Cardinals win Game 3 of the World Series on an obstruction call

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Oh boy. You’re going to be hearing a lot about the ending of this one for a long time.

Let’s set up the scene: Brandon Workman in for his second inning of relief. Matt Adams strikes out on a dropped third strike. Yadier Molina bloops a single to shallow right-center. Allen Craig pinch-hits. Reliever Koji Uehara comes in. Craig doubles down the left field line to put runners on second and third with one out.

Jon Jay ripped a ground ball destined for the outfield but it was stopped by a diving Dustin Pedroia, who fired to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to get Molina on a tag play at home plate. As Craig moves to third base, Saltalamacchia fired to third baseman Will Middlebrooks, but it was wide to his left. Middlebrooks lunged for it, but could not reach it, colliding with Craig in the process. Craig tripped and third base umpire Jim Joyce immediately called obstruction. The ball trickled towards the stands in left field. Left fielder Daniel Nava picked up the ball and fired a strike to home plate. Saltalamacchia tagged Craig with plenty of room to spare, but due to the obstruction call, Craig was awarded home plate so the throw and tag did not matter.

MORE: There are a million little things that go into an outcome like night

Obstruction is discussed in rule 7.06:

When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal “Obstruction.”
If a play is being made on the obstructed runner, or if the batterrunner 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, if there had been no obstruction. The obstructed runner shall be awarded at least one base beyond the base he had last legally touched before the obstruction. Any preceding runners, forced to advance by the award of bases as the penalty for obstruction, shall advance without liability to be put out.

The Cardinals walked off on an obstruction call, winning Game 3 by a 5-4 score to take a 2-1 lead in the World Series. Your winning pitcher: Trevor Rosenthal.  Your losing pitcher: Brandon Workman.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz will oppose Cardinals starter Laynce Lynn when action resumes tomorrow night for Game 4.

MORE: Peavy rips ending call, but here’s why he’s wrong

By the way, you may remember Jim Joyce from such controversial calls as Armando Galarraga’s perfect game that wasn’t.

Javier Baez: “This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it.”

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Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.

While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.

Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”

He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”

Mike Trout proposes change to spring training umpiring

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Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.

According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”

Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.