If the start of the 2012 Major League Baseball postseason wasn’t exciting enough for fans, the fuss stirred up in the one-game playoff between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals should have baseball enthusiasts out in full force.
If the league’s idea was to create excitement from Day 1 of the playoffs, they achieved their goal with conviction.
The infield-fly call by umpire Sam Holbrook has made Friday’s Cardinals win controversial, but controversy creates cash.
The decision to add a second wild-card team and go to a one-game playoff to start the postseason this year had already created excitement, but the frustration over what was viewed as a bad call will go down as the first memory of this expanded format.
Umpires are taught that once an infielder gets his shoulders square to the infield and can make a routine play on the ball, then the umpire, no matter who it is, can and should make the [infield fly rule] call. Looking at the replay, Sam got the call right. He made the right call, by rule. What happened was that Holliday came in and apparently called off [Kozma] from making the catch. But once the call is made, it’s made.
As much as Braves fans don’t want to hear this after such a tough loss, the right call was made on the field. There was no way anyone associated with the league would even contemplate overturning the outcome of this game.
Still, what a wild way for the 2012 playoffs to start!
There was talk about how adding another playoff team to the mix would be detrimental to the game or how a one-game playoff wouldn’t drive in more viewers. Friday’s Game 7-type atmosphere and ending will force fans to never miss the opening of the MLB playoffs again.
Next year’s opening playoff games will likely see boosts in ratings because of the controversy from this season, and there will likely be an immediate boost this year as well.
No one wants to give Bug Selig any credit, but this is the ultimate way to get the postseason started.
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