ST. LOUIS (MyFoxBoston.com) – Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy didn't mince words when it came to how umpires handled a call that ended Game 3 of the World Series with St. Louis up 5-4 on the Red Sox.
"I'm absolutely shocked, like I said, a game of this magnitude could be decided like that when…don't you have to be in the base line? It just doesn't seem right," said Peavy.
The call? A rare use of the obstruction rule on third baseman Will Middlebrooks that let the Cardinals' Allen Craig score with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, putting the Cards up two games to one on the Sox in the World Series.
"It's a cryin' shame that a game of this magnitude ended the way it did," said Peavy.
Peavy then turned his attention to the umpire who made the call, Dana Demuth.
"That's two major plays that he's been in charge of that…just unbelievable that happens in the World Series," said Peavy.
Demuth was the umpire who incorrectly called Dustin Pedroia out at second in Game One of the World Series after Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma failed to even catch the ball for the putout. That call was reversed.
No such luck in Game Three.
"With the defensive player on the ground, without intent or intent, it's still obstruction," said third base umpire Jim Joyce. "You'd probably have to ask Middlebrooks that one, if he could have done anything. But that's not in our determination."
Joyce is no stranger to controversy himself -- having admitted to making a wrong call in 2010 that denied Detroit's Armando Galarraga a perfect game.
"I hope whoever needs to takes a good long look at what's happened here," said Peavy. "We don't know the rule book, hand and foot, but it just certainly didn't seem right, there. It's all I can do to just say that. I'll leave it at that. It's a crying shame."
Full Text of Obstruction Rule:
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.
Rule 2.00 (Obstruction) Comment: If a fielder is about to receive a thrown ball and if the ball is in flight directly toward and near enough to the fielder so he must occupy his position to receive the ball he may be considered "in the act of fielding a ball." It is entirely up to the judgment of the umpire as to whether a fielder is in the act of fielding a ball. 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.
When obstruction occurs, the umpire shall call or signal "Obstruction."
(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.
Rule 7.06(a) Comment: When a play is being made on an obstructed runner, the umpire shall signal obstruction in the same manner that he calls "Time," with both hands overhead. The ball is immediately dead when this signal is given; however, should a thrown ball be in flight before the obstruction is called by the umpire, the runners are to be awarded such bases on wild throws as they would have been awarded had not obstruction occurred. On a play where a runner was trapped between second and third and obstructed by the third baseman going into third base while the throw is in flight from the shortstop, if such throw goes into the dugout the obstructed runner is to be awarded home base. Any other runners on base in this situation would also be awarded two bases from the base they last legally touched before obstruction was called.
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