Posted October 30, 2013

‘Crazy’ World Series on Nov. 4 cover of Sports Illustrated

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Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals

Al Tielemans/SI

For a World Series that has featured two never-before-seen endings, one of the most amazing individual performances of all-time and a collection of close games, there is no better way to sum it up than ‘The Crazy Classic.’ That’s the apt headline on the cover of one of two new issues of Sports Illustrated this week that features the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, the two Series combatants.

The cover image captures the craziest play yet, the Cardinals’ Allen Craig appearing to be tagged out at the plate by Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 in St. Louis. Unbeknownst to both Craig and Saltalamacchia at the time however, third base umpire Jim Joyce had already ruled obstruction on Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who had inadvertently tripped Craig as he tried to get up from his slide into third and scramble toward the plate to take advantage of an errant throw by Saltalamacchia. Home plate umpire Dana DeMuth, seen on the right, confirmed Joyce’s call and awarded the game-winning run to the Cardinals. It was an unprecedented end to a World Series game and it gave St. Louis a 2-games-to-1 lead in the Series.

WATCH: Controversial obstruction call ends Game 3 (with official rule)

The craziness continued the next night, when Red Sox closer Koji Uehara picked St. Louis rookie Kolten Wong off first for the final out, the first time a World Series game had ever ended on a pick-off. It was the third of four straight games to be decided by two or fewer runs.

WATCH: Wong picked off, leaving stunned Carlos Beltran with bat in his hands

Lost amid those wild plays was the fact that David Ortiz was putting up one of the all-time great World Series performances. Entering a potentially clinching Game 6 on Wednesday night in Boston, Ortiz was hitting .733 for the Series-leading Red Sox. No player has ever had a higher batting average in a Fall Classic that went more than four games.

Ortiz is the premier designated hitter in the majors, a position that has lost much of its thump as offenses around the majors have suffered in the wake of dominant pitching in recent years. In this week’s cover story, SI’s Tom Verducci proposes one possible solution: the Bonus At-Bat, in which a team could use a player like Ortiz for one strategically advisable plate appearance out of his regular turn in the order without removing anyone from the game.

Crazy? Certainly no crazier than anything else we’ve seen over the past week.

8 comments
revbarry45
revbarry45

How about a "home team" rule, that allows the home team to choose, if it wants, to have 5 outs in the last inning.  It would work like this:  if, after three outs in the top of the 8th, the home team decides that it is to their advantage to continue to play defense, for another 3 outs, then they get to bat in the bottom of the inning with 5 outs.  Obviously they are giving up one out in exchange for having an inning when they could work with an advantage of having five.   It could speed up the game, add to some drama, give a team a lift if it is down a run or two, and make for some interesting strategy as the game finishes.

SamIAm1955
SamIAm1955

What baseball needs is simple rules to keep the game moving, not some stupid idea that violates the purity of the game.  When a batter steps into the batter's box, he doesn't leave for any reason short of a visible object in the eye.  If he steps out and there are fewer than two strikes, a strike is called.  If there are two strikes, the team is warned, and the next time the violation is called on a batter for his team, it is a strike regardless of the count. When a pitcher receives the ball, he must immediately look to the catcher for the signs.  If he doesn't, a balk is called.  After he makes his last nod to the catcher and stands up into the stretch or windup, if he doesn't continue and deliver a pitch, it is a balk.  When there is no one on base, the penalty is that a ball is called, regardless of the count.

Remember Bob Gibson!

SamIAm1955
SamIAm1955

Cardinals fan 1964-1982. Red Sox fan 1978-2013. I opposed the DH when it started, and still do.  I have four words in response to the 'bonus batter' idea: NO NO NO, NO!!!

LA_renter
LA_renter

Why do you reiterate that Saltalamacchia made an "errant throw"?  The throw was on the money, Middlebrooks did not catch the ball.  Where else should Saltalamacchia have thrown the ball?  High, so that it would go over Middlebrooks' head? or so that he'd have to pull it down for a tag? On the other side of the bag, so that Middlebrooks would have to swing around 180 degrees?  It's an error on the thirdbaseman, a tough error to take, but an error.

It's funny that home plate umpire Dana DeMuth was concerned with confirming Joyce's call.  Instead, DeMuth should have been concerned with checking that Craig actually touched the base that he was awarded by Joyce.

The obstruction call was, of course, correct, and it's an important rule.  It's funny that obstruction is considered an obscure rule when in fact the notion of obstruction and interference are critical to the way the game is played.  But I wonder whether there's too much liability on the defense trying to make the play in that kind of situation.

SPHeroid
SPHeroid

You want a crazy idea?....Here's one....


They should let teams assign one guy to bat for the pitcher....

This guy would not play in the field....


This rule would make the games duller and lessen difficult decisions for managers....

Great idea, huh?.....

FaatherCzasu
FaatherCzasu

Here's my crazy idea:

More than one player can occupy a base.

jofish
jofish

You're right; that isn't a crazy idea.  It's just straight up stupid.

LA_renter
LA_renter

@SamIAm1955 I agree, mostly.  The problem is not pitchers taking too long.  It's waiting for the damn batter to step back into the box.  When I was in little league, they taught us to remain in the box between pitches.  Now, with my own children, the coaches and umpire instruct the kids to step out of the box to take a practice swing.  Why?

Basically, the umpire should only grant time to the batter when the situation warrants.