World Series 2013: The Fall Heard ‘Round The World


Oct 26, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals designated hitter Allen Craig (21) scores the winning run on an obstruction call even though Boston Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (39) gets the tag on him during the ninth inning of game three of the MLB baseball World Series at Busch Stadium. Cardinals won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Being an official in any sport is difficult. 95% of the time, the calls are obvious and easy to make. It’s the 5% during a game that can make the difference. The impact of these can be bigger than people would anticipate.

Last night, the St. Louis Cardinals won Game 3 of the World Series 5-4 on the most bizzare play in postseason history. In fact, it’s the first time in postseason play that a game as ended on an obstruction call.

Red Sox fans are upset about that. I understand that frustration. This is the World Series. No one wants a game to be decided by the umpires. Umpires don’t want to decide a game. However, in this situation, they had to. Jim Joyce was the umpire who made the initial obstruction call. If you recall, Jim Joyce was the umpire who blew the call in 2010 that ruined a perfect game for Armando Galarraga. If Jim Joyce is making a call, people are going to assume that he made the wrong call. Jim Joyce did make the right call.

“Middlebrooks didn’t intent to get in Allen Craig’s way!”

That doesn’t matter. As a former official myself, I can’t assume intent. The rules are the rules. I don’t know what another person’s intention is during a play. Middlebrooks’ intention could have been to stop Craig but make it look incidental. In that split second, I have to make that call. I have to follow the rules because once I let one thing go, I lose control of the game.

If I were a Red Sox fan, I would be more upset at my players who for the 2nd straight game threw down towards 3rd base and missed. This allowed the game winning runs in both Game 2 and Game 3 to occur. If I was John Farrell, I would tell my pitcher and catcher to just hold the ball at home and do not throw down to 3rd base. The Cardinals will be aggressive on the base path waiting for you to make a mistake. Your team made the mistake and suffered the consequences.

Game 3 was an outstanding baseball game that unfortunately will have the legacy of the fall heard ’round the world.

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