Wild Card Game Live Blog




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

64 Responses to “Wild Card Game Live Blog”

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  1. payoff says:

    Please announce that Carson Cistulli will be chatting too today.

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  2. kev says:

    i’d love to see an article about the change in percentage chance the braves had to win based on the infield fly call.

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    • Approximately 13% (22% vs. 9%)

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    • Outfieldfly says:

      The play was a 13% swing. Instead of a 22% win expectancy, it went to just 9%. That’s a big difference.

      Not that the Braves didn’t shoot themselves in the foot with the errors, but the umpires should’ve just overturned the call on the spot and played the game. I doubt anyone from the Cardinals would’ve argued because the call was just that obvious.

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      • Jason B says:

        “I doubt anyone from the Cardinals would’ve argued because the call was just that obvious.”

        False. 100% false. Totally false in every way. I think you had a typo in there and meant to say:

        “The Cards’ entire team and management would have gone apesh*t.”

        /fixed!/

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      • Jason A says:

        Jason B let’s not be ridiculous here, they wouldn’t have done anything the infield fly rule is only there to assist the runners, it would not make sense for the fielding team to get angry.

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      • Jason B says:

        “they wouldn’t have done anything the infield fly rule is only there to assist the runners, it would not make sense for the fielding team to get angry.”

        They wouldn’t have been upset that they were awarded an out and then it was taken away after the umps huddled up and appeared to bow to the pressures of the home crowd? Mmmk. That’s an interesting (read: incorrect) interpretation.

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  3. cpebbles says:

    Nobody will ever remember that the Braves scored 2 of their runs on that ridiculous late time out that nullified the Ross strikeout, or that the Braves had a hobbled, pinch-hitting McCann and Michael Bourn, who was utterly overmatched when Boggs yielded to the other 98 MPH-throwing reliever.

    I wish the call hadn’t gone that way, but people need to take a step back and realize that the Braves played poorly and were the beneficiary of some questionable calls too (Ross and Chipper’s final “hit”).

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    • Anon says:

      This. The infield fly was a judgement call of very poor judgement, but the late timeout strikeout redo was a bigger change in WE. Also, the delay and hazard from fans throwing items put the Cardinals in a bad position.

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      • Anon says:

        Just saw a replay of the timeout…. Ross was walking to the dugout after striking out and did a double-take before going back to the plate.

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      • TKDC says:

        The comments about poor braves defense are correct, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the Ross play, especially from a rules perspective. The fact that he swung is irrelevant.

        They didn’t really show a good replay on chippers hit, but assuming you’re right (I think you are) there is still a big difference. This was misapplication of the rules. Plain and simple. Replay is unnecessary to make it right.

        As a Braves fan, I was ashamed of the fans throwing shit on the field (especially after the first barrage), but I’m having a hard time blaming them.

        Also, does anyone want to buy Nats NLDS tickets. Since I’m in such a good mood, I’ll just charge you 500 and a kick in the balls for all 3 games.

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      • Anon says:

        but there was absolutely nothing wrong with the Ross play, especially from a rules perspective. The fact that he swung is irrelevant.

        It is up to the umpire’s judgement when to grant time. He granted time very late (when no one was expecting it).

        The same description applies to the ‘infield fly’. Judgement call made later than anyone expected. The fact that Kozma missed the ball is irrelevant.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        No, Lohse started his pitch before time was granted. If you watch a good replay, you clearly see Ross’ mouth move to call time before Lohse started towards home. Apparently the home plate umpire was supposed to read Lohse’s mind and predict when he would start towards home.

        As for the infield fly call, the issue isn’t so much of how late it was called, but that calling it so late completely negates the entire reason the rule exists. The rule is there to protect the runners from getting doubled up. If you’re not going to call it until it’s clear the ball will fall in for a hit, what benefit is that to the runners? This is leaving aside the fact that Kozma never got under the ball, even though Holbrook claims that’s what he saw before he signaled it.

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      • Anon says:

        If you watch a good replay, you clearly see Ross’ mouth move to call time before Lohse started towards home.

        Ross can’t call time. He requests time, but the ump has to grant it. It isn’t uncommon for a hitter to request time and not receive it.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Right, but if he asks for time before the pitcher starts towards home and the ump immediately decides to grant it, how is the ump supposed to know that the pitcher is just about to start towards home? While he doesn’t have to grant it, if the pitcher hasn’t yet started towards home when it’s asked for, there is no reason not to call it.

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    • David says:

      I hope people remember that the Umpires turned that game into a shit-show just as much as the Braves’ errors did. If we had to endure a game like this, I wish it had been during the World Series so we’d get some discussion about the umpires, replay, and rule changes during the offseason.

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      • Jason B says:

        “I hope people remember that the Umpires turned that game into a shit-show just as much as the Braves’ errors did.”

        I think you’ve got it precisely backwards – it wasn’t errors that caused trash to rain down from the stands and cause a 20-minute delay. Hopefully people remember the Braves’ horrid defense turned the game into a shitshow well before the umpires’ errors (which benefitted both teams) did.

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  4. Donna says:

    Baseball has gone to the dogs….The teams with the most wins have to play a one game wild card game. What a crock. That’s why they call a series. The least they can do is best 2 out of 3. You have now taken the best away from the game. It puts a lesser team that is non deserving into the series. I am so disappointed in the game.

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    • David says:

      The NL and AL should merge and the league champion is the team with the best record. That way purists get to see the most deserving team win the championship.

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      • joe says:

        They should rename the regular season, the “playoffs”, and because fans care more about playoffs. They should then rename the current playoffs, the “super playoffs” because that will generate even more fan excitement and bud selig can be the hero!

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      • Persona non grata says:

        I *hate* the idea of playoffs in general. I think it’s a fallacy that teams who win a short tournament should be crowned champions.

        My idea would be to merge the AL/NL into one league and have every team play each other at least 6 times. Yes, this adds games to the year, but makes up for the lack of playoffs.

        If you want to keep some kind of randomness, institute a 2/3-game knockout tournament to be played after September call-ups (that way you can play the young-guns if you’re still in the running for the league title). All teams would be in the tournament and the previous year’s league winner and tournament winner would get a bye for the first round.

        This should keep all the teams in contention for something at the end of the year, while actually adding a few games for owners (always a good thing) without adding drastically more time.

        If you want to keep the regular season closer to its current length, you’d have to do some 5-game / 6-game series mix-matching.

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      • JD says:

        That seems a bit extreme. We could go back to the 2 leagues without any divisions. Best in each league meet for the series. Then this crap doesn’t drag on until halloween.

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      • JD says:

        Forget that. We’ll have a new tournament March madness style. We’ll seed the best 8 teams in each league for 16 total. Everything is a best-of-seven series. Work it down to the final 2 who play the WS. More games to sell tickets so the owners are happy. More television opportunities so Selig is happy. And I can watch the World Series on Thanksgiving instead of having to decide between the Lions and the Cowboys.

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    • Jason B says:

      “The teams with the most wins have to play a one game wild card game. What a crock.”

      A) Bitter Braves fan, no? Good thing they even have a wild card to begin with, since they didn’t win their division.
      B) Does this bother you in EVERY sport? Wild card team winning in football get on your nerves? #4 seed winning March Madness?

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  5. baty says:

    I didn’t expect to ever see the day where 9 innings was worth 7 wins.

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    • Jason B says:

      Bother you in the NFL win the 9-7 Giants won the super bowl? In the NCAA, when a 1-loss team beat an undefeated team who had already beaten them once? Or just when your team loses?

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      • Spoilt Victorian Child says:

        Who could possibly be happy about the 9-7 Giants winning the Super Bowl?

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Personally, I’m not a huge fan of teams like the Giants winning the Super Bowl, as it renders the regular season far less meaningful, but maybe that’s just me. A one loss team beating an undefeated team in college football isn’t really a fair comparison. I mean you both teams end up with 1 loss and the team that wins the title handed the other team it’s loss.

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      • Jason B says:

        “Who could possibly be happy about the 9-7 Giants winning the Super Bowl?”

        As an Eagles fan I heartily agree with that statement!

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  6. kayak says:

    I think they should make the world series only last one game too.

    You know, to make it more exciting.

    But honestly, any time an outfielder has a legitimate shot at making a catch, somehow I doubt a rule called the infield fly rule should ever be remotely applicable.

    Such a joke.

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    • Robert says:

      Check the rule book.

      Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder? not by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpire?s judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. 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.
      When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball remains in play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05 (L). The infield fly rule takes precedence.

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      • wilt says:

        “and the decision should be made immediately.”

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      • TKDC says:

        The ump thought that meant immediately after the ball hits the ground.

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      • kayak says:

        The reality of the matter is people trying to overcomplicated a rule in order for it to suit them.

        It’s pretty simple. If an infield fly had not been called on the play, would anyone in the stadium had started arguing that it was indeed an infield fly and the ump missed it?

        I would venture to say no. Twisting a rule that was designed from its conception to protect the team at bat, and turning it into a penalty, is not what it was meant to do.

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      • cpebbles says:

        The rules don’t make it an invalid call. Both the LF and 3B umpires called it as soon as Kozma settled under what looked to be the popup. It was also an “ordinary effort” play, or else my reaction would have been more along the lines of “Damn!” than “What the hell, you f*cking scrub?” Honestly, what was your reaction to the play? Not a single person watching the game thought that there was any degree of difficulty to that catch. Additionally, infield fly can be called in the outfield, and it can be called on a ball that a play is never made on.

        Yeah, it was still an awful judgment call because the ball was too deep for a drop/double play to be attempted and because Kozma turned out to be camped 5′ in front of where the ball landed, but the umpires screwed up in their judgment, not in their interpretation of the rules.

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      • GMH says:

        Robert,

        The language in the infield fly rule doesn’t salvage a bad decision by the left field umpire. In spite of what some people have reported, Kozma never signaled off Matt Holliday. Kozma kept his right hand down by his side and extended – which means absolutely nothing. Infielders are taught that as they are going back on a pop up, when they have tracked the ball and they are in a position to make the catch, they must wave their arms over their head. This signals to the hard charging outfielders (who have supremacy) that the infielder can make the catch. This signal prevents collisions and letting the ball drop. Kozma never made that signal or anything remotely close to it. If you watch his body language, it’s clear that Kozma lost the ball as he was drifting back into the outfield. He was having difficulties tracking it. When he finally tracked the ball, he realized it was too far over his head, and he peeled off with the hope that Matt Holliday would be able to make the catch. Holliday never called him off, and an infielder who has established position to make the catch would never peel off unless the outfielder called him off. Kozma peeled off because he lost the ball. He was never in a position to make the catch. If you watch the reply, Kozma puts both his arms to his side right before the ball hits the ground. He was gesturing that he had lost the ball and he knew he couldn’t catch it. It was only then that the umpire called infield fly. Crazy.

        Anyone who’s played middle infield could relate to Kozma’s predicament. It is a horrible feeling to know that you’ve lost a pop up, and by the time you pick up the ball, you can’t make the catch. His body language told the whole story.

        The left field umpire had no business making that call. I have no doubt that the umpires in the infield could see what was happening – that Kozma was having problems tracking the ball. That’s why none of them called the infield fly. Instead, an umpire who was behind Kozma made the call.

        No infielder established his position where he could have easily handled the fly ball. And because the ball was so far into the outfield, the evil the infield fly rule seeks to prevent – a double play due to the baserunners being hung out to dry – was not in play at all. It was a lousy call, and Joe Torre and the MLB brass should not be defending it.

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      • cpebbles says:

        Wrong on pretty much every count. Kozma put his arm back to call off Holliday, put his arms over his head, and then immediately realized he’d lost it. The 3B umpire did make the call, at the exact same time as the LF umpire, which was after Kozma stopped moving back and appeared to have settled under something.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        cpebbles stop embarrassing yourself. Watch the replay without the blinders on. The 3B umpire clearly doesn’t signal it until after the ball has hit the ground, once he realizes Holbrook has made the call. Kozma also never settled under the popup. He didn’t get within 5 feet of where it landed and he was moving in the wrong direction when he gave up on it.

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      • Robert says:

        In all fairness I hated the call when it happened and still think it was bad judgement, but by the letter of the law I think it was a legit call. My biggest complaint was that the ump who was halfway down the left field line was the one making the call, but on the replay it does look like the third base up signaled almost simultaneously. Who knows? It was a very sloppy call for a very sloppy game.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        He didn’t signal it almost simultaneously. He didn’t even signal it until after it hit the ground. I’ll post a pic in a sec of the ball on the ground while the 3B umpire still has his arms by his side.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        cpebbles, just saw you admit he was 5 feet in front of it, so my bad on that, but obviously I stand by the statement that the 3B umpire’s call was not anywhere close to simultaneous.

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      • cpebbles says:

        Okay, Nelson called it a half second later as the ball landed. The video from the HP area that TBS showed after BAL-TEX made it look like he called it at the same time. It did show him staring at the play as he called it, not at Holbrook.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        Obviously he called it because he saw Holbrook, whether he saw it out of his peripheral vision or he was looking straight at it. There is no other excuse for making the call after the ball hits the ground. At that point the entire reason for the rules existence (the protection of the runners) has been completely negated. If he was making the call at that point independent of Holbrook, he should honestly be fired on the spot.

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      • Jason B says:

        “The reality of the matter is people trying to overcomplicated a rule in order for it to suit them.”

        (On both sides of the debate.)

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  7. This is Darvish data site (Japanese version only)

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  8. michael bacon says:

    Imagine
    It’s 1932 and I’m a beat writer for the AJC and have just called to file my report on the Bud game playoff…

    First, future HOFer Chipper Jones nuts locked up on him-STOP

    Then 2Bman Uggla’s nuts locked up on him-STOP

    Followed by rookie SS Andrelton Simmons nuts locking up on him-STOP

    Then the Cards SS, Declaso and LFer Holiday’s nuts locked up on them-STOP

    They were bailed out when the LEFT FIELD umpire made the most egregious, worst call in MLB history when his nuts locked up on him!

    The Braves protested the game-STOP

    The game ended in a 6-3 decision for the Cardinals while under protest-STOP

    Then Bud Selig, the idiot lapdog commisioner of MLB, denied the protest made by the Braves-STOP

    Bud Selig’s nuts did NOT lock up on him because HE AIN’T GOT NO BALLS!-STOP

    Keep in mind that according to the multiverse theory, this actually happened in one far, far away universe out there somewhere…
    Nocab

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    • Persona non grata says:

      1932 response:

      What is this “LEFT FIELD umpire” of which you speak? – STOP

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      • JD says:

        It was a post-season game. There were 6 umpires. I realize they don’t actually stand on the field, but that’s how they are listed in a box score.(LF & RF umpires)

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    • Jason B says:

      “worst call in MLB history”

      With some time and perspective, do you think this call makes even a top 50 list? Possibly. Top 10? No chance. Single worst ever? STOP.

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      • ausmax says:

        We should have a worst calls in history poll. I’m sure this wasn’t the worst call in history, but I really can’t remember any famous bad calls right now. Either I’m unusual, or probably no one will remember this one in five years either.

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      • Anon says:

        I really can’t remember any famous bad calls right now.

        Denkinger ’85 WS
        Joyce non-perfect game
        Maier ALCS

        Not hard to think of calls that are significantly worse with higher stakes.

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      • Jason B says:

        Yep, we have a tendency to rush to call everything the best/worst thing EVER. When in reality it’s nothing of the sort.

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  9. Tim says:

    While the whole incident was something of a debacle, it was a pretty standard baseball debacle. The thing that bothers me about it didn’t happen on the field at all – Joe Torre was allowed to rule on a protest involving the Cardinals. That shouldn’t happen.

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    • Nitram Odarp says:

      In fairness to Joe, he also spent 3 years playing for the Braves and 3 years managing for them.

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      • Tim says:

        Even more so then. I don’t mean to impugn Torre’s ethics or his approach to this particular ruling. But a league office which isn’t alive to the idea of conflicts of interest isn’t a good thing.

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    • Persona non grata says:

      Bud Selig is allowed to rule on things involving the Brewers…

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    • Jason B says:

      Luckily there’s nothing to rule on. I believe you can’t overturn a result or make them replay a game based on an umpire’s judgment call (even one that appears to most to be incorrect or has a potentially significant impact on the game).

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  10. kayak says:

    I dunno if you can downplay the importance of the call based on the “stakes” by comparing it to incidents that happened in a series, outside of elimination games.

    Since, as we’ve gone over and over again, both teams had their season riding on this game. The Jeffrey Maier incident happened in Game 1 of the ALCS, for instance. The O’s had plenty of chances to change the course of their postseason fate well after that call.

    The Braves, or Cardinals? Not so much.

    But it’s what MLB wanted. Good for them, I guess?

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