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Cardinals win Game 3 of the World Series on an obstruction call

Oct 27, 2013, 12:13 AM EDT

Oh boy. You’re going to be hearing a lot about the ending of this one for a long time.

Let’s set up the scene: Brandon Workman in for his second inning of relief. Matt Adams strikes out on a dropped third strike. Yadier Molina bloops a single to shallow right-center. Allen Craig pinch-hits. Reliever Koji Uehara comes in. Craig doubles down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out.

Jon Jay ripped a ground ball destined for the outfield but it was stopped by a diving Dustin Pedroia, who fired to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to get Molina on a tag play at home plate. As Craig moves to third base, Saltalamacchia fired to third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but it was wide to his left. Middlebrooks lunged for it, but could not reach it, colliding with Craig in the process. Craig tripped and third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately called obstruction. The ball trickled towards the stands in left field. Left fielder Daniel Nava picked up the ball and fired a strike to home plate. Saltalamacchia tagged Craig with plenty of room to spare, but due to the obstruction call, Craig was awarded home plate so the throw and tag did not matter.

MORE: There are a million little things that go into an outcome like night

Obstruction is discussed in rule 7.06:

When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal “Obstruction.”
If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batterrunner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

The Cardinals walked off on an obstruction call, winning Game 3 by a 5-4 score to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Your winning pitcher: Trevor Rosenthal.  Your losing pitcher: Brandon Workman.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz will oppose Cardinals starter Laynce Lynn when action resumes tomorrow night for Game 4.

MORE: Peavy rips ending call, but here’s why he’s wrong

By the way, you may remember Jim Joyce from such controversial calls as Armando Galarraga’s perfect game that wasn’t.

214 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. hess97 - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:03 AM

    nobody in the history of the world, while lying face down, tries to get up on their feet by kicking their feet upward like that.

    • hess97 - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:04 AM

      twice no less

    • cohnjusack - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:16 AM

      BUT, he might have thought he was getting his feet out of the baseline. Obviously, intent doesn’t matter, but I’m not willing to say that Middlebrooks did that intentionally.

    • anon1234567890 - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:18 AM

      And I’m sure you’ve perfectly catalogued every attempt at getting up in the history of the world and can provide evidence to this ridiculous claim.

      Middlebrooks had his back to the runner, and how would he have gotten out of the way in time anyway. He fell off the baseline but the runner chose not to look where he was going and therefore tripped.

      • realitypolice - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:36 AM

        Lay face down on the ground. Now try to get up. Tell me when your legs kick up into the air. Your pointing out that the runner didn’t look where he was going is ludicrous, unless you haven’t seen the tape. You’re a Red Sox fan who can’t deal with the fact that you lost a World Series game on a technicality. I wish it hadn’t gone down that way either, but the rule was interpreted properly.

        Suck it up, hope your boys win one in St. Louis, then you can wrap it up at home.

      • hustleandflomax - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:32 AM

        It doesn’t matter, the runner shouldn’t HAVE to look where he is going. He had his focus on HOME FUCKING PLATE.

      • christophervanover - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        heres a revolutionary idea! Middlebrook should have CAUGHT the ball!!!!!

  2. gdobs227 - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Correct call. But setting that fact aside, when you throw the ball into LF with the winning run at 3rd base, you deserve to lose.

  3. gcabot007 - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    The call was incorrect.

    Rule 7.08(a)(1) – “A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.”

    Craig is entitled to a clear baseline under Rule 7.06, which he has at the time of the tag attempt. Craig then takes three steps towards second base, before turning towards home and thus tripping over Middlebrooks. Middlebrooks is not obstructing the baseline Craig is entitled to under the rules. Craig is not entitled to the base path he created.

    • realitypolice - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      Craig taking three steps towards second after the ball passes Middlebrooks is a creation of your imagination.

    • cohnjusack - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:41 AM

      I like how Craig just keeps getting further and further away from 3rd base. Tomorrow, he’ll be halfway back to 2nd base, Monday he will have been ON second base.

      He got up, left foot first, putting him slightly on the 2nd base side. Which is perfectly allowed, as he’s establishing his baseline toward home.

      • ezthinking - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:53 AM

        I like how your Red Sox love clouds all reality. I’m the same way for my team (not the Cardinals).

        Fact is Salty couldn’t have gotten a snail out at third, but threw the ball anyway. Middlebrooks is shell-shocked and couldn’t catch a throw in his palm and then did whatever that was was he did on the ground. The Worm maybe?

        Suck it up. Game on tomorrow.

    • dinkydow - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:36 AM

      As Craig tried to run over Middlebrooks, Middlebrooks clearly raised his legs and tripped Craig. If Middlebrooks had stayed down and not raised his legs it wouldn’t be obstruction but he raised his legs and tripped the runner. Whether he did it deliberately or not is irrelevant.

  4. elfessbutterfly - Oct 27, 2013 at 1:50 AM

    you can argue this forever. he should have done this he should have done that etc. fact is its over and done and regardless of how you feel about who won you have to admit it sucks to have a game this big end on an umps judgement call. if the cards win the series it will go down as one of those series everyone points to whenever an umpire makes a call that’s questionable and what everyone who doesn’t like baseball will use to put down the sport. you hate to see any game end because of an official making a ruling instead of a player making a great play. this sucks for baseball as a whole no matter who you root for.

    • nbjays - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM

      Except that there was not a damn thing questionable about Joyce’s call. It was the correct call and he was on it immediately.

  5. elfessbutterfly - Oct 27, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    so when the umps get together and corrects bad call that’s getting away with something? sorry but demuth made the wrong call and even the procardinal mccarver agreed it was the wrong call. that play had nothing to do with this one. sounds to me like you are a bitter card fan who can’t stand seeing anything not go in favor of your team.

  6. imnotyourbuddyguy - Oct 27, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Ill never watch another game of baseball again, not a Red Sox fan, but that’s call was complete garbage.

    • nbjays - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:19 AM

      We, the true baseball fans on this site (the ones that understand the call and why it was 100% correct) won’t miss you. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

      • jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:03 PM

        You’re nobody’s buddy, crybaby.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM

        Ya ya you idiots think you can read minds and make assumptions that lead to giving a World Series game to a particular team.
        A player drives to try to catch an errant throw, and the Umpire decides to read the players mind to decide intent, just like every other tool here.

        I don’t know how many plays I’ve seen in my life that could be called interference, but Jim Joyce decides to call it in the 9th inning of a World Series game?

        Go fukc yourself douche “We, the true baseball fans” LMAO you sound like a pretentious Queen.

      • nbjays - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        1. Your “I’ll never watch another baseball game again” snivelling means you are a fair weather fan or a drama queen. Suck it up.

        2. It was Obstruction not Interference. Runners interfere with fielders; fielders obstruct runners.

        3. Go read the rule again. Intent is irrelevant. It is obstruction regardless of intent.

        4. The 9th inning of a World Series game is no different than the 2nd inning of a game in May, when it comes to making correct calls and enforcing the rules.

  7. blabidibla - Oct 27, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Right call.

  8. bbk1000 - Oct 27, 2013 at 7:41 AM

    Joe West, Bob Davidson, Angel Hernandez and now Jim Joyce….all umpires I know by name….

    • paperlions - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Maybe if they made umpire names into a song, like the ABCs, you could remember them better.

    • nbjays - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:21 AM

      Yep, three that are horrible, confrontational, egotistical umpires… and Jim Joyce, who is one of the best in the game.

      • bbk1000 - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        Joyce missed this one at first also….this one happened to go the Cardinals way as well.

        He was so arrogant when being questioned about his most famous blunder during the game, he was so sure he was right but it wasn’t even close.

        The one against the Nats was even worse, which is hard to believe.

        He likes his name out there as much an anybody.

  9. surly1n1nd1anapol1s - Oct 27, 2013 at 8:22 AM

    From my tv vantage point, Craig appeared well inside the basepath. And Salty should list for sale any property that he owns in the northeast.

    • djpostl - Oct 27, 2013 at 5:21 PM

      He wasn’t that far inside. He was in the dirt area just off the line, which is by rule the “wiggle room” a runner is allowed to stray off the line itself.

      Proper clal. I for one don’t think it was just a collision by a guy diving for the bal either. The ball was well past him and down the line when those legs came up to “make an L” so it wasn’t his momentum from the dive, it was an intentional act.

  10. newberryhome - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Before jumping to conclusions, I live in Florida and attend Ray’s games.
    Here is the problem, when Middlebrooks went down trying to catch the bad throw, he could only do one of two things, try to get up, or lay on the ground. In either case he would have been an obstruction. Craig did put his hands on Middlebrooks back while trying to climb over him, which held him down. It looked to me like Middlebrooks was trying to get out of the way, when Craig did that. I think this was a bad call, the second one made in three games.

  11. sailbum7 - Oct 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Can someone please tell me why when this entire article is about a questionable call that they put two videos with the article and neither one shows the actual play in question?!?!

    After looking for and finding a view of the play elsewhere, it definitely appears that the correct call was made. I mean come on, who bends their knees like that to stick their feet straight up in the air when they are trying to get up off the ground. It sure looks like there was a deliberate attempt to obstruct the runner on the part of the third baseman. It was also a pretty stupid decision for the catcher to even attempt to get the runner at third. Bottom of the ninth with that runner representing the winning run you do not make questionable throws like that, particularly when there was no way that the throw would be in time to get the runner out. You freeze the runner at third and let the pitcher go to work to on the next batter to get the third out and end the inning.

    • nbjays - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      BleacherReport has a great article with video and photos that show the whole play, PLUS a very understandable explanation.

      • ddoughtyjd - Oct 27, 2013 at 10:46 AM

        “I mean come on, who bends their knees like that to stick their feet straight up in the air when they are trying to get up off the ground.”

        I do. And many who have had back problems in the past (like Will Middlebrooks) may do so as well. Pick your feet up, rock back on your knees and then move to an upright position so as to put as little strain on your lower back as possible.

  12. hohstl1764 - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    I am very happy to see that major league baseball team empires in judging a World Series play does not allow the Boston Red Socks to get away with dirty tricks like obstructing a play of the opposing team of reaching a base by throwing their bodies on the base.

  13. baredon - Oct 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    This is sooo silly…. Sox manager and players whinning about a correct call from the umpire.. Come on you baby’s… Change your diapers and get ready to play… And shut up… It’s over…. Right or wrong…

  14. jimeejohnson - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    No worries: all the tough minded Red Sox fans know there’s NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!

  15. imnotyourbuddyguy - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    That call could be made about 50 times per year every year, but it might be called ONCE, until Jim Joyce decides to call it in the 9th inning of a World Series game?

    MLB is a garbage league ran by incompetent dinosaurs, top to bottom it’s trash.
    The owners appointed a sh1t commish a long time ago and continue to employ SH1T umps
    Angel, Joyce, and the Cowboy, I knew I should have abandoned MLB after watching Eric Gregg getting paid off to screw the Braves in 97.

    And to “defenders of baseball” go eat a cock sammich, you peons are a large part of the reason why baseball is still stuck in the 70’s while every other leagues has progressed and improved.

    • nbjays - Oct 28, 2013 at 6:57 AM

      You still here?

      If the NFL and NBA embody “improvement”, then just another reason to be a baseball fan.

      Now please go away.

      • imnotyourbuddyguy - Oct 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        You still replying to me a day later you homo? Go slurp on your usual bag of dicks

  16. drelms - Oct 27, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    The Red Sox lost because their catcher, who made an out and could have let well enough alone and trust the best closer in baseball to get an out, leaving St Louis men on base.

    Instead, like a real rookie, decided to throw the ball to third to try to catch the runner off base. Really pitiful to lose a game like that.

    Maybe if Saltalamachia had been able to get some hits for this series he would not have felt he could make up for it by making a snappy play.

    Wrong reason to make the throw, ill-advised, and he bears the brunt of responsibility for the error and loss, pure and simple.

    And I don’t want to hear about other mistakes that were made, bottom line up to that error we were 4-4 tied, and there is no reason to think that in the 10th, bringing in Napoli might have been the difference, especially when their closer would have seen a number of hitters before the 1oth, we will never know thanks to that ridiculous throw to third base.

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