After a controversial infield fly ruling, the St. Louis Cardinals moved past the Atlanta Braves and will face the Washington Nationals in the NLDS.
In a true “Wild” Card Game, the Cardinals pulled ahead and will return to the playoffs after winning the 2011 World Series but losing three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols to free agency. The Cardinals, while also defending MLB champions, come into the playoffs under a load of controversy.
Many feel as if the infield fly call was one of the worst calls in MLB history.
But as Jayson Stark pointed out on Twitter, earlier this evening, the call is “expected to be made by an umpire so long as the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infielder."
The umpire felt that under his discretion, the fielder could have made the play. With that, the final opportunity of the season was gone, and the season quickly came to an end for Atlanta.
“I saw the shortstop go back and get underneath the ball where he would have had ordinary effort and would have caught the baseball, and that’s why I called the infield fly,” said Sam Holbrook, the umpire who made the call.
Unfortunately for the Braves, the final game of Chipper Jones’s career proved to have a remarkably sour (e.g. a field full of beer bottles) ending, as many felt the ball was hit too deep for an infielder to make a play. The Braves filed a protest for the first-ever NL Wild Card Game, but it was too little, too late.
With the conservative values of Major League Baseball as an institution, the protest had been denied and dropped within the evening.
Did you expect the MLB to overturn the ruling?
That’s a clown question, bro.
Instead, the St. Louis Cardinals will go on to play the sage that delivered the aforementioned quote (one Bryce Harper) and the Washington Nationals on Sunday (Oct. 7) at 3:07 p.m. in St. Louis.