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Found October 05, 2012 on Larry Brown Sports:

Via Larry Brown Sports:

The debut of baseball’s one-game wild-card playoff format was marred by a mess that would make the NFL’s replacement refs cringe.

The Braves-Cardinals game Friday night was delayed in the eighth inning after Atlanta fans began littering the field with debris in protest of a call that went against their team.

With the Braves trailing 6-3 with one out and men on first and second, Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons hit a pop fly to left that fell between Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday. However, the left field umpire called the infield fly rule right before the ball dropped — halfway out into the outfield.

Instead of bases loaded and one out, Atlanta was left with men on second and third with two outs. The fans were so upset they began littering the field with debris, causing an 18-minute delay. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez protested the call. Atlanta’s next batter, pinch-hitter Brian McCann, walked to load the bases, but Michael Bourn struck out to end the inning, and the Braves went on to lose 6-3.

Tough way for Chipper Jones’ career to end, especially after he railed against the one-game playoff format last month. Braves fans won’t forgive the umpires for this call anytime soon.

Here’s the official definition of the infield fly rule per MLB rules:

An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.

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. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare “Infield Fly, if Fair.”

The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.

And here is the MLB official rule book comment on the infield fly rule:

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.

Below are some fan photos of all the debris on the field that caused an 18-minute delay: 


After the game, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said he felt his team had a "legit beef," and he explained his decision to protest the call:

 

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Photo credits: @Jonathon_Q/Twitter, @kristenmpruitt/Twitter

32 Comments:
  • As a former umpire, I thought that the call was at the very least legitimate. Our criteria was always whether the infielder could make the play facing the infield. In the game, it definitely looked like the shortstop was camped under the ball until the left fielder apparently called him off.
  • No wonder you're a former umpire (so am I btw). No legitimate ump would call the infield fly rule on that...he was NOT camped under it...anyone can see he was backpeddling all the way into the outfield.
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  • the only way the fans will be heard is to let to seat's stay empty next year owners lose money then they might see why the fans get so upset over calls that everybody see they blew it
  • ar you from ther bad call
  • I'm not een a Braves fan but thta was the worse call I have seen in ages. This league just contiunues to get worse when it comes to the umpires determing the result of a game. No wonder you are a retired umpire. Where in the world did you see that the infielder had a reasonable opportunity to field that ball. That's cramp!!!
  • what can you say..it was a terrible call plain and simple and the left field umpire that called it should be fired and never allowed to umpire again.. you need to send a message to the umpires that they need to make professional calls that comply with the written rule.. sorry no way could you call that a infield fly...
  • you are such a jerk.
  • you are a pice of ??????????
  • you right thanks
  • Joe Torre made the announcement that the protest was denied. I am sure, if he were the manager, he would have made the same protest and been as equally dismayed that the protest was denied. The call did not follow the intent, nor the letter of the law with regard to the written rule. This was a black eye to MLB and hopefully will change the current (new) wild card scenario. Either go back to the wild card system of last year, or make it at least a 3 game playoff. The Braves fans were not justified in throwing debris on the field, but I hope most MLB fans will understand that, of the 40-50K fans in attendance, the ones who behaved badly were in the minority. Those fans should be as ashamed of their behavior as the umpires who were involved in this ridiculous call should be of their performance. Yes, the Braves did not have a good night, but that is no excuse for poor officiating and a bad decision by Joe Torre and MLB. The Braves paid for their errors, the umpires were pardoned for their error.
  • don't be a cry baby
  • I think by throwing the trash the fans demonstrated just how poorly this call and several other calls were. maybe just maybe mlb will listen and do something about instant replay and not allowing the umps to cover for each other. sometimes we as fans have to take a stand. if there were no trash then the game goes one in 20 seconds...the BAD call just like steroids would have been swept under the rug. the ump made a bad call but unlike the NBA and the NFL, MLB has no way of correcting itself
  • Why umpires go nuts. I am sure that the ump thought this was an infield fly all the way and then it just carried a little farther out into the field where, wonders of wonders, the outfielder made the ump look like a jerk because he decided to decamp from underneath the that monumental popup. This is all irrespective of the fact that the ball was still easily catchable by a player of good abilities. And, what if the runners held and then a throw in resulted in a double play? Hey,anything is possible in baseball. A most difficult situation for any ump.
  • the fix the rule...if an infield fly rule is called and the player does not catch the ball, then ALL players advance and the batter is SAFE
  • The resposibilty of the outfield umpires is to ensure that a foul/fair ball landing is correct and that a ball is over the wall. He was not the infield umpire who had the responsibilty to make the call....In the video he (infield ump)did not make the call until after seeing the outfield ump do so.....Defintely the wrong call....The outfield had the position to make the catch since the SS was not in position to make the catch with ordinary effort. He was called off by the left fielder (Hollday)in left field. Joe Torre is wrong and should admit he was wrong. Baseball like the NFL will hurt by the bad umpiring this past year. No No-hitter when you had a no hitter taking it away from the pitcher and calling a runner out at first base in Colorado, when the first baseman was 4 feet away from the bag....cost the Dodgers a win that may have been why they did not make the playoffs.....VERY BAD CALL......
  • hey stupid, all umpires can make a call.
  • you right
  • There's no way that could have at any point been considered an automatic out. Anyone who has watched baseball over the years has seen at least a hundred balls like that drop between fielders. And the call was made too late to protect any runners. Often on a play like that a baserunner does find himself in no-man's land. I would have never complained had the ball been caught and someone been doubled off, because at no time did I ever consider that to be an infield fly. And don't tell me anyone else did, not so much as one Cardinal fan. And if no infield ump called it, that ump shouldn't have.
  • By your comments ( hillbilly-katfan-garabeboy ) shows your lack of knowledge of all the rules of baseball!!! 90% of the time a infield fly will be caught in the infield! 99% of the time an infielder will catch the ball! 1% an outfielder will catch the ball and 1% of the time, the ball will be dropped. The batter is still out after the call is made! The ball is live but the baserunners are not forced to run but can advance at risk! When the shortstop turned to catch the ball, the ump made the call! Untill then, he could not make the call! The shortstop thought he was called of the ball by the left fielder! If caught by the left fielder, it would still be an infield fly! IT WAS THE CORRECT CALL That call did not cost Atlanta the ball game! They threw the game away 3 times!
  • yoy full of sh##
  • you must be an atlanta cry baby
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  • Okay, I'm a Mets fan and even I know the call was terrible. The infielder was half way into the outfield and the ball was very high in the air. The rule states if an ordinary effort is made by the infielder, the umpire can call the infield fly rule to protect the base-runners from being doubled up, but when the infielder is that far into the outfield, and the ball is that high, you should not call the infield fly rule. That obviously took more than an ordinary effort or the outfielder or infielder would have been able to pick up the ball and at least throw the runner out at third or second base. That's what the rule was supposed to protect against and they couldn't even do it. So, that means that the umpire was completely lost when making that decision. It not only cost the Braves the game, it cost them the whole season after having a great year. These umpires are a joke. Unreal.
  • The logic by some of the people on here is ridiculous. A ball that far into the outfield is not an infield fly rule type of fly ball. If that was the case, every ball hit into the out field that is hit high enough into the air should be an infield fly rule. If it's hit high enough, then technically, the infield could have time to run all the way into the outfield, set up, and throw the ball in. He still wouldn't be able to throw a base-runner out. The umpire made a terrible call. He misjudged the distance of the infielder into the outfield.
  • Think about this people, if that ball was hit a little lower, the infielder wouldn't have stood a chance to get under that ball and make the catch. In that situation, that outfielder would still have been able to easily make that catch. At that point, it was no longer an "infield fly rule." So, shouldn't the outfield have stood a better chance of doubling up the base-runners simply by dropping the ball while coming in from the outfield and was in a much better position to make the throw than an infielder moving backwards? It didn't happen. That ball was too far into the outfield to double up the base-runners and call an infield fly rule. The umps will look at this and realize that he made a mistake, but none of us will even hear about it from them. It will be an internal situation.
  • I think by throwing the trash the fans demonstrated just how poorly this call and several other calls were. maybe just maybe mlb will listen and do something about instant replay and not allowing the umps to cover for each other. sometimes we as fans have to take a stand. if there were no trash then the game goes one in 20 seconds...the BAD call just like steroids would have been swept under the rug. the ump made a bad call but unlike the NBA and the NFL, MLB has no way of correcting itself
  • no i like a good game and fair play
  • The whole thing was a shame. The Ump for a lousy call, MLB for a stupid one game wild card play-off, Braves fans for embarassing conduct,(ie: the
    throwing of debris onto the field), and finally the Braves for playing a
    wild card game in such a laid back, don't care fashion. The Braves never seem to be able to bring it in a game that really matters. Of course if they had a manager that knew anything it might be different.
  • The better team last night won the game. Quit the crying!
  • The rule was initiaTED T STOP THE PRACTICE OF LETTING A BALL DROP AND THEN GETTING AT LEAST 3 RUNNERS. tHE FACT THAT THE LEFT FIELD UMPIRE (MUST BE AND NFL REPLACEMENT WHO SNUCK IN) CALLED IT AFTER THE BALL HIT THE GFROUND WAS EVEN MORE DEFINITAVE IN NOT BEING A IFF. THE UMPIRE SHOULD BE FIRED AND THEN THE MLB SHOULD APOLOGISE TO EACH PLAYER AND TRHE STAFF OF THE ATLANTA BRAVES. AND YEA I PLAYED BALL AND ALSO LATER ON UMPIRED
THE BACKYARD
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