So, this happened last night in the baseball world. Tied 4-4 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Cardinals had runners on second and third, and needed little more than a deepish fly ball to go up 2-1 in the Series.
Instead, Dustin Pedroia made a great play on a John Jay grounder, and threw Yadier Molina out at home by a country mile. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia then made a fairly pointless throw to third to try to double up Allen Craig, with the ball ultimately winding up down the left field line. Craig got up and took off for home1, but tripped over downed third baseman Will Middlebrooks. Third base ump Jim Joyce immediately signalled obstruction, which home plate umpire Dana DeMuth confirmed, and, although there was a play at the plate and Craig didn't touch home, he was awarded the next base and the Cardinals won 5-4.
Understandably, Boston argued vehemently, but ultimately lost their appeal, for the reasons laid out by the umpires in the post-game news conference.
Everyone had different opinions on how the play developed and their interpretations of the rules, and Red Sox fans the Twitter world over voiced their dissent. Arguments included Craig being off the baseline, Middlebrooks being unable to get out of the way, and "How does that get called in a World Series game?"
Many were quick to point out that regardless of whether the call was correct or not (it was), it was not the reason that Boston lost.2
For one, the Cardinals actually gave away numerous runs by not capitalizing - not the least of which was the bases loaded, none out situation which netted them precisely nothing. Ultimately, the lion's share of the blame needs to reside with Boston manager John Farrell.
There's no way reliever Brandon Workman should have been allowed to bat in the top of the ninth, especially when the reasoning for the move was to save the bullpen from potential overwork. Workman was removed after one batter in the bottom of the ninth for closer Koji Uehara, whom, it should be noted, should have been in the game much earlier, even if it didn't cost them at the time.
Although Farrell admitted it was the wrong non-move in hindsight, it resulted in either A) David Ross not coming into catch on a double-switch and probably not throwing the ball into left field or B) Mike Napoli not hitting for Workman, who, while not having a ton of success in the postseason, would not have been swinging a bat for the first time in his Major League career.
At the end of the day, it's a 7-game series, and all the stats in the world about team records after winning Game 3 don't mean a thing until the final out is recorded. Suck it up, Sox fans - at best, it's a weird blip in a championship season, at worst, you've got an obvious place to lay blame, even if it's misplaced.
1 - As fast as he could, with a wonky ligament in his foot
2 - They forgot, though, that part of Red Sox lore revolves around blaming the sale of Babe Ruth for an 86-year championship drought, so grudgingly accepting things is not always achieved3