Saturday, October 6, 2012

Infield flies, wild cards and coaching changes

Umpire Sam Holbrook embarrassed himself Friday with a
wrong-headed infield fly ruling. Atlanta fans embarrassed
themselves by trashing the field.
My take on the bizarre infield fly ruling in the eighth inning of Friday's National League wild-card game:

I think the St. Louis shortstop, Pete Kozma, was trying to deke the runners into believing he would catch the fly ball. Whether he deceived the runners or not, he got something better: the umpire bit.

Kozma headed out to left field after the ball, stopped facing the infield and waved his arms as if trying to warn off the left fielder. His actions, I believe, led left-field umpire Sam Holbrook to make the call. But Kozma wasn't within five feet of where the ball hit when it landed, and he was already dashing in to the infield.

Holbrook insisted after the game that he got the call right and that his colleagues agreed with him. I'm not buying that. He got fooled.


One of my colleagues suggested to me that the one-game wild card format is unfair to the teams. My response: If they won't want to be in that situation, they should win their division title.

A longer wild card series would be unfair to the division winners, who would have to sit around and wait for the wild card teams to get done. This format rewards teams for finishing first. Bravo for that.


I surmised in Friday's post that the reassigned Twins coaches, Scott Ullger and Joe Vavra, were going to be working in the minor league system. Not so. They remain on the major league coaching staff, but with different duties.

I have several thoughts on what Terry Ryan had to say Friday, not all of them complementary, but I plan to devote the Monday print column to the topic, so I won't delve into the topic here.

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