There are times when no call really is the best call
Let’s get the obvious on the table up front: Sam Holbrook’s lapse in sound judgment did not cost the Washington Nationals anything in Game 6 of the World Series.
It spiked manager Dave Martinez’s blood pressure, which isn’t good for a man who had heart surgery six weeks ago. It probably did a job on Fox’s ratings for the game since the circus following the play went on for more than 10 minutes.
But the Nationals won the game 7-2. At game’s end the extra run or two it may have cost them proved irrelevant.
On its merits, though, anyone who saw the play, and is familiar with baseball’s unwritten protocol, knows Holbrook goofed.
Turner tapped the ball down the third-base line. Turner charged down the line, a bit in fair territory until his last few strides, we he seemed to drift a hair to his right, though not in the runner’s lane, that 45-foot box in foul ground that begins half way to the bag.
Astros pitcher Brad Peacock’s throw was poor, as it caused first baseman Yuli Gurriel to lunge toward the foul line. Turner inadvertently knocked off Gurriel’s glove (no, this was not reminiscent of A-Rod vs. Arroyo, circa 2004). The ball went off Turner’s leg and he headed to second.
Holbrook immediately called interference.
Technically speaking – that is, considering the paper on which the rules are written – Holbrook got Tuesday night’s interference call right.
Practically speaking, it was an awful call.
The lane is a bit like those yellow speed limit signs found on exit ramps. It is treated more as a suggestion than a command. Peacock’s throw was going to make Gurriel’s chore of receiving it more difficult regardless of Turner’s position.
Such interference calls are typically made when the runner’s position is so far off the path as to make it impossible for fielders to complete the play cleanly.
Judgment calls require more than a photographic memory of the rule book. Holbrook’s judgment, made in the seventh inning of Game 6 in the World Series, was poor.
TIME TRAVEL: Oct. 31, 1969 – “It was Halloween in Nashua last night and at Holman Stadium. Manchester Memorial played the role of the goblin as it stunned the Purple of Nashua with a 14-8 setback that will be recorded as one of the big schoolboy upsets of the season.”
After Memorial built a 14-0 lead with 7:38 left in the second quarter, Nashua “bounced back nicely almost immediately when Mike Demers, who drew the starting right halfback for this game, ripped off 53 yards on a brilliant end sweep. And he capped his touchdown run by going off tackle for the two-point conversion.”
That was Nashua’s scoring for the night.
AND FINALLY: So the Patriots went out and got themselves another has-been placekicker after Mike Nugent’s failed audition. Nick Folk, an 11-year journeyman kicker, last worked in the NFL in 2017, appearing in four games for Tampa Bay.
Good luck with that.
It still says here the Pats are more likely to successfully make half of their two-point conversion attempts than to pull a kicker off the proverbial trash heap and hope for the best.
Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248, email@example.com or @Telegraph_AlanG.com.