With the Braves trailing the Cardinals 6-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, and with runners on first and second and one out, Atlanta shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a pop up into shallow left field that both shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday chased after. The ball fell between Kozma and Holliday, and it looked like the Braves would have the bases loaded with one out for Brian McCann...but the play was called an infield fly, and Simmons was ruled out.
The infield fly rule is notoriously tricky, but this call met none of the criteria for the play. The ball wasn't in the infield, it was pretty clearly in the shallow outfield. The rule says that an infielder can catch the ball with minimal effort, but Kozma was backpedaling on the play and didn't have a good read on the ball the entire time. Thirdly, the call must be made reltaively quickly. Left field umpire Sam Holbrook made the call as the ball was already nearing the ground, a criminally late application of the call.
So to summarize: late call, and a bad call. McCann would walk to load the bases before Michael Bourn struck out to make the inning-ending second out.
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My initial impression was that this was a terrible call. However, the rule doesn't require that the play be made in the infield. And it doesn't say that that the play would have been made with minimal effort. The rule actually says "An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out..." An INFIELD FLY is defined only as a fair fly ball - it doesn't have to be limited to the infield. The play does have to be made by a player who had been stationed in the infield But the level of effort has to be ordinary not minimal. The rule also says that "When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare "Infield Fly" for the benefit of the runners." This is probably the weakest part of the call, but one could say that the ump didn't see it as an Infield fly till the moment before he made the call. I personally thought Kozma was going to make the catch tll he backed off at the last moment. I also don't think his backpedaling at that point looked extraordinary.
Now all that being said, while I have long admired the Braves, I do have a grudge against them going back to the 1992 playoffs, thanks to Francisco Cabrera and Sid Bream. One of the hardest of all the mny bad memories accumulated of my beloved Pirates.