Technically, the Atlanta Braves' 2012 season is over. But many fans still are thinking "we wuz robbed," after Friday's 6-3 Wild Card playoff loss to St. Louis at Turner Field.
A controversial infield fly ruling by the left-field umpires played a pivotal role in the Cardinals' victory. "Game changing," was how one TV commentator viewed the call (see the attached video).
The Huffinton Post reported, with the Braves trailing, 6-3 in the eighth inning and runners on first and second, Andrelton Simmons came to the plate with one away. The shortstop popped up a pitch to left field. Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma ranged out into left field. Meanwhile, left fielder Matt Holliday charged in toward the ball. With both players in the area, the pop fly dropped between them.
-- Do you think the infield fly ruling was a bad call? Do you think it cost the Braves the game? Or do you think the Braves deserved to lose anyway, committing three errors? Tell us in the comments below.
It appeared that the Braves had loaded the bases with one out in the eighth. However, the umpire in left field had raised a single finger as the ball dropped, signaling that the infield fly rule was in effect. This meant that Simmons was automatically out.
"You cannot call that an infield fly. It's too deep. He wasn't camped," TBS analyst Ron Darling said immediately after learning of the call.
And the frustrated Turner Field fans followed by raining debris such as cans and bottles onto the field, forcing a delay of several minutes. (See the attached video.) The Braves played the game under protest.
From mlb.com, here is the text of the infield fly 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.