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Atlanta fans melting down

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#1 mhanson93

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 05:58 PM

Wow...what a disgace. I'm only listening to the game. How bad was the infield fly call really?

Edited by mhanson93, 05 October 2012 - 06:04 PM.


#2 darin617

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:11 PM

Wow...what a disgace. I'm only listening to the game. How bad was the infield fly call really?


Yeah, the umpires are such a disgrace. Way to blow a playoff game.

#3 JB_Iowa

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 06:56 PM

What was the deal with the phone call that lasted forever?

#4 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:04 PM

Wow...what a disgace. I'm only listening to the game. How bad was the infield fly call really?


Pretty bad. But that's baseball, and Atlanta fans did themselves no favors by their reaction.

#5 biggentleben

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:25 PM

It wasn't as bad as the Chuck Knoblauch game in the dome, but it was terribly embarrassing for this Braves fan to see how the hometown fans responded. It was a horrid call and yet another example of why baseball needs replay, but committing 3 errors cost that game, not the call.
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#6 J-Dog Dungan

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:37 PM

From the way the broadcasters described it, it was far enough into the outfield that a runner would consider tagging and trying to score on it if his team really needed a run.

#7 deanlambrecht

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:46 PM

Absolutely terrible call, but that's no excuse for the fans' reaction.

#8 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:02 PM

The ball landed 225 feet from home plate.
I caught this stat on Twitter: In past 3 seasons, longest "infield fly" that wasn't caught (only 6) was 178 feet from homeplate.

http://bleacherrepor...nfield-fly-rule

It's an egregiously bad call. What's amazing to me is that some people are actaully defending it as the correct call.
http://www.usatoday....dinals/1616389/

I don't see how this play falls within the letter or spirit of the infield fly rule.

#9 mhanson93

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:37 AM

The ball landed 225 feet from home plate.
I caught this stat on Twitter: In past 3 seasons, longest "infield fly" that wasn't caught (only 6) was 178 feet from homeplate.

http://bleacherrepor...nfield-fly-rule

It's an egregiously bad call. What's amazing to me is that some people are actaully defending it as the correct call.
http://www.usatoday....dinals/1616389/

I don't see how this play falls within the letter or spirit of the infield fly rule.


"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."

Kozma was in position to make the catch, but I'm wrestling with the definition of "ordinary effort". Sounds like it was the correct call...I don't like it either though....

Edited by mhanson93, 06 October 2012 - 07:58 AM.


#10 JB_Iowa

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:03 AM

It may have been the right call but it was stunning none-the-less.

I was pulling for St. Louis but frankly the play -- and the call -- made me sick to my stomach.

Overall, neither team was very impressive in this game.

#11 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:30 AM

I think Rosenthal has a good take on it:
http://msn.foxsports...o-excuse-100512

I suppose you could argue it was "correct" within the letter of the rule if you're willing to stretch certain words far enough. But there's no way you can argue it falls within the spirit of the rule. You can't tell me this was the type of situation that the rule was intended to address. Under Holbrook's interpretation, the rule should be invoked every time an infielder runs into the outfield and starting calling for a high fly ball. I've never seen the rule applied that way.

And Cardinals reaction was very telling. They were confused, not screaming for an out call.

#12 powrwrap

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:18 AM

"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."

Kozma was in position to make the catch, but I'm wrestling with the definition of "ordinary effort". Sounds like it was the correct call...I don't like it either though....


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.


It was not ordinary effort. The fact that the umpire did not call it until Kozma broke away was particularly galling. A badly botched call.
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#13 Curt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:14 AM

My first reaction was that it should not have been called. After looking up the rule, I still feel it would have been better not to call it. However...

Here is the rule book: http://mlb.mlb.com/m...eball_Rules.pdf

Here is the rule:

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.

If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces
foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls
untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third
base, it is an Infield Fly.

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.


The rule was applied correctly, as far as I can tell. Distance is not a factor. "Camping" under the ball is not a factor. "The umpire's judgement must govern" and that judgement is "a fair fly ball... which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort." There is nothing about the "intent" of the rule.

"ordinary effort" is the only criteria in question that is to be judged. I don't see any extra-ordinary effort on the part of the shortstop though he did go pretty far to be in position to catch it. He clearly was in position to catch the ball before he stepped out of the way.

#14 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 10:22 AM

It was not ordinary effort. The fact that the umpire did not call it until Kozma broke away was particularly galling. A badly botched call.


---Yes, it was. What's even more galling to me are the feeble attempts by MLB to convince us that this was the correct call and the national media actually buying it instead of doing their job and calling BS on it like they should.

All of these explanations involve standards like "square to the ball" or "under control" which are found nowhere in the text of the rule, and ignore the "ordinary effort" standard that is in the text of the rule.

#15 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:43 AM

The whole point of the rule is to prevent an intentional drop leading to a double or triple play.

In this case, the ball was deep enough that the runners were able to advance safely even after it dropped.

That alone shows that this was not the situation intended to be addressed by the rule. You can stretch the language of the rule to make it fit anyway you want, but using the "duck" test, it was a botched call.

#16 jm3319

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:09 PM

It was a horrid call and yet another example of why baseball needs replay.


Um, no. You can't use replay to look at any judgmental calls in ANY sport. This would 100% not be reviewable in baseball. Replay would not be an option here.

Bad call. MLB and the Umps need to man up and at least admit the mistake. No changing it now, but at least acknowledge the mistake.

#17 Curt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:45 PM

How is it stretching the language of the rule? The language of the rule may be bad. It might not represent the intent adequately but how would you know that? Certainly not by anything in the rule book.

The word "ordinary" is open to interpretation. I didn't see the shortstop even sprint. He sidestepped the whole way, tracking the flight of the ball. He was under it in plenty of time. He would not have had to dive or lunge. How would you feel if he had not got under it and it fell in? Would you have felt that was "ordinary" effort on the shortstop's part?

Perhaps the rule should include wording to the effect that, in the umpires opinion, the fielder dropping the ball intentionally would put the runners at a disadvantage. But it doesn't.

#18 powrwrap

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:48 PM

"ordinary effort" is the only criteria in question that is to be judged. I don't see any extra-ordinary effort on the part of the shortstop though he did go pretty far to be in position to catch it. He clearly was in position to catch the ball before he stepped out of the way.


Running 50 feet from your usual position and almost colliding with an outfielder is "ordinary effort?"

From the 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.


Now, if it was ordinary effort why did it take 6 seconds for the umpire to call it an infield fly?
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#19 biggentleben

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:52 PM

It was a horrid call and yet another example of why baseball needs replay.


Um, no. You can't use replay to look at any judgmental calls in ANY sport. This would 100% not be reviewable in baseball. Replay would not be an option here.

Bad call. MLB and the Umps need to man up and at least admit the mistake. No changing it now, but at least acknowledge the mistake.


Then every call in baseball and football should no longer be reviewable. The umpires mentioned the idea of allowing the staff on the field to overturn fair/foul type of calls which are the epitomy of judgement calls that could be reviewed. If staff on the field could have seen the video and compared it to the rule itself, it would be overturned.
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#20 Curt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:13 PM


"ordinary effort" is the only criteria in question that is to be judged. I don't see any extra-ordinary effort on the part of the shortstop though he did go pretty far to be in position to catch it. He clearly was in position to catch the ball before he stepped out of the way.


Running 50 feet from your usual position and almost colliding with an outfielder is "ordinary effort?"

From the 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.


Now, if it was ordinary effort why did it take 6 seconds for the umpire to call it an infield fly?

It wasn't an ordinary play. It wasn't an ordinary call. It was ordinary effort. Any shortstop not under that ball would be justifiably criticized if not benched. The umpire immediately calls infield fly when he determines it. What should the time limit be? Maybe it should be in the rule. But that would be preposterous.

I'm not saying it was a great call. First thing I wrote was that I didn't think it should have been called. But arguing against it based on the rule book is nonsense. It is hard to argue when the umpire follows the rule book. It can be annoying... like when they never call a strike at the letters until you don't want them to and they do and "Fox Track" confirms it. Or when they always call the runner out at second during a "phantom" double play... until they don't and you don't get a critical out. If the umpire had not called it, I doubt there would be much discussion that he should have. But he did and it was justified based on the rule book.

#21 jm3319

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:40 PM

Then every call in baseball and football should no longer be reviewable. The umpires mentioned the idea of allowing the staff on the field to overturn fair/foul type of calls which are the epitomy of judgement calls that could be reviewed. If staff on the field could have seen the video and compared it to the rule itself, it would be overturned.

Fair/foul calls are the epitome of OBJECTIVE calls. There's nothing judgmental/subjective about fair/foul. The ball is on one side of the line or the other. period. Football: The guy either caught it, or didn't. He either had 2 feet in or didn't.

infield fly rule: the ump has to make a decision based on the situation and how the players are interacting with one another to see whether or not to call something. There's no magic line in the outfield that controls the IFF, hence it was JUDGMENTAL/SUBJECTIVE. There's a huge difference. Just like you can't review holding calls or anything in football that's just the ref's opinion on a play.

#22 glunn

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:46 PM

How is it stretching the language of the rule? The language of the rule may be bad. It might not represent the intent adequately but how would you know that? Certainly not by anything in the rule book.

The word "ordinary" is open to interpretation. I didn't see the shortstop even sprint. He sidestepped the whole way, tracking the flight of the ball. He was under it in plenty of time. He would not have had to dive or lunge. How would you feel if he had not got under it and it fell in? Would you have felt that was "ordinary" effort on the shortstop's part?

Perhaps the rule should include wording to the effect that, in the umpires opinion, the fielder dropping the ball intentionally would put the runners at a disadvantage. But it doesn't.


I agree with your idea for changing the rule.

#23 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:52 PM

[quote name='Curt'][quote name='powrwrap'][quote name='Curt']
"ordinary effort" is the only criteria in question that is to be judged. I don't see any extra-ordinary effort on the part of the shortstop though he did go pretty far to be in position to catch it. He clearly was in position to catch the ball before he stepped out of the way.[/QUOTE]

Running 50 feet from your usual position and almost colliding with an outfielder is "ordinary effort?"

From the 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.


Now, if it was ordinary effort why did it take 6 seconds for the umpire to call it an infield fly?[/QUOTE]
It wasn't an ordinary play. It wasn't an ordinary call. It was ordinary effort. Any shortstop not under that ball would be justifiably criticized if not benched. The umpire immediately calls infield fly when he determines it. What should the time limit be? Maybe it should be in the rule. But that would be preposterous.

I'm not saying it was a great call. First thing I wrote was that I didn't think it should have been called. But arguing against it based on the rule book is nonsense. It is hard to argue when the umpire follows the rule book. It can be annoying... like when they never call a strike at the letters until you don't want them to and they do and "Fox Track" confirms it. Or when they always call the runner out at second during a "phantom" double play... until they don't and you don't get a critical out. If the umpire had not called it, I doubt there would be much discussion that he should have. But he did and it was justified based on the rule book.[/QUOTE]

---Well, he was justified based on the rule book in the sense that he called it when he judged that he should. Of course, that would be equally true if the ball had landed on the warning track, so that argument doesn't really get you anywhere.

There are 2 problems with defending Holbrook's ruling: you need to 1) stretch the meaning of the word "ordinary" well beyond what makes sense in the context it is used in the rule and 2) completely ignore the rationale for the rule's existence, which was not all applicable to this situation.

#24 Curt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 02:17 PM

---Well, he was justified based on the rule book in the sense that he called it when he judged that he should. Of course, that would be equally true if the ball had landed on the warning track, so that argument doesn't really get you anywhere.

There are 2 problems with defending Holbrook's ruling: you need to 1) stretch the meaning of the word "ordinary" well beyond what makes sense in the context it is used in the rule and 2) completely ignore the rationale for the rule's existence, which was not all applicable to this situation.

How would you interpret "immediately" in the rule? The call is ALWAYS made once the umpire determines an infielder can catch it. It often takes time to determine that. Now you are into determining how much time is too much time. Preposerous.

I am not stretching the meaning of the word "ordinary." I have stated twice why I felt the shortstop's effort was "ordinary" which is that that play should be made EVERY time by EVERY shortstop. It included no extra-ordinary (the definition of not ordinary!) effort whatsoever.

As for the rationale of the rule, I agree. That is, in fact, why my position is that it should not have been called. However, the rationale is not part of the rule in ANY way shape or form. It should be. It should be the overriding determinant. But it isn't there. If it is, point it out please.

#25 gil4

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 03:31 PM

I have stated twice why I felt the shortstop's effort was "ordinary" which is that that play should be made EVERY time by EVERY shortstop.


I disagree on the ordinary effort as well. He went much further than normal because the outfielder was so deep, and he never looked like he could catch it with ordinary effort. He made a token call because he thought he could get to it and because no-one else had called it yet, and he was awfuloly anxious to get out of the way ()because he just didn't have it tracked well)..

That said, the protest was hopeless unless the umpires misstated the rationale for the call during the argument. If they said something like "we called it because an infielder had the best opportunity to make the play" rather than using the "ordinary effort" standard, or if they said that the call was wrong but once it was made they couldn't reverse it, then they had a valid protest.

#26 nowheresville

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 03:46 PM

After watching the replays, the problem isn't that the ball was called an infield fly, its that the umpire called it horrifically late.

The umpire didn't signal infield fly until the shortstop peeled off the ball and it was practically on the ground. If he calls it within a reasonable time period, there's no confusion, and I doubt there's even an argument.

Under the rule, it's completely a judgement call, but it absolutely fits the definition of the infield fly rule. The shortstop certainly could have caught the ball with ordinary effort. He was jogging to the outfield, even the pitcher signalled pop-up right off the bat.

Its deep enough where you wouldn't complain if he didn't call it, especially since you're not going to be able to turn a double play by letting the ball drop. But it's not uncommon at all for an infield fly to be called on a ball that could be caught by either an infielder or outfielder, it just doesn't come up all that often because situations where the infield fly rule is in effect are relatively rare all by themselves.

#27 Curt

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:13 PM

This is a little off topic but slightly on so I thought I would relay it. Several years ago (probably 20 now that I think about it) I was driving through my parents' neighborhood. I saw some kids playing ball in a front yard up ahead. I slowed down in case someone ran into the street. As I was neared, I noticed they were about seven years old, give or take, and playing whiffle ball. I slowed down further as I passed and watched the batter hit a pop-up. I was stunned when about five of the kids yelled "Infield Fly Rule" at about the same time. It made me feel really good.

#28 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:36 PM

As for the rationale of the rule, I agree. That is, in fact, why my position is that it should not have been called. However, the rationale is not part of the rule in ANY way shape or form. It should be. It should be the overriding determinant. But it isn't there. If it is, point it out please.


---It isn't actually spelled out in the rule. But that's not how that rules are written, they generally don't state that the reasons for their existence. But even though it isn't written, the rules do not exist in a vacuum, and the reason for the rule is not exactly a mystery. I'm sure all umpire are quite aware of it.

It's just basic common sense to interpret rules in light of their purpose. When you have a situation that falls within the letter of the rule but is clearly inconsistent with the spirit of the rule, then common sense should prevail.

A common sense application of a rule that furthers its purpose is nowhere near as likely to spark the kind of outrage and controversy that this ruling has. But when you make a ruling that defies common sense because it is contrary to the rationale of the rule, you're opening yourself to it.

Edited by one_eyed_jack, 06 October 2012 - 07:41 PM.


#29 one_eyed_jack

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:37 PM

This is a little off topic but slightly on so I thought I would relay it. Several years ago (probably 20 now that I think about it) I was driving through my parents' neighborhood. I saw some kids playing ball in a front yard up ahead. I slowed down in case someone ran into the street. As I was neared, I noticed they were about seven years old, give or take, and playing whiffle ball. I slowed down further as I passed and watched the batter hit a pop-up. I was stunned when about five of the kids yelled "Infield Fly Rule" at about the same time. It made me feel really good.


Great story, thanks for sharing.

#30 IdahoPilgrim

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 06:45 PM

It's just basic common sense to interpret rules in light of their purpose. When you have a situation that falls within the letter of the rule but is clearly consistent with the spirit of the rule, then common sense should prevail.

A common sense application of a rule that furthers its purpose is nowhere near as likely to spark the kind of outrage and controversy that this ruling has. But when you make a ruling that defies common sense because it is contrary to the rationale of the rule, you're opening yourself to it.



Thank you - that was my whole point. Nobody in the stadium except the umpires thought that was an "infield fly."