Steve Kallas (TheSTN) – In Cardinals-Braves Playoff Game, That Was A Good Infield Fly Call (Believe It Or Not)

By now you have probably seen the play at least five times:  bottom eight, first and second, one out, Cardinals winning 6-3 and Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons at the plate.  Simmons hits a very high pop fly into shallow left field.  Cardinal shortstop Pete Kozma ran about 30 feet into the outfield, waved to leftfielder Matt Holliday that he had the ball, got under the ball – and then backed away as the ball fell to the ground.  It looked like the bases were loaded, one out.

But along the left field foul line, as soon as Kozma signaled that he had a bead on the ball, leftfield foul line ump Sam Holbrook raised his right arm into the air, signaling the infield fly rule.  When the ball hit the ground –Holliday would say after the game that he knew Kozma had it and didn’t want to get anywhere near the shortstop – both runners advanced, making it second and third with two outs, not bases loaded with one out.


You bet it was.  The fans went ballistic, Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez came out to argue (and would eventually protest the game) and there was a long delay.  In the TBS booth (and on ESPN national radio), nobody really understood the rule.  When they sent it down to Tom Verducci, an excellent baseball writer, he, at least, had read the rule and pointed out the two factors involved in the call.

The first, of course, under the definition of infield fly, is whether the infielder could have caught the fly “with ordinary effort.”  The answer, of course, was absolutely.  While ESPN, the next morning was putting up graphics about how far the ball was from home plate, the distance from home is totally irrelevant with respect to whether the infield fly rule should be called (think weak pop up versus towering pop up).

The reality is that this was a very high pop-up.  Kozma went into the outfield area to catch it and was going to catch it.  Frankly, it was an easy play for a major league shortstop.

And the distance from home means nothing.


While few even understood (or understand) the “ordinary effort” part of the infield fly rule, nobody but the umpires understood the second aspect of the rule: “When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare infield Fly for the benefit of the runners.”

As a result of this aspect of the rule, virtually every “expert” criticized umpire Holbrook for taking too long to make the call.  Everybody misinterpreted the rule, stating that the call had to be made “immediately.”  And, of course, it wasn’t made immediately.

But THAT’S NOT WHAT THE RULE SAYS.  The rule says that the umpire must make the call immediately “WHEN IT SEEMS APPARENT THAT A BATTED BALL WILL BE AN INFIELD FLY.”

And that’s exactly what the umpire did, since it could not be apparent that the shortstop could catch this ball with ordinary effort until he got out there, waved off the outfielder and was about to make the catch.

Then, and ONLY THEN, could the umpire invoke the infield fly rule.

And that’s exactly what he did.


Well, that’s an easy one.  The infield fly rule is based upon the judgment of the umpire.  It’s like protesting a ball-strike call or a bang-bang play at first.  Even though the umpire displayed good judgment (and made the correct call), even if he had terribly botched it (he didn’t), the protest still would have been denied.

Of greater interest is the lack of knowledge of fans and so-called “experts.”  On ESPN radio, one of the commentators actually said on the air that the play had to be reversed (preposterous).  On the TV telecast, when the home plate ump went over to speak with Cardinal manager Mike Matheny, one of the commentators, jumping the gun, said that the play was going to be reversed (also preposterous).


Well, the fans’ reaction was disgraceful.  But, again, very few understand the nuances of baseball, including the infield fly rule.  The rule is there to protect the offense, to make sure that a fielder does not drop a ball intentionally to try and get a double play.

In fact, on this play, the offense benefitted as much as it could as both runners successfully moved up.  The fact that no run scored in that inning spoke more to Atlanta’s inefficiency (both at bat and in the field – three throwing errors that really cost the Braves the game) than a perceived bad call.

There was no bad call – and some will never understand that.  When the Associated Press article calls the play “an umpiring call that only the NFL’s replacement referees would agree with” well, you know that there is a problem – not with the umpiring, but with the “experts” who cover the game.


The comment to the definition of an infield fly under the Definition section (2.0) of the Official Rules of Major League Baseball states:  “The umpire must also rule that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpires [sic] judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder.”

What that means, in this case, is that, if after Kozma called for the ball (and then moved forward as if Holliday had called him off), Holliday ran in and caught it, the infield fly rule STILL could have been called.

And there probably would have been a riot in the stadium.


The conclusion is that the right call was made and virtually everybody didn’t understand it.

The reality is that football “experts” sometimes don’t understand football rules (the Tom Brady “tuck rule” game comes to mind).

The reality is that baseball “experts” sometimes don’t understand baseball rules (if you hear anybody say that the call was wrong because it wasn’t called “immediately” (an impossibility under this particular play), they still don’t understand the rule).

And that’s just the way it is.


While the future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones had a miserable game, throwing errors do occur.  Ground balls to second do occur.  But it was disgraceful to see Chipper, in his final at bat, jog to first when he made a determination that he was going to be thrown out at first on a broken-bat grounder up the middle.

He jogged, and then sped up when the throw pulled the first baseman off the base.  Chipper was still out but was called safe, maybe to save him some embarrassment, maybe it was just a blown call.  The failure to run hard to first has become an epidemic in baseball.

But that’s for another day.

Brad Kurtzberg (TheSTN) – Wild Card Works Well for Baseball

The first season with Major League Baseball’s new playoff format has just ended and it has to be considered a success.

Playoff races in both the AL and NL took on a new intensity. Teams were struggling hard not just to make the playoffs as in year’s past, but to actually win their division. In the past, there was really no difference between making the playoffs as a wild card or as a divisionwinner. Now, with the wild card teams facing a one-game elimination playoff, that is no longer the case.

The change allows division winners several more benefits besides merely enjoying one extra home game in the opening round series. Now, wild card teams face the risk of having worked hard for 162 games only to see their entire postseason end after just one game. In addition, division winners have an extra two or three days to set their pitching rotation up the way they want it for the ALDS and NLDS while the wild card teams have less rest and less ability to set up their starting pitchers.

The added wild cards in each league also kept the races closer and meant that more teams were in the playoff race deeper into the season. This keeps more fans around the league interested, allows for more meaningful games on the schedule in September and should serve to increase attendance.

Both leagues had great races down the stretch. The battle for the AL East and AL West went down to the final day of the regular season and because of the new wild card format, winning the division was important. Sure, the Athletics and Rangers both qualified for the playoffs, as did the Yankees and Orioles, but Texas and Baltimore now face a one-game elimination while the A’s and Yankees can wait a few days for their series to start and have a best-of-five series with a lot more of a margin for error.

It also helped MLB to have some new teams qualify for the playoff this year. Washington has a postseason representative for the first time since 1933 and the Nationals are in the playoffs for the first time since they relocated from Montreal.  The A’s were an unexpected playoff qualifier as well, making a huge late season comeback to upset the Rangers and win the AL West and the Orioles also surprised almost everybody to reach the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

Next year, there will be more changes with the Houston Astros moving from the NL to the AL, giving each team 15 teams and setting up Interleague play throughout the season. It remains to be seen how that change works out, but the new two wild card system got off to a great start in its first season.

TheSTN – 123 Former D-Leaguers In NBA Training Camps

One hundred and twenty three players with NBA Development League experience over the last 11 seasons are featured on 2012-13 NBA training camp rosters, including 52 who spent time in the NBA D-League last season.

The Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston Rockets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwovles, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz each have six players with NBA D-League experience on their respective training camp rosters, while an additional five teams each have five former NBA D-League players on their training camp squads.

The 2012-13 NBA D-League tips off its 12th season on Friday, Nov. 23 with a four-game slate including matchups between the Maine Red Claws and Canton Charge, Erie BayHawks and Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Texas Legends and Tulsa 66ers, and the Bakersfield Jam and Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Following is the list of former NBA D-League players on 2012-13 NBA training camp rosters:

Player                     NBA Team

Adrien, Jeff              Charlotte

Ahearn, Blake          Indiana

Akognon, Josh         Dallas

Aldrich, Cole            Oklahoma City

Amundson, Lou       Minnesota

Anderson, Alan        Toronto

Anderson, James      Atlanta

Anthony, Joel           Miami

Azubuike, Kelenna   Cleveland

Babbitt, Luke            Portland

Barea, Jose               Minnesota

Barnes, Matt             L.A. Clippers

Barron, Earl              Washington

Bass, Brandon          Boston

Beaubois, Rodrigue  Dallas

Benson, Keith           Atlanta

Blatche, Andray       Brooklyn

Bledsoe, Eric            L.A. Clippers

Bradley, Avery         Boston

Brooks, Aaron          Sacramento

Brown, Shannon       Phoenix

Butch, Brian             Utah

Bynum, Will             Detroit

Johnson, Carldell      Atlanta

Carroll, DeMarre      Utah

Carroll, Matt             Charlotte

Clark, Earl                L.A. Lakers

Conroy, Will             Minnesota

Cook, Daequan        Oklahoma City

Cooksey, Vance       Chicago

Copeland, Chris        New York

Davis, Ed                  Toronto

Dupree, Ronald        Memphis

Ebanks, Devin          L.A. Lakers

Evans, Jeremy          Utah

Eyenga, Christian     Orlando

Famous, Jarrid          Memphis

Flynn, Jonny            Detroit

Forbes, Gary             Houston

Gaines, Sundiata       Indiana

Gee, Alonzo             Cleveland

Gilder, Trey              Utah

Gladness, Mickell     Miami

Gortat, Marcin          Phoenix

Goudelock, Andrew L.A. Lakers

Green, Danny           San Antonio

Green, Gerald           Indiana

Haddadi, Hamed      Memphis

Hannah, Stefhon      Golden State

Hamilton, Jordan      Denver

Harangody, Luke      Cleveland

Harris, Terrel            Miami

Hayes, Chuck           Sacramento

Hayward, Lazar        Oklahoma City

Henry, Xavier           New Orleans

Higgins, Cory           Charlotte

Hollins, Ryan           L.A. Clippers

Honeycutt, Tyler      Sacramento

Ilyasova, Ersan         Milwaukee

Jackson, Darnell       Utah

Jackson, Reggie        Oklahoma City

Johnson, Amir          Toronto

Johnson, Ivan           Atlanta

Johnson, James        Sacramento

Jones, Dahntay         Dallas

Jones, Dominique     Dallas

Jordan, Jerome         Memphis

Joseph, Cory            San Antonio

Kennedy, D.J.          Memphis

Koufos, Kosta          Denver

Kurz, Robert             Boston

Lee, Malcolm           Minnesota

Leslie, Travis            L.A. Clippers

Lin, Jeremy              Houston

Livingston, Shaun     Houston

Lucas, John              Toronto

Mahinmi, Ian            Indiana

Martin, Cartier          Washington

Mays, James             Brooklyn

McNeal, Jerel           Toronto

McRoberts, Josh       Orlando

Miles, CJ                  Cleveland

Mills, Patty               San Antonio

Morris, Darius          L.A. Lakers

Morris, Marcus         Houston

Mullens, Byron         Charlotte

N’Diaye, Hamady     Sacramento

Neal, Gary                San Antonio

Nevill, Luke             Indiana

Novak, Steve            New York

Odom, Lamar           L.A. Clippers

Patterson, Patrick      Houston

Pittman, Dexter         Miami

Powell, Josh             San Antonio

Samuels, Samardo    Cleveland

Sanders, Larry          Milwaukee

Selby, Josh               Memphis

Sessions, Ramon      Charlotte

Sloan, Donald           Cleveland

Smith, Greg              Houston

Smith, Ish                 Orlando

Smith, Jamar             Boston

Smith, Jason             New Orleans

Stiemsma, Greg        Minnesota

Stone, Julyan            Denver

Tarver, Seth              Minnesota

Taylor, Jermaine       Minnesota

Temple, Garrett        Miami

Thabeet, Hasheem    Oklahoma City

Thomas, Lance         New Orleans

Tinsley, Jamaal         Utah

Tolliver, Anthony     Atlanta

Tucker, PJ                Phoenix

Tyler, Jeremy           Golden State

Watson, CJ               Brooklyn

Webster, Martell       Washington

White, James            New York

Williams, Lou           Atlanta

Williams, Reggie       Charlotte

Williams, Terrence   Detroit

Wright, Chris            Toronto

Wright, Dorell           Orlando

Zeller, Luke              Phoenix

TheSTN – NBA Returns To London With Regular Season Game Featuring Pistons & Knicks

The National Basketball Association (NBA) will return to London with its third regular-season game in Europe featuring the three-time NBA champion Detroit Pistons and the two-time champion New York Knicks, the league announced.

NBA London Live 2013 will take place on Jan. 17, 2013 at The O2 which will host its seventh NBA game, including four preseason games, since 2007.  Tickets will go on sale on Oct. 30 at

The game follows the league’s first-ever regular-season games in Europe held in March 2011, which included a pair of sold-out contests between the Toronto Raptors and New Jersey Nets also played at The O2.  Following NBA London Live 2013, the NBA will have played a total of 115 games internationally since 1988, including 16 regular-season games in Japan, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.

“London was the epicenter of global sports this summer, and the Olympics were a tremendous showcase for basketball,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “Playing our third regular-season game in the city in three years and having historic franchises like the Knicks and Pistons serve as our ambassadors provide extraordinary opportunities to further the game’s growth and development in the UK and throughout Europe.”

“The Pistons are excited to participate in the NBA London Live 2013,” said Dennis Mannion, President and CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons. “Playing a regular-season game in London against the New York Knicks will provide a great experience for our players and we look forward to showcasing our brand of Hard, Smart and Together Detroit Basketball to fans on a global scale.”

“I am excited to show our great fans in London what New York basketball is about,” said New York Knicks Head Coach Mike Woodson.  “For Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to return to the city where they helped Team USA win the Gold makes it even more special for our team.”

NBA London Live 2013 marks a continuation of the strong relationship between the NBA and Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), owners of The O2. The 2012 NBA preseason includes two games at AEG venues in Istanbul (Ülker Sports Arena – Oct. 5) and Berlin (O2 World – Oct. 6) as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA™.

“We are thrilled to host NBA London Live 2013 at The O2 in London as part of our ongoing partnership with the NBA globally,” said Jay Marciano, President and CEO of AEG Europe.  “Following the two regular-season games in London in 2011, and hosting NBA Europe Live games at the O2 World in Berlin and at the Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, we look forward to more exciting regular-season NBA action at The O2, the world’s most popular venue.”

The Knicks are led by 2012 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, six-time NBA All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, and veterans Marcus Camby and Jason Kidd who joined the team this summer. The Detroit Pistons feature a young and exciting roster highlighted by center Greg Monroe, NBA All-Rookie first team selection Brandon Knight, NBA All-Rookie second team selection Rodney Stuckey, and center Andre Drummond, the ninth pick in the 2012 NBA Draft presented by State Farm.  The roster also includes 2004 NBA Champion Tayshaun Prince, and veterans Corey Maggette and Jason Maxiell.

The Knicks’ most recent international trip was in 2010 when they played in preseason games in Milan, Italy and Paris, France as part of NBA Europe Live 2010. For the Detroit Pistons, NBA London Live 2013 will be their first-ever game in Europe.

The NBA became the first American professional sports league to stage regular-season games outside of North America when the Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz opened the 1990-91 season with two games in Tokyo. Following NBA London Live 2013, 61 games featuring 26 NBA teams will have been played in 18 European cities since 1988.

NBA London Live 2013 also will mark the eighth NBA game held internationally this season, including the comprehensive slate of seven preseason games played as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA™, NBA China Games, and NBA Mexico Game presented by BBVA Bancomer.

The 2012-13 NBA preseason will tip off in Europe where the Boston Celtics will play a pair of games in Istanbul and Milan (Oct. 5 and 7), and the Dallas Mavericks will play games in Berlin and Barcelona (Oct. 6 and 9) as part of NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA.  NBA China Games 2012 will feature two games between the reigning NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing (Oct. 11) and Shanghai (Oct. 14), while NBA Mexico Game 2012 will feature the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets in Mexico City (Oct. 7).

TheSTN – NBA Tips-Off Seven International Games

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is set to embark on a comprehensive international preseason tour that includes six NBA teams traveling to seven cities in six countries as part of the league’s 2012 international preseason schedule.

The schedule includes three different international tours: NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA™, 2012 NBA Mexico Game presented by BBVA Bancomer, and NBA China Games 2012. Following the games, NBA teams will have played 114 games outside the U.S. and Canada in 32 cities and 17 countries since 1988.

All seven games will air live on NBA TV in the U.S. and will be televised to fans in 215 countries and territories. The NBA will also engage more than 320 million fans and followers across social media on a global basis in real time and provide unprecedented behind-the-scenes access for fans.

In Greater China, fans can watch NBA China Games on television networks and websites including: CCTV5, BesTV, Guangdong TV, Ningxia Satellite TV, Now Sport,,,, and  Local partners televising NBA Europe Live in each of the countries hosting games include D-Smart in Turkey, Sport1+ in Germany, Sky Sport 2 in Italy, and Canal+ Deportes in Spain.   In addition, the games in Europe will be carried for the first time by the following television and radio stations: OTE Sport 3 (Greece), Dolce Sport 2 (Romania), SABC 1 (South Africa), and KTXA (United States).  ESPN Dos and TV Azteca will broadcast NBA Mexico Game.

Multinational and local marketing partners will support all seven international games to help expand the excitement surrounding the games among fans locally with retail promotions, sweepstakes, and grassroots events. At the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai on Oct. 13, NBA China will host the first-ever NBA Fan Appreciation Day, a free open practice featuring the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers that will thank fans for their support of NBA China Games 2012. In Europe, the league will host the partner-supported NBA Fan Zone, a free, outdoor fan festival taking place in each of the four NBA Europe Live cities.

The NBA will conduct a series of community events with local partners throughout the games as part of its global commitment to social responsibilities through NBA Cares. NBA players and coaches on participating NBA teams, NBA legends, and executives from the league and the teams will lead the efforts, which will include dedicating a refurbished basketball court in Berlin and a refurbished Reading & Learning Center in Beijing, along with basketball clinics in Barcelona, Beijing, Istanbul, Mexico City, Milan, and Shanghai.

NBA Europe Live presented by BBVA™ features the 17-time NBA champion Boston Celtics and 2011 NBA Champion Dallas Mavericks taking on top Euroleague basketball teams in a four-city European tour. The games tip off on Oct. 5 when the Celtics play Fenerbahce Ulker at the newly opened Ulker Sports Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The Celtics will then travel to Milan, Italy, where they will take on EA7 Emporio Armani at the Mediolanum Forum on Oct.7.

The tour continues when the Mavericks featuring German native Dirk Nowitzki travel to Berlin and take on Alba Berlin on Oct. 6 at the The O2 World. The Mavericks will travel to Barcelona, Spain for the final game in a showdown against FC Barcelona Regal at the Palau Sant Jordi on Oct. 9. Since 1988, the NBA has staged 56 games in 18 cities throughout Europe.

NBA Mexico Game 2012 presented by BBVA Bancomer will feature the Orlando Magic – including Mexico native Gustavo Ayon – and New Orleans Hornets on Oct. 7 at the newly opened Mexico City Arena in Mexico City. The NBA has played more matchups in Mexico than in any other country outside the U.S. and Canada, staging 20 games there, 18 of them in Mexico City.

NBA China Games 2012 will feature two games between the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers: on Oct. 11 at the MasterCard Center in Beijing and on Oct. 14 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai. This marks the sixth edition of NBA China Games and the first time the defending NBA champions will compete in the event. In 2004, the NBA became the first American professional sports league to play games in China, with two games between the Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing






NBA Europe Live 2012 Presented By BBVA        
  1. Boston Celtics vs. Fenerbahce Ulker

Oct. 5

Ulker Sports Arena



  1. Dallas Mavericks vs. Alba Berlin

Oct. 6

The O2 World



  1. Boston Celtics vs. EA7 Emporio Armani Milano

Oct. 7

Mediolanum Forum



  1. Dallas Mavericks vs. FC Barcelona Regal

Oct. 9

Palau Sant Jordi




NBA Mexico Game 2012 presented

by BBVA Bancomer

  1. New Orleans Hornets vs. Orlando Magic

Oct. 7

Mexico City Arena

Mexico City



NBA China Games 2012

  1. Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat

Oct. 11

MasterCard Center



  1. Los Angeles Clippers vs. Miami Heat

Oct. 14

Mercedes-Benz Arena





TheSTN – NFL: Rookies of the Month Announced

Quarterback ROBERT GRIFFIN III of the Washington Redskins and defensive end CHANDLER JONES of the New England Patriots are the NFL Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Month for September, the NFL announced today.



  • Griffin, the second overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Baylor, led all rookies and ranked fourth in the NFL with a 103.2 passer rating. He completed 86 of 124 passes (69.4 percent) for 1,070 yards with four touchdowns and one interception.
  • He rushed for 234 yards during the month, the most by an NFL quarterback. His four rushing touchdowns in September tied for the NFL lead among all players.
  • In Week 1, Griffin was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Redskins’ win at New Orleans in which he became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards and win a season opener. He is also the only player in NFL history to pass for at least 300 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception in an NFL debut.
  • In Week 4, Griffin orchestrated the first fourth-quarter comeback victory of his NFL career. He passed for a career-best 323 yards with a 102.4 passer rating and rushed for 36 yards and a touchdown.
  • Griffin is one of only three rookies in NFL history to pass for at least 1,000 yards (1,070) in the first four weeks of a season.
  • Griffin and tackle CHRIS SAMUELS (October 2000) are the only Redskins to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month.
  • Last season, two quarterbacks were named NFL Rookie of the Month: CAM NEWTON (September) and ANDY DALTON (October).


  • Jones, a first-round selection out of Syracuse, registered a team-high three sacks in September, the most among NFL rookies.
  • Jones finished September with 19 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles.
  • He recorded a sack in three of four games during the month.
  • On Kickoff Weekend, Jones forced a fumble when he sacked Titans quarterback JAKE LOCKER and Patriots rookie linebacker DONT’A HIGHTOWER recovered the ball for a six-yard fumble return-touchdown in the Patriots’ 34-13 win at Tennessee.
  • In Week 2, Jones recorded his second sack of the season and forced a fumble on Cardinals quarterback KEVIN KOLB, which was recovered by Patriots rookie safety TAVON WILSON.
  • In Week 4, Jones registered his third sack in four games on Bills quarterback RYAN FITZPATRICK for a five-yard loss in the Patriots’ 52-28 win at Buffalo.
  • Jones’ three sacks are the most by a Patriots rookie through the first four games since 1993 (CHRIS SLADE, five).
  • He joins JEROD MAYO (October of 2008) as the only Patriots to be named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month.