October 27, 2013

Sorry, Red Sox fans: Obstruction was the right call

First, yes, I'm a huge Cardinals fan. But, I'm not so much a blind "homer" as to say I don't think the umps did right in getting Pete Kozma's error straightened out in Game 1.

In fact, I am so much NOT a blind homer that I say Mark McGwire, even when you take away steroids issues, is not a Hall of Famer.

But, the call was right. And, no, it was not "debatable," and contra a person on Facebook, baseball "pundits" didn't think it was debatable either.

If you don't like how we got to that point, blame your own manager. Or Saltalamacchia.

And, while we're at it, a bunch of you need to actually read not just the rule on obstruction, but the rule book in general. I saw all sorts of dumb things online last night, like claims that Allen Craig has to run outside the foul line going home, or that he didn't take a natural path from third to home.

I have no problems with you being upset. Or venting online about it. But, know the rule book in advance next time, eh?

I don't enjoy winning the game this way, but, without Will Middlebrooks' obstruction, Craig scores.

And, no, baseball is NOT football or basketball. We don't, and shouldn't, ask umps to do the equivalent of "swallowing their whistles." This piece gets it right, hence this long quote:
In baseball the rules are the rules from start to finish and are not dispensed with simply because time is running out. Oh, wait, in baseball time never runs out. As Earl Weaver reminded us, there is no clock in baseball. ...

So many people with Boston IP addresses are telling me this morning that, though the call on the Middlebrooks/Craig obstruction play was technically correct, it perhaps should not have been made. The play — with its collision and tripping and stumbling and dashing home — should have been “allowed to proceed” rather than having a rarely-thought-of rule invoked to determine the outcome. It was the ninth inning of a close World Series game, they’re basically arguing. It was too important to allow the imposition of a rule trump the running and throwing of men.

Baloney. That call went to the heart of what baseball truly is. A sport in which there is or at least should be no relaxation of the rules due to the exigency of a critical moment. Baseball does not and should not allow for times in which aesthetics or raw physicality excuse the relaxation of the rules. ...

Refrain from calling obstruction on that play? To do so would be a betrayal of baseball’s very essence.
Well put.

So, obstruction was the right call. It was not debatable. And, it was not a call that should have been avoided due to the situation. In fact, the situation required it. Period. End of story.

Besides, the game had plenty of interesting tipping points, or whatever you want to call them.

And now, Joe Torre from MLB offices says the obstruction rule will be reviewed in the offseason.

I don't see what's to review, especially since Torre mentioned looking at the no-intent current language vs. intent. If you want umpires to make judgments of intent, then this WILL produce debatable calls.

Finally, contra a friend of mine who says that Joyce was looking at the ball, to make sure no fan interference happened, at the moment Craig tripped over Middlebrooks?

Simply not true.

As we clearly see at both 15 seconds and right at 2 minutes, Joyce is looking right at Craig at the moment he trips over Middlebrooks:

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