• Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I wrote something a couple of weeks ago about officiating and what sports fans everywhere interpret as “The Call.”
For Cubs fans it’s the foul ball interference play when Cubs fan Steve Bartman reached out and caused Moises Alou to miss making a catch that would have certainly propelled the Cubbies to the 2003 World Series. Maybe.
For Baltimore Orioles fans it’s the 1996 AL Championship series and Jeffrey Maier reaching over the right field wall to snare a Derek Jeter fly ball and turn it into a home run. The O’s have not won since, until last week.
For Cincinnati Reds fans it’s the Bernie Carbo phantom tag at the plate by Elrod Hendricks in the 1970 World Series. For Packers fans it’s that ball game in Seattle two weeks ago.
Everyone has “The Call” to grumble about while nursing a tall cold one and munching on pretzels, “The Call” that cost them everything.
Now the Atlanta Braves have a call to moan and groan about.
I saw the replay. I didn’t see the play live as I was standing along the sidelines at Gerald Moody field watching a Berkeley Stags high school football game at the time.
Was it a bad call? To Braves fans, most certainly, yes it was. But was it the correct call?
Unfortunately, yes it was.
Did it cost the Braves the game and a continued trip into the post season? No.
What the call magnified was the kneejerk reaction that exists in Major League Baseball. There have been several during Bud Selig’s tenure as commissioner.
The All-Star tie game debacle resulted in the All-Star Game winner getting home field advantage in the World Series. The Biblical collapse of the Braves and Boston Red Sox in 2011 resulted in an extra wild card team being added to the playoff format resulting in an “exciting winner take all” single play-in game.
It’s a noble premise, but not in baseball, when an entire 162-game season rides on the outcome of one nine-inning game.
More than 50,000 Atlanta fans felt robbed by umpire Sam Holbrook’s infield fly rule call from the “Can of Corn” zone in left field, and these fans expressed their outrage at the allegedly errant call by chucking beer cans onto the field.
Since when are vendors serving beer cans anyway, especially half full ones that can get a decent trajectory when chucked half full? You can bet the farm the Braves won’t be serving those up next year.
The bottom line here is “The Call.” It’s the human condition. Blown or a good call, depending on if you’re a Braves or Cardinals fan, it is the right call.
That’s sports, and that’s baseball.
And we get to spend the next five months moaning and groaning about it until pitchers and catchers report next February.
What I’m upset with is the way the Braves played. Three errors resulting in five unearned runs.
Chipper Jones dogging it on an infield hit with two-outs in the ninth when he should have been busting his tail to keep a rally alive. He almost embarrassed himself. Not a good way to go out at all.
“The Call” makes me miss baseball already and I’m counting down the days until spring training when we get to do this all over again. I can’t wait.  

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