You missed an unforgettable game, though I wish I could. Chipper was flat on the field and at the plate, Andrelton fell victim to rookie disease, and the umpires, well, I've never seen anything like that, both the radical call by the outfield umpire and the fans ugly reaction. Watching the stands from the stands, it looked like a communications mixup where the shortstop thought the left fielder was calling for the ball. The noise at Turner Field was deafening so it had to be hard to hear.The radio broadcasters were as incredulous as the Braves manager and the fans. Technically, the Infield Fly Rule does not define the play by field location but by position. According to the radio explanation, the umpire (never been called from the outfield before that I know of) has only to believe that an infielder could reasonably be expected to make the catch. Whether the catch is made by an infielder, an outfielder or dropped, the play is considered dead and any advancement by runners is at risk.The problem is timing. The rule calls for the umpire to make an immediate determination but last night, the call wasn't made until the ball was nearly caught. The shortstop didn't peel away until the last moment, a good 20-30 feet into the outfield grass. The reason for the requirement to make a quick call is to give runners notice so they can make good base running decisions. This was denied the Braves through the late call, even though in the confusion (not even the players were expecting the Infield Fly Rule to be invoked) the runners did advance.This was the second source of confusion and delay. The Cardinals argued that the runners should have been sent back to 1st and 2nd and the back room review contributed toward the 18 minute delay. The fan reaction during that period was inexcusable. A guy in front of me crumpled up a beer can and threw it, but since we were on the upper level, all he did was throw a can onto someone on the lower level. Inexcusable. Fifteen minutes later, the guy was complaining that other fans wouldn't stop throwing bottles onto the field. Unbelievable.For his part, Chipper bore the burden of the game on his shoulders. In what was his last appearance as a Major League Ball Player, he took the blame for poor fielding (his was one of 3 errors), stifled offense (Chipper's only hit was a 9th inning broken bat gift), and 12 runners left on base. The only bright point in the Braves lineup was a terrific post season performance by Kris Medlin.Bottom line is, my October nights have opened up. Go Cardinals, see you next season.FuskieWho notes that League Disciplinarian Joe Torre, who was at the game, immediately denied the Braves protest since it was an on field judgement call, and there's no guarantee that the Braves could have turned it around, but believes this was a call that should never have been made and was inappropriate for the situation in the post season (or any time for that matter)...
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