To Obstruct or To Not Obstruct

The obstruction call that was heard around the baseball world last night ended a World Series game which saw both teams use five different pitchers. Neither starter went deep into the game, as both the Cardinals and the Red Sox relied on the strength and depth of their bull pens to keep the game close while they waited for their offense to come alive. This left the game open to being one miscue or one bad pitch away from ending in dramatic fashion. However, I seriously doubt anyone expected what transpired. Occurred

According to the 2013 Edition of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball:

OBSTRUCTION is the act of a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.”

Furthermore:

Rule 7.06 (a) If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batter-runner is obstructed before he touches first base, the ball is dead and all runners shall advance, without liability to be put out, to the bases they would have reached, in the umpire’s judgment, it there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least on base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runner, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.”

Third base umpire Jim Joyce and home plate umpire Dana DeMuth enforced the obstruction rule correctly. Will Middlebrooks unintentionally obstructed Allen Craig after the throw from Jarrod Saltalamacchia got past Middlebrooks. Despite his best efforts to get out of the way, Middlebrooks obstructed Craigs’ advance towards home. Yes the throw beat Craig home but it was still a relatively close play at the plate. The obstruction call hides the great play by Dustin Pedroia as his heads up throw home to get Yadier Molina started the play and momentarily prevented the Cardinals from winning. The correct call was made by Jim Joyce and Dana DeMuth. Obstruction did occur and the runner was entitled to the next base after he had legally touched third. The extra base just happened to be home and with it being in the bottom of the ninth inning in a tied game it was the game winning run. The circumstances of the game did not, and should not, dictate how an umpire calls the game, and last night the umpiring crew did their job to the joy of the Cardinals and their fans and to the chagrin of the Red Sox Nation.

It does not matter how many baseball games you watch, there is always something new to see. Last night in Game 3 of the World Series was no exception. The Cardinals walk off on an obstruction call and the Red Sox are left to recompose themselves before the start of Game 4 tonight. You just never know what can happen during any given game. This is, in my opinion, what makes baseball so great and potentially maddening at the same time.

D

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