This past Saturday night Game 3 will be forever remembered for the infamous obstruction call, which ended in a St. Louis walk-off win was the first time I have ever seen that rule enforced as a baseball fan.
Like many others, I was confused about what the heck had happened and when it was deemed as obstruction, I thought why not breakdown in laymen’s terms.
Obstruction scenario: World Series Game 3 – bottom of the 9th inning – one out – score tied at 4.
– Cardinals Jon Jay is up at the plate; down 0-1 and then hits a bouncing ball to right field.
– Meanwhile Craig, who is coming off an injury, is chugging towards third base, so Saltalamacchia heaves the ball at third baseman Will Middlebrooks in hopes to get an inning ending double play.
– Saltalamacchia’s throw was way wide, missing Middlebrook’s glove at the same time Craig was sliding into third base.
– Craig realizes the missed throw and gets up to head home but instead trips over Middlebrooks’s legs as he is outstretched right on the running track.
Here is a video of the above:
The umpires called Middlebrooks for committing obstruction.
And according to MLB rules that automatically moves the runner who was obstructed, in this case Craig, to the next, intended base, which just happened to be home plate.
This resulted in the Cardinals scoring, and winning Game 3 of the World Series no less, with a final score of 5-4.
Looking at reliable Webster’s dictionary definition of obstruction, which is the act of making it difficult for something to happen or move forward, the call made makes sense.
Middlebrooks obstructed Craig’s running path to the next base by remaining on the ground instead of getting back up.
And under MLB’s ruling of obstruction, the fact of it being intentionally done or not does not factor into the call.
So, whether Middlebrooks was slow to get up physically, or if he stayed down on the dirt on purpose doesn’t matter in baseball.
Basically, all Middlebrooks needed to do was get the heck out of Craig’s way to avoid being called out for obstruction.
To read MLB’s official obstruction rule, which falls under Section 7: The Runner, subsection 7.06… CLICK HERE.
Otherwise you can use my easy explanation, as MLB’s official rules tend to be confusing to most fans, as it gets very specific, which it should.
Hope that helps a little. And please, feel free to tell me if it didn’t or if you have any more questions just leave it in a comment.