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Cardinals vs. Braves: Sam Holbrook defends Infield Fly Rule call in Wild Card game

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Friday night's left field umpire Sam Holbrook defends applying the Infield Fly Rule in the Wild Card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves.

Scott Cunningham - Getty Images

Umpire Sam Holbrook stood by his controversial Infield Fly Rule call in the Wild Card playoff game between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals at Turner Field. It was a play in the eighth inning with runners on first and second base, when Andrelton Simmons lobbed a fly ball between Cardinals' shortstop Pete Kozma and left fielder Matt Holliday.

The Infield Fly Rule was applied by Holbrook, meaning the Simmons was out and both runners advanced to the next base. The rule is in place to keep infielders from purposely letting pop-ups drop with runners on 1st and 2nd, because a double play could easily be turned in that scenario.

The point of the rule is to protect the baserunners and keep the infielder from cheating, neither of which happened in this case. Here's Holbrook, defending his call, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

"I saw the shortstop go back and get underneath the ball where he would have had ordinary effort and would have caught the baseball, and that's why I called the infield fly."

When asked if there a difference making that call starting from third base or left field:

"It's all judged on what the fielder does. Once that fielder establishes himself and he has ordinary effort on the ball, that's when the call is made. So it wouldn't matter whether it was from third base or on the line out there. But, again, it's all based on what the fielder does, that's what I went on, and that's what I read."

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.