Monday, October 28, 2013

Don't wanna get picked off here in this situation, Part II (Kolten Wong Edition)

During the NLCS, I was making fun of Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Nick Punto for getting picked off at an inopportune time.

With that in mind, I would be remiss if I didn't call attention to the terrible baserunning by St. Louis infielder Kolten Wong on Sunday in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series.

The Cardinals were trailing the Boston Red Sox 4-2 when pinch hitter Allen Craig hit a ball off the right field wall with one out in the ninth. Craig, hobbled by foot and ankle injuries, cannot run at all right now and only reached first base on the deep drive that would have been a double under normal circumstances. Understandably, Wong was summoned to pinch run for the injured Craig.

After Matt Carpenter popped up, Carlos Beltran was the last hope for the Cardinals. If you're St. Louis, Beltran is probably the guy you most want representing your last hope. He was up there representing the tying run, and he has 16 career postseason home runs to his credit. One swing of the bat and the game could be tied.

Well, Beltran never got that swing because Boston closer Koji Uehara (pictured) picked Wong off to end the game. To be fair, Wong slipped on his way back to first base, but nevertheless, such a baserunning miscue is intolerable.

It would be one thing if Wong was representing the tying run. If that were the case, the stolen base would be in play. Down one run, you might be thinking about getting a big lead and a good jump. But down two runs? With a power hitter at the plate? You're not running in that spot. Wong's job in that situation was to take a one-way lead, not get picked off and run when Beltran hit the ball. It was a simple task, but he blew it.

The Red Sox finished off the 4-2 win and the best-of-seven series is now tied, 2-2.

Obstruction call was correct

A quick word about the ending to Game 3: The obstruction call on the last play of the game that awarded St. Louis a 5-4 victory was the correct one. It doesn't matter that people "don't want to see a World Series game end that way." Rules are rules, and the umpires enforced the rules. If the pitcher had committed an obvious balk, should the umpire not call it because it's the ninth inning of a World Series game? I believe he should, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

I felt no sympathy for the Red Sox whatsoever. The umpires weren't the ones who got into a second-and-third, one-out jam. The umpires weren't the ones who threw the ball away. The Red Sox did that, and they deserved to lose.

I think Boston has a well-run organization, a good front office, a good manager, and I respect the Red Sox for the success they've had on the field over the last 10 years. But I grow tired of their whiny fan base very, very quickly.  I have a feeling if Boston doesn't win this series, the fans are going to be bitching and moaning about this obstruction thing for the rest of their days.

Spare me. I don't want to hear about it. Don't make any movies about this call. Don't write any books about it. I don't want to see or hear any crap interviews from celebrity fans about the injustice of it all. I don't want to see any stupid documentary about this incident 10 years from now. Take the pain. It's over. The Red Sox players moved on quickly and took care of business in Game 4. The fans better move on as well. It's anybody's series now, and both teams have every opportunity to win. There will be no excuses for either side when it's over. 


  1. As soon as I saw this happened I thought about you. "Don't wanna get picked off in this situation." Idiot. But it was a perfect storm for Wong. He was in the middle of stepping out on his lead, then slipped a little. Uehara made a perfect move and throw to get him. But also he shouldn't have been two steps and a slide away from the base. Oh well.

    I agree too on the interference. I think, but not sure, that Middlebrooks was arguing the call. Please. He clearly threw his legs up to block the runner. People are saying that it has to be deliberate and that's the hard part of the rule to determine. Well, he clearly stuck his legs up. No question it was interference.

  2. One thing we should note here is that intent does not matter on an obstruction call. We can debate whether Middlebrooks intentionally impeded Craig's progress (I think he did), but it's beside the point. By rule, it's obstruction even if he tripped him on accident.

    This article from NBC explained the rule well, I thought:

  3. I actually read that right after I posted this. So it does make it pretty clear that they made the right call. In the replay you can see both the home and third base umps make the call as soon as it happened. Not like they waited for the outcome at home plate. Either way, it's 2-2. Should be a great final few games. Who would you rather see win? I know it's usually customary to stick with the league that your team is in, but I can't see you wanting the Red Sox, their fans, and the entertainment and sports programming network to relish in another chapmionship.

  4. Jim Joyce likes to get caught up in things as well. Was he not the ump who ruined Galarraga's perfect game for Detroit? At least this time he got it right.

  5. You know me well, Michael. Despite my American League allegiances, I'm sick of Red Sox Nation. I'm rooting for the Cardinals in this series. If Boston wins it, I'll be happy for Jake Peavy, Matt Thornton and Juan Nieves -- former White Sox players and coaches who are now with Boston. But there are just too many insufferable people surrounding the Red Sox for me to root for them.

    And yes, you are right, Joyce blew the call that cost Galarraga his perfect game in Detroit.