The Cardinals beat the Braves 6-3 Friday night at Atlanta’s Turner Field. But a disputed infield fly rule call in the eight inning sent the game into complete chaos. It felt like you were watching a bizarre episode the Twilight Zone. Have a look…
Here is MLB.com’s official recap of the events:
The Cardinals were leading, 6-3, at the time, and Andrelton Simmons came up with runners on first and second. Simmons lifted a fly ball into short left field, and two St. Louis defenders — shortstop Peter Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday — converged on the ball.
Kozma wound up pulling up at the last second, and Holliday wasn’t in position to make the catch. The ball dropped, but left-field umpire Sam Holbrook immediately signaled for the infield fly rule. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez protested, and fans in the crowd pelted the playing surface with litter.
The umpire’s ruling meant that the batter was ruled out. Gonzalez filed an official protest with the umpiring crew, and the stadium waited while the situation was sorted out. The inning ended with a bases-loaded strikeout by Michael Bourn.
Braves fans reacted with outrage and pelted the field with bottles and cans. It was an ugly scene and the game was delayed for 18 minutes. This was not what anyone envisioned in MLB’s new one-game Wild Card round.
In the final analysis, the Braves played poorly. They made three costly errors and left ten men on base. Alternatively, the St. Louis Cardinals did everything right and they get to celebrate winning the first ever National League wild card playoff game.
However, on it’s own and in a vacuum, that was an outrageous call. I don’t believe it would have impacted the final outcome, but this is just another instance of umpiring at it’s worst.
Joe Torre wasted no time in backing up the umpire’s call and disallowing the Braves official protest. Braves GM Frank Wren withdrew the protest immediately after. It was an ominous start to the post season to say the least.