October 5, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; The grounds crew pick trash off of the field after the Atlanta Braves braves fans protest a call during the eight inning of the 2012 National League wild card playoff game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

How the Cardinals beat the Braves and Rules of Fan Etiquette

I was at the game Friday night when the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The final score was 6-4. The game had a few controversial moments but, after further review and being educated in the rules of baseball by a fellow blogger and Cardinal fan, the controversy only existed because of the lack of knowledge regarding

baseball rules. And for myself, there was only one controversial moment and it wasn’t the moment that had fans throwing debris on the field.

The moment that annoyed me was the umpire allowing a player “time”, well after the pitcher had started his delivery. Before the umpire gave the David Ross “time”, he had swung and missed on a pitch by Kyle Lohse; which would have ended the inning for the third out. Because time was called, the play was not counted and on the next pitch, Ross homered and put the Braves ahead 2-0. A player must ask for “time”, so either Ross didn’t initially hear the umpire or the umpire was just slow responding to the request.

The other controversy was a play involving a Braves player, Andrelton Simmons. He bunted but, while running to first, he was hit by the ball and also ran on the grass; which is out of the baseline. He was called out for running out of the base path.

Finally, the eighth inning controversy is what caused many Braves fans temporarily lose their mind. Simmons (this wasn’t his night) was also involved. He hit a fly ball to the outfield and as the players; one an outfielder and the other an infielder went to make the play, the ball dropped between the two players. The umpire had called the infield fly rule and the batter was out. Because the ball was in shallow left field, fan assumed it should not have been ruled as such. To see the details on this, I’ll tweet the blog explaining in detail but, in short, it’s the infielder who determines if the ball is in the “infield fly rule” category. In this instance, the infielder was Pete Kozma, Cardinals shortstop; making the call a valid one.

I was in the stands and many of the Braves’ fans were beside themselves. But, not all acted unruly as evidenced by my co-workers who were also at the game sitting near me. I could see the confusion, anger and angst on their faces but, they acted with calm and class. I almost felt bad for them and their team…I said almost.

So, in closing, let me give you my four rules of etiquette, every fan should abide by in sports.

#1 – Respect the officials; they are human and they can make some maddening calls and decisions. But, they make mistakes and although sometimes mistakes can be appealed, disputed and overturned; that is rarely the case. They don’t have an easy job and if you doubt that, become one and see how “easy” it is to do the job.

#2 – Respect other fans; it doesn’t matter if the fans are for your team or against. They are there to enjoy the game and cheer on whatever team they’re rooting for and they have that right. Yelling profanity incessantly, kicking seats and throwing debris on the field is ridiculous. There are often children in the stands and my young son and my wife were pretty uncomfortable during those twenty minutes. Remember the poor man who was almost beat to death in Los Angeles early in the season because he was a fan of the opposing team? That’s insane.

#3 – If you want to get drunk; STAY HOME! I now understand why some stadiums no longer allow alcohol. Many of the aggravated fans near me were drunk. They repeatedly sang a chorus of bullsh*t and other crude remarks during the game. And I’m sure most if not all of the fans who were throwing debris were drunk.

#4 – It’s just a game; remember what you were probably told as a child. It’s still true and while no one wants their team to lose, they will play again. Either tomorrow, next week or next season but the team will usually play again. On the grand scale of importance, games in any sport are miniscule so, take it for what it’s worth. As much as I love the St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Cardinals, Fighting Illini and Chicago Bulls, I never agonize more than a few hours if they lose and it usually only a few minutes. So, in the unlikely event the Cardinals don’t win the World Series, my anger and disappointment will subside after a day…or two.

Thanks for reading. Go Cards!

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  • Tom

    Dude,the score was 6-3.

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  • Jim

    As a Braves fan, who also attended the game, I agree with the sentiment that the game wasn’t decided by the infamous call. I also agree that there is never any valid reason to hurl bottles onto the field and Atlanta should be ashamed of itself. I even agree that the Ross home run was the result of poor officiating. I do, however, think that the “infield fly,” as it was called, may be the worst judgment call I’ve ever seen in sports.
    Yes, the infielder made a move on the ball, but the point of the rule is not to allow the infielders to be lazy on an easy out; the point is to protect the runners from a cheap double play. There’s simply no way that Kozma could have turned that ball from 70 feet in left field into a double play ball. Error in judgment #1.
    Additionally, the infield fly rule dictates that the call is made immediately. If you watch the replay, the ump didn’t call infield fly until Kozma started to pull away from the ball and let Holliday have it. Error in judgment #2.
    And obviously, he pulled away, because he thought it was the outfielder’s ball. And because the infielder himself thought the ball was in the outfielder’s territory, there is no way to say that it was “ordinary effort” for Kozma to be making the play, which is the other caveat to the infield fly rule. Error in judgment #3.
    So, while the play didn’t decide the game, the call was bad in every possible aspect of the rule. There is simply no way that was an infield fly. I don’t know what was worse last night: the fans reactions, the Braves play, or the umps calls, but all in all it was a bad night for baseball.

  • Jim

    A similar play happened in Game 6 , if I remember correctly, of last years World Series. Furcal went for the ball, Holiday was running in and at the last second Furcal pulled up and the ball fell between the two players. No call was made by the umpire in that game. Poor communication between players causes these things to happen. I am a St Louis fan although I have lived in Colorado since 1973. Grew up in the St Louis area. I can understand the Braves fans being upset. However, look at the game realistically. The Braves gave the Cardinals that game because of their poor fielding. You cannot commit 3 errors and give 4 unearned runs and expect to win ball games. The Cardinals capitalized on the Braves poor play. Likewise, look at yesterdays game against the National’s. The Cardinals were given so many chances by the Nationals poor pitching to put the game away. They came up short when they needed to come up big. Such is the game of baseball! Thank you Freddie for the post. Very good. Hopefully it will help put things into perspective for others.