ST. LOUIS – Thanks to a controversial obstruction call, umpire Jim Joyce finds himself in the middle of another media firestorm, except this time, it gave the St Louis Cardinals a 2-1 lead in the 2013 World Series.
Joyce, who has had a history of blowing and making controversial calls, most recently Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game vs Cleveland in 2010, was once again at the center of a much-talked about call.
With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay hit a grounder to Dustin Pedoria, who threw home to catcher Jarron Saltalamacchia, who in tagged out Yadier Molina. Saltalamacchia would then throw past third and into shallow left field enabling Cardinals runner Allen Craig to try to run for home, where he would seem to be tripped by Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Joyce, as third base umpire, would immediately signal obstruction before Craig was tagged out at home, and awarding the Cardinals a controversial win.
While some may question Joyce’s latest call as either a blunder or a case of happenstance for the Cards, one has to first properly understand the proper definition of obstruction, per the Baseball Rules, the official definition of obstruction, known as Rule 7.06 type A and type B is defined as,
Type 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, 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.”
Type B “If no play is being made on the obstructed runner, the play shall proceed until no further action is possible. The umpire shall then call “Time” and impose such penalties, if any, as in his judgment will nullify the act of obstruction.”
Further more, a more broader definition of obstruction with an example is, “ 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,”
“After a fielder has made an attempt to field a ball and missed, he can no longer be in the “act of fielding” the ball”
For example : “an infielder dives at a ground ball and the ball passes him and he continues to lie on the ground and delays the progress of the runner, he very likely has obstructed the runner”
Based on the definitions provided, one can come to the conclusion that while Saltalamacchia’s throw was perhaps unnecessary, Joyce may have been a bit hasty in making such a critical judgment. I am convinced the Cardinals won this game fair and square as they showed more resilience and came up with the timely hits, but thanks to Joyce’s latest.
If this Fall Classic didn’t already have enough history, tradition and drama, thanks to Joyce and Saltalamacchia, it may have added a whole new level of intrigue and spectacle.
Robert D. Cobb is the Founder/CEO/Senior Editor-In-Chief Of The Inscriber : Digital Magazine, for questions, comments and concerns email me at [email protected] follow me on Twitter @RC_TheInscriber and follow The Inscriber : Digital Magazine on Twitter at @TheInscriber