And it was the right call.

      • “…awful play by [player] who shouldn’t have been in game.”

        Buckner is out of retirement?

      • i can never think of ’86 without thinking of my friend jf, who started celebrating the game 6 “victory” a little too soon with illegal stimulants and champagne, and who then went catatonic for quite some time after the game.

  • Linnaeus

    I’m sure most of the folks here know this already, but here’s the MLB link that defines obstruction:

    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: If 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.

    It’s the right call.

    • Uncle Ebeneezer

      As I said in the other thread, from the angle I saw (at 1:55 here), it looks like the runner tripped over Middlebrooks’ butt/hip-torso not his feet. In that case I just wonder how exactly was Middlebrooks supposed to act to not get called for obstruction? Roll sideways? Stay put? Move his legs, without bending his knees? Whether he tries to get up or stay down, it would be very difficult to get his torso out of the way of the runner’s foot in real time. When Craig’s left foot gets tripped up (see 2:20), Middlebrooks is actually flat on the ground. So yeah, it may be the right call, but it seems like a fairly impossible standard for a fielder to meet, from the ground, in a fraction of a second in the heat of a game.

      But as others have noted Salty and John Farrell deserve most of the blame for the loss.

      • patrick II

        I think you can include Middlebrooks in bad decisions here. The ball from home plate was in the air long enough that he had time to move his feet and catch it fairly easily. Instead he kept his feet near third (probably in a futile attempt to block Craig) too far away from the thrown ball and ended up having to dive as opposed to just stepping to the left and cathing a low — but still in the air — throw. So he ended up missing the ball and put himself unnecessarily on the ground in Craig’s path as the play continued.

      • Manju

        I just wonder how exactly was Middlebrooks supposed to act to not get called for obstruction?

        Me too. Obviously there is much that the Framers of the Rulebook could not have foreseen.

        Therefore Umps should view the Rulebook as a living document. Scott’s hyper-literal interpretation ignores unjust outcomes. Clearly he is a fan of Mark Fidrych.

        • James E. Powell

          Scott’s hyper-literal interpretation ignores unjust outcomes.

          It is axiomatic that the Red Sox losing is always a just outcome.

        • patrick II

          He didn’t have to dive for the ball in the first place. The ball was very catchable if he would have moved his feet instead of trying to keep them in front of third, he would not have ended up trying to dive for the ball and putting himself in the obstruction position. The rule is written that way in part to stop infielders from throwing themselvs across basepaths and then be “unable” to get up in time from obstructing. It has to be called that way.

        • Joseph Slater

          The point is not what he was supposed to do; there’s no “intent” requirement — the rule specifically says that. The point was, he was obstructing the runner’s path. Even assuming for the sake of argument there was no easy way to avoid that, it doesn’t matter.

          • Crunchy Frog

            It is better without an “intent” requirement or a threshold like “significantly obstructed” – then you create situations where 50% of qualified observers think it is obstruction and 50% do not. Some subjective judgments are inevitable in any sport, but they should be kept as few as possible. In this case the line was clearly crossed – runner tripped over defensive player who was in the base path. We can argue about the defensive player’s intent – we can argue that given the prior circumstances the defensive player had no option, but the outcome and decision (as most of the posters here and everywhere else agree) are clear.

            • Col Bat Guano

              My only question is that the base path he appears to be blocking is the one between 2nd and 3rd.

              • Col Bat Guano

                Explanation from below read and understood. Please ignore.

      • (the other) Davis

        So yeah, it may be the right call, but it seems like a fairly impossible standard for a fielder to meet, from the ground, in a fraction of a second in the heat of a game.

        That may be by design, though. It seems like the point of this rule is to create the outcome that would have happened but for the obstruction. I.e., the rule doesn’t mean “Middlebrooks has to get out of the way or his team is penalized,” it means “when someone on defense gets in the way (except when fielding the ball), we’re going to try to undo the effect that player had on the play.”

        Watching the video, it seems pretty clear the runner would have been safe at home had he not tripped over Middlebrooks, which means this is pretty clearly within that purpose.

        • philadelphialawyer

          Yeah, there’s that too. But poor little Blowsock, he had no choice!

        • C.S.

          [I]t seems pretty clear the runner would have been safe at home had he not tripped over Middlebrooks . . .

          Did it? I was thinking that he would have been out regardless. But then I was also thinking that it was contact that the runner could have easily avoided. I understand it was the correct call, but it seemed to my eye that the need to make the call at all was because Craig did nothing to avoid it. In fact, it looked like Middlebrooks raised his legs at first to give Craig room to run around him. Again — correct call, but correct in the same way that a player flopping to sell a charge in the NBA doesn’t change the fact that a charge is the correct call. But it’s still a flop.

          Of course, I’m a Dodgers fan who would love nothing more than to see St. Louis lose.

      • philadelphialawyer

        Um, simply put his arms in front of him and “swim” forward? Instead, not once but twice, he raised his legs, from his knees down, up in the air Not only did that interfere with the runner in the letter of the rule as specified above, but it actually DOES show intent (not that intent is needed) to impede. And why can’t he move his body without bending his knees? Try it! Lie down on your belly…then put your arms more or less even with your head and leverage yourself forward. Your whole body, including your legs, will move, without your knees bending. And certainly without raising your lower legs. I can do this, and I’m not an athlete. And while the runner did, eventually, trip over the third baseman while he was laying more or less flat, he has to wait for his legs to go down before starting to run at all. Soooo, there was clearly obstruction in that sense too.

        As usual, Blowsox fans trying to wriggle out of their team’s suckiness and cheating. Your boy tried, intentionally, to trip the runner, and he did trip the runner. And he didn’t “have to,” he had other options, AND, intent is not even required.

        So, no “maybe” about it. It was the right call. It was not even remotely “impossible” for your third baseman to avoid, and you don’t have a leg to stand on. Your team cheated, as it usually does, but it got caught, for once. You lose, and rightly so. Deal with it. Live with it. Own it.

    • patrick II

      I think its a good rule, otherwise you would have players diving more often at errant throws and and end up “accidently” laying in the path of base runners.

    • Brett Turner

      Good quote. The last sentence is pretty much what I saw, the third baseman made a play for the ball, fell down, laid there and runner tripped over him.

      My initial reaction was that the third baseman didn’t DO anything and it shouldn’t be interference. But I can see how that would leave to an epidemic of fielders falling down in front of baserunners, and that last sentence is pretty clear.

  • Breadbaker

    There needs to be a rule that says either “the fielder who is lying down and blocking the runner can do so” or “the fielder who is lying down and blocking the runner cannot do so” because without Middlebrooks lying down and impeding Craig’s route home, Craig waltzes in with the winning run. The rule is pretty clear that baseball decided that this is obstruction regardless of intent and the decision was right.

    Just as an aside, my wife said at the time, “no one ever says that not making the call is deciding the game just as much as making the call” and she admitted that Scott proved her wrong.

    • Linnaeus

      I know intent doesn’t matter, but if it did, I’m not sure I’d give Middlebrooks the benefit of the doubt.

  • James E. Powell

    The rule is a corrective. Neither the fielder nor his team is punished for the obstruction. The umpire merely awards the base that the runner would have reached safely but for the obstruction.

    Are John Farrell, Jake Peavy, and the Red Sox Nation of Whiners arguing that even without the obstruction Craig would have been out at the plate?

    • Breadbaker

      Exactly. Those who consider this was the wrong call are basically saying the Red Sox should have the benefit of the obstruction. Except for those who believe Craig had the duty to run exactly in the right spot not to have allowed Middlebrooks to be in his way.

    • To be fair, Farrell said it was the right call.

  • Beth

    Let’s all pile on now.

  • This is almost exactly the type of call in a crucial game I wish on folk I don’t like. It would be better only if the umpire made the wrong call.

    I’m comforted from time to time by the certainty that Bo Schembechler’s last words were “Charles White fumbled before he crossed the goal line!?!?!?!?!?”

  • Murc

    few things drive me crazier than arguments that officials shouldn’t make calls in key situations because this would have been “deciding the game.”

    Last time I checked, deciding the game was the job of field officials in every sport ever. That is their first and, in fact, their only reason for existing. Without an (ostensibly) neutral third party to decide the games, we’d have chaos.

    • Completely wrong.

      Could not be wronger.

      Making sure players play by the rules, and adjudicating in-game events like fair vs foul, safe vs out, HR vs ground rule double, are the duties of the officials.

      In a perfect world, the outcome is decided by on team outperforming the other.

      If the game is decided by the officials, something has gone horribly wrong.

      In the instant case, the game was decided by horrible, ill conceived throw by the catcher.

  • Alex O’connor

    A hydrogen bond just assailed itself of another.

    Who the fcuk cares

  • It was a great game, but I was tired, and went to sleep around the 5th inning.

    And this morning I turn on the radio, and I hear about the final play.

    So, stupidly, I go to another room and turn on CNN.
    Why not ESPN?
    Why CNN?
    I don’t know, since I almost never turn to that channel anymore – they suck SOOOOOO bad, it hurts to watch.
    FOX, is evil.
    CNN, is inept.
    But, nevertheless, I did turn to CNN.

    And as proof of how inept they are, I present this final play, as evidence:
    So, the morning zoo crew is talking about the exciting play, and they finally decide to show it – AND I CAN’T SEE THE F’IN INTERFERENCE, BECAUSE THEY’RE RUNNING TWO FINANCIAL CRAWLS (ON A SUNDAY MORNING, YET!!!) AND THEIR STUPID CNN LOGO ARE BLOCKING THE LEGS OF THE TWO PLAYERS!!!!!!!!!!!

    I hesitate to ask if CNN could get any worse, because every time I’ve said that in the last 10+ years, they exceed even my worst negative expectations!

    • efgoldman

      You know you can block channels, right? There’s nothing in the tech rule that says the block only works on adult stuff you don’t want kids to see. I’ve blocked all the home shopping channels just because they’re obnoxious.

  • Scott Galupo

    Brandon Workman swung a bat last night.

    Mike Napoli did not.

    The double-switch: It ain’t rocket science.

    • Ed K

      Seriously. AL managers (and some NL fans) like to pretend it is. But really, it’s not.

  • 4jkb4ia

    I am convinced it was the right call. But as Joe Torre said, it wasn’t fair, and I am increasing Red Sox rooting in intensity for the rest of the series. Only the Red Sox lose the World Series on a play like that.

    (Interaction effect between Red Sox misfortune and primordial Busch Stadium power)

    • TT

      Only the Red Sox lose the World Series on a play like that.

      Whitey Herzog would like a word with you.

      • 4jkb4ia

        Key distinctions:

        Don Denkinger was wrong
        Umpires have to call safe or out at first base regularly

      • randy_khan

        Except in Whitey’s case, the call was wrong.

        • Scott Lemieux

          And it’s still not clear to me why Don Denkinger is responsible for the Cards being outscored 13-0 the rest of the series. I’m tired of the whining about that call. The Cards were still in a good position to win after the call; they lost because they played horribly.

          • That often seems to happen (Red Sox in game 7 after Buckner, Angels in games 6 and 7 after Henderson).

          • Hogan

            Yeah, this. One of the things professional athletes get paid for is not going to pieces when something bad happens.

          • that game 7 was the first of 4 series games i could have gotten to and haven’t, a tale whose painful details i’ll save for another time. (the only one of the four where i had a good excuse was to see cecil taylor perform instead.)

  • Ed K


  • Emily

    Deciding the game: Many years ago, during the announcement before Mariners games, fans were warned not to touch a ball in play because it might change the results “for one or both teams.” I never heard an explanation of how the result might be changed for just one of the teams, but not the other. After a while, the announcement was changed.

    • efgoldman

      After a while, the announcement was changed.

      A lawyer wrote it, I’m sure.

      • By saying, “for one or both teams,” got you thinking, and you still remember it many years later.

    • njorl

      It could happen in hockey.

  • junker

    I think we’ve been through this before, but few things drive me crazier than arguments that officials shouldn’t make calls in key situations because this would have been “deciding the game.”

    For me, this usually comes up in the context of officials not making wrong calls per se, but being inconsistent with their calls. Complaining about officials deciding games comes from a line of thought that says that while officials are obviously imperfect, at least we can expect them to be consistent.

    This recent Zach Lowe article on NBA officiating goes into this. If an official calls a certain play is called one way 99% of the time, and then changes how they call it at the end of a game, of course that is changing the outcome! A good example from that article was about Eric Spoelstra being docked a timeout for standing away from his bench. That is literally never called ever, and every coach in the league wanders away from the bench, and yet the ref decided at random to punish Spoelstra for it. So yes, that was the “Correct” call, but I don’t think it was the “right” one, and if the HEat lose that game for lack of an extra timeout, I think the fans have every right to claim that the officials changed the outcome of the game.

    Is that the case here? Baseball is my least watched sport and I only watched this one because I’m from New England and am a New England sports fan, so I couldn’t tell you. It might be the case that this call is hard to interpret because it rarely comes up and so it’s difficult to know what the “correct” call would be. But acting as though complaining about official calls, even correct ones, is automatically dirty pool is just silly.

    • SP

      This is a rare enough occurrence (bad throw to third results in fielder lying across the basepath) that it’s hard to say what the “normal” call is. However, the outcome of the play- error on a throw to third results in ball going to the outfield, runner scores- is exactly what happens 99% of the time, as shown by the fact that it just happened in the previous game. (In that case the scoring was automatic since the ball went in the stands)

      • Crunchy Frog

        While this exact situation is extremely rare the situation where a runner trips or is blocked by a fielder is rare but not unheard of. In such cases the runner is virtually always awarded the next base – the only exceptions I can remember are when no umpire saw the interference. The rule is clear on this. There is no provision for “if, in the judgement of the umpire, the runner would probably have been safe” or similar. The rule is: runner obstructed, runner gets next base.

        And that’s why the umpiring crew applied it so quickly without discussion. The 3rd base umpire made the ruling, the home plate umpire saw it and immediately called the runner safe although he’d clearly been tagged before the plate.

        • patrick II

          Sorry Crunchy, but I think you are wrong. The third base ump called obstruction right away, but the home plate umpire did not call him safe at home until he saw it was reasonably close and probably would have scored without the obstruction.
          After the game Joe Torre cited a play with (First name?) Tajeda where Tajeda stopped and pointed at the obstructer rather than continue on. He was called out because he did not try to advance and was tagged and would not have scored, not because he was obstructed with.

          • Crunchy Frog

            Fair point – when I said the home plate umpire “immediately” called him safe I meant immediately after he touched home plate – the home plate umpire didn’t award him the next base until he’d completed the trip to the next base.

            However, what I was trying to say was that it wasn’t in doubt – the home plate umpire never showed any sign of calling him out.

  • Davis

    It’s controversial at all. If Joyce had called Craig out after tripping over Middlebrooks, there would have been hell to pay, especially if the Red Sox had ended up winning the game.

    In a one-run playoff game, Jeffrey Maier interfered with a catchable fly ball, but Rich Garcia called it a home run, and the little cheater was hailed in NY (“Angel in the Outfield”). Yes, I’m still pissed off.

  • Anonymous

    So here’s my question: how can it be obstruction when the runner appears to trip over him on the infield grass? (You know, out of the basepath?)

    • Hogan

      It was right by the base, nowhere near the grass.

    • SP

      I don’t know- which play are you talking about, since the one last night happened entirely on the dirt around third base?

      • Anonymous

        Fine whatever, it’s aligned with the infield grass. If you look at a wider shot, or watch the video in real time, when he steps over him, he steps onto the infield grass. In that picture he’s like two feet away from the inside of the bag, toward the second base side. How does the runner have the right of way there? He’s not anywhere near the baseline toward home. If he stays in the baseline where he should have been running, he’d barely even be over Middlebrooks’s left foot.

        • Argument 3: Craig was out of the baseline when the contact occurred, so no obstruction could take place. This was Farrell’s biggest beef; he thought Craig veered toward the middle of the field slightly before making his way home.
          End of Argument 3: The baseline is not defined by the foul line or even the basepath. It is defined by the direction the runner is headed. In this case Craig had only just begun to head home when he was tripped by Middlebrooks — and even then he has three feet to each side that defines his area of the basepath. Craig was in his defined basepath when Middlebrooks tripped him.

          Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/mlb/news/20131027/world-series-game-3-red-sox-cardinals-obstruction/#ixzz2ixGvN9b0

          • Anonymous

            And thank you, for a straightfoward answer.

  • SP

    I’m glad you note that he’s “like two feet away from the inside of the bag” since MLB rule 7.08 states: “Any runner is out when — (a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely”
    2 < 3. Next question?

    • SP

      MLB rules are easy. Using “reply-to” is hard.

    • Anonymous

      Oh for fuck’s sake. I actually initially wrote 2-3 feet, but changed it because it was just an approximation on my part. Like how sometimes I describe a guy’s dick as “I don’t know, four inches?” but don’t have an actual measuring stick to be sure just how small it actually is.

      The point is, he appears to be well inside the baseline to me, and I think it’s a legitimate question to ask whether obstruction should be allowed there. Obviously, you disagree.

      • philadelphialawyer

        Not a legitimate “question.” All the rules on point are clear, including the baseline rule, which was quoted chapter and verse to you and clearly covers the situation last night, even as you described it.

        Not a “you tbink/I think,” reasonable people can “agree” or “disagree” or agree to disagree or matter of opinion.

        The call was correct in every particular.

        Case closed.

        • Anonymous

          Jesus fuck. When I said “it’s a legitimate question” I was talking mainly about my very first post. You know, before I knew exactly what the rule was. And when I said “obviously you disagree”, I was referring to the attitude that even asking the question in the first place was out of line.

          It’s still a judgment call to determine exactly how far away from the baseline the runner is. Most of the times it’s easy to tell – the runner is on the chalk or several feet onto the grass. But the umps aren’t equipped with measuring sticks or lasers or whatever the hell else one might use to measure the distance between two things, nor are we here at home.

          All I said was he looks pretty far outside the baseline to me. Could be two feet. Could be three. I DON’T KNOW. I’m not even saying he definitely is, just that it’s a legitimate question to at least ASK. Why is this such a problem?

          • philadelphialawyer

            The runner was in the baseline under the rule. There was no “judgment” call. He was in the baseline. Period. So, no, it is not “legitimate” to question that. You yourself gave an estimate of his position which puts him well within the baseline. So, again, what is there to “question?”

            You are just making excuses and looking for something, anything, to bail out your horrible team.

            Your boy cheated and got caught. No exception here. There was no “judgment” call, no room for reasonable disagreement or “legitimate questioning.” Nothing.

            Cut and Dry. You lose. As you should.

  • Pro-tip: lasers. Easier to carry around than measuring sticks, and much more accurate.

    • SP

      Was that for measured the 2-3 feet issue or the 4-inch issue?

      • Well., Lee did use the word “tip.”

  • dave

    What makes the call bad is actually that Craig fell on his own, putt his hands on Middlebrooks’ back, and then fell over him.

    Craig did not “trip” on Middlebrooks, he tripped over him. The only contact was by Criag bracing himself. After that he makes no contact whatsoever with Middlebrooks.

    This means two things:

    1. He wasn’t actually obstructed (unless you count the contact initiated by Criag’s initial stumble)

    2. He would have been out at home anyway because hiss tumble wasn’t caused by Middlebrooks.

    I don’t really blame the umpires because in real time it sure looked like Criag tripped on Middlebrooks. But knowing that Craig’s trip wasn’t caused by Middlebrooks means that Criag would have been out at home anyway and should have been called out.

    I would also add that the location of the play is problematic. Criag takes a step towards second base and then stumbles over Middlebrooks in a place on the diamond where a fielder would normally be out of the way of a runner. Criag’s weird route to home is what lead to the contact.

    I would also note that Nava was interfered with by an umpire on his way to retrieve the ball. had he not been so impeded, Craig would have been out by even more and the obstruction would clearly not have mattered.

    My biggest problem with the rule is that it forces the umpire to predict what would have happened without the obstruction. I am fine with that in extreme cases where the runner is safe our out by a wide margin. The problem is that on a play like this, there’s no way for an ump to be certain that the run would have scored. I think the ump should have the discretion to return the runner to third base if he can’t be sure that the runner would have clearly been safe or out. This is especially true where the interference is not clearly negligent or intentional.

    • philadelphialawyer

      Completely wrong on all counts.

      The runner, who was in the baseline, stumbled over the third baseman, who was in his way.

      As the third baseman was not in the act of fielding the ball, that is per se obstruction.

      And there need not actually be any contact between the two for there to be obstruction. Even though, contrary to your erroneous claims, there was.

      The umpire is considered to be part of the field, and his “obstruction” means nothing.

      The baseline is defined as the shortest path, with three feet on each side, of where the runner is and the next base. It is not defined by what you consider subjectively to be “normal.”

      And, even if intent was required, which is isn’t, the third baseman not once but twice raised his lower legs up, as if to purposely block the runner even more.

      The rule is fine as it is. And it was correctly applied.

      • dave

        Nice lawyer trick of attacking my stray observations (as if they were arguments) first before addressing my actual arguments.

        Also: reading comprehension fail.

        1. I didn’t say the runner was out of the baseline. I was just noting the oddness of the play in that Craig was several feet inside the bag, an area where runners don’t usually run. Third basemen will often stand in that area so as to avoid obstruction on a typical scoring play because runners never run there. I know this isn’t relevant to the letter of the rule.

        2. I think there does actually have to be contact. Certainly, I’ve never ever seen an obstruction call where the runner successfully avoided a fielder. if the runner doesn’t make contact, how can we say he has been obstructed? You should watch the replay again. The only contact I see is when Craig puts his hands on Middlebrooks’ back in order to try to right himself after his initial stumble (possibly also in order to prevent Middlebrooks from retrieving the ball). After that, Craig Steps over Middlebrooks and continues his fall.

        3. I know that the umpire’s “obstruction” of Nava has no legal bearing on the play, I am just noting it is an observation of the overall fairness of the outcome of the play and that it actually factored into the outcome even with the obstruction call.

        4. I know where the baseline is. I didn’t argue that he was out of the baseline.

        5. I didn’t say anything about intent.

        The issue I have with the play is that, after watching slow-mo replay, I don’t think Middlebrooks made any contact with Craig. The only contact I can see occurred when Craig put his hands on Middlebrooks back in an attempt to keep his balance and/or prevent Middlebrooks for retrieving the ball.

        If this was the only contact then (1) I don’t think that should be considered obstruction and (2) even if it was, it had no bearing on Craig’s fall, which was occurring with or without Middlebrooks.

        The rule requires the umpires to make a judgment as to the outcome of the play absent obstruction. In my opinion, the outcome would have been unchanged – Craig out by a mile.

  • The ump was wrong on several counts, not least of which is a base runner shouldn’t benefit from upending a player, and then run over said player (in fair territory no less) while he attempts to get up to continue fielding his position.

    Sorry. It was runner interference with the fielder, he’s out.

    • philadelphialawyer


  • quercus

    As a Red Sox fan, I’m not complaining about the umpires enforcing semi-obscure rules; I’m complaining that they’re picking and choosing them. I mean, if they’re going to enforce 7.06 then why not an even more obvious 6.08(b)(2) earlier in the game (which was equally game-changing as the runner scored)? Or for that matter, it would have been nice to correctly apply 2.00 (the definition of the Strike Zone).

    The worst thing about the call — though the best for the plate umpire — was that everyone was talking about the interference instead of the horrible, horrible plate umpiring. Strike zone wavered somewhere between the inside and outside edge of the batter’s box, and the most obvious example of not trying to avoid a pitch that I’ve ever seen (even Fox commented on it) was ignored (hell, that would have been a strike the way he was calling the game..)

    • philadelphialawyer

      Please. You don’t like the plate umpire’s strike zone, plus, you think he missed another call, so, for those reasons, he shouldn’t call obstruction when it obviously occurs? That’s some fancy logic you got there, pal!

      • quercus

        philadelphialawyer: I think you might have some kind of bug in your browser.
        Looking at my post with Firefox, I can clearly see the “not” in between “I am” and “complaining about enforcing”.
        I assume that’s what’s going on, because I’d hate to think a lawyer couldn’t see the difference between “X should not have been enforced” and “Y should have also been enforced”.

  • njorl

    It’s interesting how meekly the first runner was tagged out at the plate. He didn’t run over the catcher. He didn’t try to hookslide to make the catcher work for the tag. He didn’t even go for his legs like runners do to break up the double play at second.

    If he had done any of those things, there wouldn’t have been a throw to third.

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