BOSTON (CBS) – To the surprise of no one, the Boston Red Sox aren’t too happy with the obstruction call that ended Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night.
The call gave the Cardinals a 5-4 win and a 2-1 series advantage, and left many members of the Red Sox scratching their heads.
Here’s how it all went down. With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals had runners on second and third with one out and Jon Jay at the plate. Jay hit a grounder to second baseman Dustin Perdoia, who was playing in, and easily gunned down Yadier Molina at the plate. Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia then fired to third base in an attempt to get runner Allen Craig, but his throw went through a diving Will Middlebrooks and into left field. As Craig attempted to go home he came in contact with Middlebrooks, who was still on the ground.
Obstruction was called on Middlebrooks, and Craig was awarded home plate. Game over.
According to the MLB rule book, it was indeed obstruction by Middlebrooks. It didn’t matter he was making a play as intent doesn’t matter on an obstruction call, as crew chief John Hirschbeck explained after the game. It also didn’t matter that Craig wasn’t quite in the baseline, as Rule 7.08 states that “a runners 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.”
THE WALKOFF: Sox Drop Game 3 On Obstruction Call
So going by that, it was the right call. But that doesn’t mean the Red Sox have to agree with the fact it was called, and decided a World Series game. That’s where their shock comes in, and some players were very vocal about it following the loss.
“I cannot believe you make that call from home plate,” Boston starter Jake Peavy said after the game — according to ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes. “I’m beat. I’m out of words. I don’t know what to say. I think it’s a crying shame a call like that is going to decide a World Series game. It’s a joke. Two teams are pouring their hearts out on the field and that’s the call you make.”
“When you watch how hard these two teams are playing, and what it takes to get to the World Series and what it took for us to climb back into this game, it’s just amazing to me that it would end on a call like that, that’s not black and white. I don’t know what else to say,’ the fiery pitcher added.
Peavy was pretty upset with home plate umpire Dana Demuth following the game, as he believed he was the one that made the call. Third base umpire Jim Joyce initially made the call, but the Red Sox say they did not hear him do so (and many Twitter users are also Tweeting out a picture where Joyce is looking away from the play at third, wondering how he could be the one to make the call).
“You could kind of tell when (DeMuth) was pointing to third what he was calling. I hope he rests well tonight in his hotel room knowing what he did. That is a joke, an absolute joke,” said Peavy. “I’m sorry. Go to talk to him and ask him if he feels good and right about his call to end a World Series game on a diving play”
The Sox starter took one more shot at DeMuth, who was criticized after a bad call in the first inning of Game 1 at Fenway, which was eventually reversed when the umpiring crew huddled up and changed it. Peavy was hoping the crew would do something similar Saturday night with the outcome of a game on the line, but that wasn’t the case.
“He has already proven that he can not see things correctly in Game 1,” Peavy said of DeMuth. “(He missed) a pretty obvious (call) four feet in front of him. It would have been nice to have a meeting of the minds.”
While he may have been the most fired-up member of the Sox, Peavy wasn’t the only one full of complaints after the game. Middlebrooks said he still isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do when he’s laying on the ground with the runner on top of him.
“When I went to push myself up, (Craig) was on my back pushing me. What am I supposed to do?,” said Middlebrooks. “That’s why it’s tough to swallow. I have to go down for that ball, and I’m not in the baseline. I’m five feet inside of it. He said I have to make an attempt or get out of the way. I got up and he was on top of me, there is nothing I can do there.”
“None of us knew what was going on, and then he calls obstructions. It blows your mind a little bit,” he said.
“Will is diving to try and get that throw, and I don’t know how you get out of the way when you’re on the ground,” said manager John Farrell. “That’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Umpires, Farrell React To Call:
Joyce explained what he saw when he made the call.
“When the play developed after Saltalamacchia threw the ball at third base, after the ball had gone straight through, and Allen (Craig) had slid into third and stood up to attempt to go to home plate, everything was off right there,” he said. “When he tried to advance to home plate, the feet were up in the air, and he tripped over Middlebrooks right there, and immediately and instinctually I called obstruction.”
“Our determination is whether or not he could have scored or not,” said Joyce. “And [DeMuth] immediately came up with, he saw me make the call. As soon as Craig slid into home plate, Dana immediately pointed down at me knowing that we had obstruction and it impeded (the runner) to score the run, essentially.”
Crew chief John Hirschbeck, who was on the left field line for Game 3, said Joyce made a “great call.”
“Immediately after we got off the field into our locker room we congratulated Jim and said ‘great call.’ I could see it all in front of me as it happened. That was our first reaction when we got in the locker room,” said Hirschbeck. “We’re trained to look for these things. It’s out of the ordinary, but when it happens, and it’s the World Series, you expect to get it right.”
It’s a pretty rough way to lose any game, let alone a World Series game. But it’s in the record books now, and all Boston can do is move on to Sunday’s Game 4.
“You see what this ball club is made of and we’re not going to quit,” said Peavy. “We’re going to keep grinding out no matter how many times the ball bounces the other way. We’ll show up tomorrow ready to play.”
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