Monday, October 28, 2013

Games 3 and 4: An even Series

Boston first baseman Mike Napoli leaves the field
after tagging out pinch-runner Kolten Wong to end
Sunday's Game 4.
Two games played in St. Louis, two bizarre endings.

Game Three figures to be famous, or infamous, depending on how one views the outcome. I wrote the Monday print column about the obstruction call that awarded St. Louis the decisive run, so I won't rehash it all here. Suffice it to say that the wonderfully hilarious "Old Hoss Radbourn" Twitter feed summed it up beautifully within seconds of the ruling:

There still, however, remain nitwits like Ron Coomer — that he actually gets paid to "analyze" baseball is beyond comprehension — insisting it was a bad call. No, it was the right call. It was a bad play by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Had Allan Craig not been tripped, he would have scored on Saltalamacchia's wild throw. He did trip, and the umpires awarded him the run. Which is as it should be, and which is as will always happen on such a play. (Coomer, a former third baseman, is perhaps identifying too deeply with Will Middlebrooks, the third baseman who was put in a hopeless position by his catcher.)

The Cardinals returned the favor on Sunday, albeit less crucially, when rookie Kolten Wong, pinch-running in the ninth down two runs, got picked off first base. As one of my brothers was prone to saying back in the day, dum with a capital M. His run was only important if other Cardinals could score also, so why take any sort of chance?

It was a sizable mental mistake, but even if Wong hadn't gotten picked off, the Cardinals were likely to lose.

So the Series is even, two games apiece, and one thing we know for sure: There will be a Game Six in Boston, and the home plate umpire for that game will be Jim Joyce — the umpire who made the obstruction call in Game Three. I predict the Fenway fans will continue to embarrass themselves.

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