Atlanta Braves fans were furious over an umpire's questionable invocation of the infield fly rule during the club's National League wild-card game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday. The ump's call potentially cost the Braves several runs and a chance at winning the game.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Braves were trailing 6-3 with runners on first and second base when Andrelton Simmons hit what some would call a fly ball to left field and what others would call a pop-up to the shortshop. In any case, none of the Cards caught the ball, so Simmons went to first base as the runners advanced, appearing to set up the next batter for a potential grand-slam home run.
However, left-field umpire Sam Holbrook declared Simmons' ball to be an infield fly, leading his automatically being called out.
Braves fans strenuously objected to the call, as they pelted the field with debris, causing a delay of almost 20 minutes.
After Atlanta’s Turner Field was cleaned up, the Braves returned to the field and finished the game under protest. They lost to the Cardinals 6-3.
The infield fly ruling came as a special insult to Braves fans as it was delivered during the final game of beloved player Chipper Jones’ 19-year career. Fans of Jones and the Braves came out in droves to support the retiring superstar, and they were greatly disappointed to see the team take a loss on a questionable call on his last night.
Many believe that Holbrook’s invocation of the infield fly rule in this case was wrong.
"You cannot call that an infield fly. It's too deep. He wasn't camped," TBS analyst Ron Darling said on-air. "You know, this is what happens occasionally when you add extra umpires down the right-field and left-field lines," he added. "You have extra umpires, and sometimes you have extra calls."