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.