A Sad End To Another Era Of Braves Baseball

Tonight is a very disappointing night for Braves fans.  It was the sudden death wildcard playoff game to determine who will face the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.  We were hoping to keep the Braves alive as this is future hall of famer Chipper Jones’ last season.  It looked like all things were turning towards the better….until this:

The Braves thought they had the bases loaded with one out after the ball dropped between two fielders, who appeared to get mixed up over who had called for it. But left-field umpire Sam Holbrook, who has 11 1/2 years of major league service and previously had worked four playoff series, called Andrelton Simmons out under the infield fly rule — even though the ball landed at least 50 feet beyond the dirt.

When the fans realized what had happened, they littered the field with beer cups, popcorn holders and other trash, leading to a 19-minute delay as the Cardinals retreated to their dugout.

“It was scary at first,” St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina said. “I’ve never seen that before.”

That only delayed the inevitable. When play finally resumed, Brian McCann walked but Michael Bourn struck out to end the threat. Dan Uggla grounded out with two aboard in the ninth to end it, leading to one more wave of trash throwing as the umps scurried off the field — probably feeling a lot like those replacement NFL refs who caught so much grief.

The infield fly is a complicated rule, designed to prevent infielders from intentionally dropping a popup with more than one runner on base and perhaps get an extra out.

No one ever could remember it being applied like this.

However, Chipper is being classy and not pinning the loss that ended the Braves’ season, and his career, on a seemingly bad call by the umpires:

“That one play didn’t cost us the game. Three errors cost us the game,” he said. “We just dug ourselves too big a hole.”

I’m willing to say that we’re disappointed by the result of the game, but I know those of us here at Peach Pundit offer this:  Thank you, Chipper!  We’ll miss you.


  1. seenbetrdayz says:

    I’ve been saying all along that I think it would be really funny if Chipper came back next season. I doubt it would happen, but it’s funny to think about.

    “Nah, I was just kiddin’ you guys. Thanks for buying my retirement-edition bobble heads, though.”

  2. Dash Riptide says:

    I’ve been amused by folks what think they have the analytical chops to say that Holbrook made the right call under the infield fly rule. Where they go astray is in relying on the shortstop’s actions in deciding whether the call was correct. The rule applies based on what the ball does, not how the fielders react. Given that, if Kozma yields to Holliday in a timely fashion, does Holbrook still call it an infield fly? I seriously doubt it. Yet it’s the same fly ball. If what matters is simply whether an infielder could camp under the ball and catch it, then I’ve seen warning track shots that qualify as infield flies.

    A comment to the rule provides that “[t]he umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire’’s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.” Fair enough. Apparently the umpires also need the corollary spelled out to them. If an infielder manages to “camp” under a ball that would have been more easily handled by an outfielder, then the infield fly rule does not apply regardless of such “camping” by the infielder.

    And the best perspective on whether a fly ball is an infield fly or not is from the infield where the ump can more readily stand in the shoes of the infielders and also to judge whether the runners need protecting under the circumstances. If outfield umps were routine, they would have worked this all out by now, but it’s not and they haven’t. Outfield umps have no business making that call. Ever.

  3. saltycracker says:

    Now getting knocked offline from PP – I thought only Calypso was getting modified…..
    Government related inefficiency is a virus that is spread by politicians and also, we discover, political junkies too !

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