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Braves’ protest immediately denied by league office

Oct 5, 2012, 9:05 PM EDT

Infield fly

MLB wasn’t going to leave the Nationals’ twisting in the wind while debating the Braves’ protest of Friday’s loss to the Cardinals. The league denied the protest within 20 minutes of the game ending.

The decision is hardly surprising, and while the Braves will always feel ripped off by Sam Holbrook’s infield-fly call, their protest didn’t hold a lot of water. Holbrook made a judgment call. It was bad judgment, but that can’t be protested. The Braves’ best argument was that the infield fly call is supposed to come “immediately” after its apparent. And it’s a legitimate argument, but it wasn’t going to get the end of the game replayed.

If you want to see it again, here’s the video of the play:

With the protest denied, the Nationals are now free to travel to St. Louis to begin the NLDS on Sunday.

  1. Ben - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    Instant replay please, kthxbye.

    • kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      What’s instant replay going to do? It was a judgement call.

      • Ben - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:16 PM

        Appeal the call, and the majority of umps can overturn the judgement call. Pretty simple, really.

      • paul621 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:32 PM

        Ben–Umpires can overturn themselves on the field already, without replay. Replay for judgement calls would be horrible.

      • rarson - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:37 AM

        That’s stupid. You can’t change what happened on the field with instant replay. You can’t appeal the call because the call created the play.

        Braves fans need to get over it. Kozma had the ball until the infield fly was called. It was the wrong call, but because it was late, your guys got to advance to second and third. Without that call, Kozma would have caught it and you would have been stuck on first and second.

    • raysfan1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:42 PM

      Bud says we don’t want instant replay, and since Bud says it, it must be true. (Sarcasm)

    • lncrprl - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:17 AM


      • brewpack42 - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:01 PM

        Hey Rarson why don’t you watch the replay, Kozma bails and then the ump makes the call and not the other way around. You can thumbs down me but there is link above to the replay. Watch it over and over, the ump does not make the call until he starts to bail.

    • wbcsports2 - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:34 PM

      3 points
      1. The shortstop pulled up not because he saw the IFR
      called, but because of footsteps of the galloping LF.
      2. The ump clearly did not make the call until the ball was on the ground.
      The judgement was could the SS have made the catch, maybe, but he clearly slammed on the brakes because of the LF.
      3. It sucks that the Braves handed their play off spot to the Cards on a silver platter last year, but then had MLB do it with this stupid play in game. It should be shot into space never to be thought of again except on trivia night!

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Just like the NFL said the call in the Seahawks-Packers game was correct. If you don’t admit it was wrong than it wasn’t………..right?

    • djeter220 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      Or just like the NFL, they can review the play then say it’s not reviewable. They can release a statement saying Tate committed offensive pass interference and the game was effectively over at that moment….but the play isn’t reviewable.

      I’m not sure why these professional sports organizations think they’re maintaining integrity by refusing to acknowledge a mistake, then take action to correct the mistake.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        Agree 100%

      • natstowngreg - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:39 PM

        Excellent point. There is this belief that you can’t point out officials’ mistakes in public, because it will somehow cause disrespect for officials and ruin the games. Just wondering though. Jim Joyce was a respected umpire. He made one very public mistake, owned up to it, and became even more respected. You would think someone would have learned from that.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:55 PM

        The unpires did speak at a presser after the game so there is some accountability with the calli couldnt hear what they were sayingbut at leastthey had to explain themselves. I can get on board with that.

    • djeter220 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:01 PM

      @brewcrewfan: Funny, because from what I understand, at the postgame presser, Holbrook says all the umps agreed with his call. Reminds me of the Yankees vs. Orioles game last month that ended on Teixeira being called out at first to end the game when the replay clearly showed the ball was two feet from the first baseman’s glove as Tex’s hand was on the bag. When the ump (Jerry Meals) was asked for comment, he claimed that after viewing the replay from every angle, the play was “very close” and “too close to tell”. These guys have no problem lying, even when they know no one believes them.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM

        Hey, I didn’t say the umps wouldn’t circle the wagons but at least they had to sit there and answer questions about the call they made. That usually isn’t the case.

    • sshirley1 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      The infield fly rule was made to protect offense from easy double play for defense. If that is the case then there should be a penalty for ‘not’ catching the ball. Batter should get first and all runners automatically get 1 base. Once reaching that one base, they then could advance at there own risk. This should have been an error on one or both St Louis players. THEY screwed up but got NO penalty. Not even an error on the books. UMPS are NOT to call infield fly unless the ball should be caught under ordinary circumstances. If the ball does turn out to be uncatchable all runners normally would advanceat least one base anyway.

      • albertmn - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        Yep, we should rewrite the entire rule book just because of one play.

      • kellyrayburn - May 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        To me, they need to rename this to the “Pop Fly rule” or some such. The ball was in and dropped into the outfield. That should have nullified the “infield fly rule”. I favored the Cardinals, but seeing as the ball dropped into the outfield, the Braves should have had the bases loaded. Doesn’t matter who I favored, right is right and this was just plain wrong.

    • lncrprl - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:19 AM


  3. kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:12 PM


  4. mavajo - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Time for Bud Selig to go. He’s been killing the game for 15 years now.

  5. thebadguyswon - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    They would have lost 6-5 instead of 6-3.

    Horrible call, yes. But the Braves just picked a terrible time for an awful game.

    • lrjacobson - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:21 PM

      you can’t say the game would have continued as it did. changed the whole game

      • forsch31 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:35 PM

        Not really. The Braves fans’ reaction had more of an affect on the game than the call.

      • forsch31 - Oct 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

        More explanation is obviously needed….

        Kozma abandoned the fly ball when he thought he heard Matt Holliday call him off. What he heard was the umpire calling the infield fly rule. If the call isn’t made, Kozma catches that ball and there are two out with runners on first and second.

        Once the call for the infield fly rule is made, it doesn’t matter what Kozma does–the batter is out and the runners stay where they are. That’s the rule. First and second with two outs.

        Same situation would have happened. Instead, the fans delayed the game, causing a change to the pitcher. So instead of Mitchell Boggs, who was not pitching well, the Braves faced the Cardinals’ closer.

        So yes, the fans had more of an effect on the game than the call.

  6. gr3710 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    when was the last time a protest worked in mlb?

    • kkolchak - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:20 PM

      About never I would guess.

    • lrjacobson - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:22 PM

      George Brett pine tar

  7. hardballtalkusername - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    Does the rulebook say that the infield fly rule must be called immediately? If so, than they absolutely should have won the protest. This is just such BS, I’m not a Braves fan, but this would have made the outcome of the game a lot more interesting which is what I hope for in the playoffs. Braves would have had momentum, the bases loaded and 1 out. What a bunch of bull.

    • tjwilliams - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      Yes and No. Here’s the parts of the infield fly definition that are important.

      “When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare “Infield Fly” for the benefit of the runners”

      Notice that “immediately” does not refer to when the ball is hit, but when “it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly.”

      “The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpire’s judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.”

      You can’t appeal on the field, so there’s no way a protest would be considered either. It’s the equivalent of holding or pass interference in football.

      /Note: In no way do I think it was the right call, I’m just explaining why it wasn’t overturned.

      • nofunleague - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

        Exactly right, Immediately …becomes apparent the infielder can catch the ball. He camped under it, the umps arm went up then the infielder gave way to the outfielder. The play was called immediately upon the infielder being able to catch the ball. did I repeat my self….consider that the replay.

    • cur68 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      Yep. Says its to be called right away NOT when Holbrook sees the ball is going to be dropped. I swear to Dog he saw it was going to drop and THEN called the IF. Hollbrook’s arm goes up just after the SS pulls away. Its as though the SS hears the LFer is closing, Holbrook realizes no one is going to catch it, then raises his arm signaling the IF. I mean WTF was that call about? It was pretty much the center of LF. Holbrook had somewhere to be or something? Game changed on that call.

      • cur68 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:32 PM

        Meh. Fine. Just saw the reply above. I’m just going on Ron Darling & Co.’s take on it. Still a stupid call.

  8. Walk - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    It did not matter. There is no way they could have played it over with the way the schedule is. A lot of people hated the idea of a one game play in now we can all see why. If you play a series and put yourself in a position where one call beats you it is no ones fault but your own. The wild card play in games are the worst possible format for that very reason as it allows a team to move on based on a mistake , in this case by someone who is not even a player. Sam holbrook st louis mvp.

  9. phillyphannn83 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    Can’t wait to see what Craig has to say when he comes back with his tail between his legs!

  10. drewnichols81 - Oct 5, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    boo flippin hoo

  11. nlfan865 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:05 PM


    • nlfan865 - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      Ranks right up there with the Kent Hrbek call and Scooter Libby being pardoned!!!!

  12. greymares - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    good call/bad call who cares what i want to know is how did all those Phillies fans get tickets for that game ? lol. Craig I guess you have to stop blasting Philadelphia fans now.

  13. azpackerbacker - Oct 5, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Misery loves Company.

    Packer fans everywhere.

  14. mrredlegz - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    I’m pretty sure that an infield fly is ‘apparent’ well before it is on it’s way back down to earth. I just don’t understand how you can make that call a split second before the ball hits the ground.

  15. deiong - Oct 5, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    i dont think the braves would have won, but still why is it that when games begin to matter in any sport, blown calls are becoming the norm? i could care less who wins this game or not, but sports in general every year the calls get worse and worse… i actually like the nfl challenge call, because at least they have a chance to fix human error, and it seems humans are more prone to error every year.. and its human nautre to favor a team. noone can truely say they dont. its human nauture to. you can stop that process, you can try as hard as you want to be 100 percent fair, but even those who do try fail often. why not make it more pure by makign the ones who make bad calls be more responsible. its the nature of the beast no checks and balances.

    • ericmcknight2012 - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      This call would have been upheld by replay. When the trajectory of the ball makes it apparent that it will be beyond the infield, the umpire has to, first, determine if the infielder is in position to make the play, then determine if it was “ordinary effort” If the umpire was more emphatic making the call, this would have been less controversial. He casually raised his arm when he should have been running toward the ball, screaming at the top of his lungs “Infield Fly!”

  16. ksctychiefs - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    umps made the right call……you have to call the infield fly rule while ball in the air…..ump can see that if they drop it on purpose,even deep in the infield, or in this case really the outfield, they can still easily throw to 2nd and set off the double play….however it did look bad as the players screwed up in handling the play and the ump cant foresee that,ump was late in raising his own hand,and it was not in the home teams advantage setting off the crowd….but the delay in the ump raising his hand was probably due to a split second double take in looking at the ball in the air,and then judging distance of potential throw back to 2nd,which ump had a great visual angle on both…….in the end he made the correct call…..

    • 4everbucs - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:59 PM

      Problem with rule is that you could never pull off double play from that far out if you drop on purpose. Get rid of it and let the chips fall…

      • ksctychiefs - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:26 PM

        a tag up at first,then a run to second……or even a tag up at 2nd,and a run to 3rd…..either way ,the runner will be ‘sliding’ into either base(2nd or 3rd),and a good throw will be very,very close…..a great throw will nail the runner!!….double play quite doable so runner needs the protection as the infield rule provided….

  17. rgledz - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:43 AM

    Why would the division winning Nationals be traveling to St. Louis to start the series?? The wildcard team gets home field??

    • 4everbucs - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Same thing in AL. Yanks to Baltimore. You go down 2-0 on the road hard to come home and win 3 in a row. I dont like it.

  18. dawgpoundmember - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    Dear Selig,

    I don’t know which post I should comment but I feel this is the best,

    I watched the entire game and I do not know how you call an infield fly when it is clearly in the outfield?

    Yes, the foul line umpire made the call, but he should know his duties if he is calling a playoff game, when it is a one win or lose.

    The quick reply on the protest just shows you wanted nothing to do with this, you asked for intense last game and it back fired. The game should have never happened but in the AL both teams had the same record.

    All baseball fans

    P.S. You have outlived your welcome

  19. nofunleague - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    They will rename the rule, The Infielder Fly rule, since that is the intent, that the infielder will make the play. Not in the infield, but by the infielder. Stops the cheap double play which hangs the base runners out to dry

  20. tashkalucy - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    For well over 3 decades MLB was my favorite sport.

    But the total lack of INTEGRITY – from botched calls with umpires making excuses (the one on the called third strike that then wasn’t which got the White Sox past the Angles in 2005 was the classic), to the unbalanced financial situation due to lack of equal sharing of cable TV money, to the steroid era where everyone in America except for the Commissioners Office knew full well what was going on, to the players union not giving in on anything that does not make them more money, to the BS player agents that lie to hometown fans about how much their client want to stay with the team and how he loves it there – always taking more money somewhere else (like the $100 million dollar offer the hometown team made him is simply not good enough)……MLB is just a joke.

    But the truth is that baseball is still the greatest sport ever invented. The fact that all the above people have tried everything they can to destroy it, yet it still retains the interest of the sporting public, is a testimony to how great the sport really is. Then again, maybe the American public just wants to sit and get obese on salty snacks and beer while watching sports – I mean, how else do we account for any interest at all in the NBA?

  21. bigtrav425 - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:57 AM

    it was a bad call hands down.that rule also needs to be remade..its a horrible rule anyways.not that im a braves fan but they got screwed.MLB could of had a possible great story with chipper and going deep into the postseason.instead they ended up with him and the braves getting the shaft because of another umps bad call of a horrible rule……and I also do not like the “play in game”.either have 1 wild card team pr bump it to 2

    • 4everbucs - Oct 6, 2012 at 1:40 PM

      Play a few less regular season games (back to 154), make the WC best of 3 in the better records team city(that way a team can have a bad game) and still get World Series in before the snow flies.

    • Moose - Oct 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM

      Nothing says the Braves would have won. The Braves beat the Braves. Errors, bad baserunning, poor ABs. Had the call not been made nothing says McCann wouldn’t have hit into a double play. Motte was called in ONLY because so much time passed.

  22. ericmcknight2012 - Oct 6, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    I’ve been an umpire at several levels for 20 years, and looking at the replay, the umpire clearly made the correct call. It was actually an easy call to make. Infield Fly is one of those calls, as an official, you love to make because, although it’s been in the rule book for a very long time, players and fans don’t understand the application. The name itself is deceptive. It should be called “Infielder’s Fly”. By rule, a pop-up could theoretically come down anywhere inside the foul lines, as long as an infielder can use “ordinary effort” to get under the ball, in the umpire’s judgement. The criteria for “ordinary effort”? Did the fielder casually walk or jog under the fly ball or did he completely turn his body and sprint? It also doesn’t matter who catches the ball, as long as the fielder uses ordinary or routine effort to move in position to catch a fly ball .

    • jmc4352 - Oct 6, 2012 at 5:55 PM

      The problem with your referencing the intricacies of the IFR is that you (and the ump that made the call) completely disregard the purpose of the rule. That purpose is to protect the runners. That being said, the ump did not make the call until after it was obvious to everyone, except an umpire nation blinded by solidarity, that there was miscommunication between infielder and outfielder. Basically, the ump rewarded the defense for a fielding error.

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