Coming into the postseason the Atlanta Braves had high hopes, with Chipper Jones looking to make one last playoff run before heading off into the sunset. Unfortunately things didn't quite turn out quite the way that they wanted, as the Braves lost to the St. Louis Cardinals on October 5 by the score of 6-3 in what will forever be remembered by "infield fly rule-gate."
The Braves had everything going for them heading into the game, including home field advantage and a starting pitcher that seemingly could not lose whenever he took the mound in Kris Medlen. Medlen started off the game great with a lot of movement on his pitches, but after the third inning everything seemed to fall apart for him, overall going just over six innings and giving up five runs on three hits to go along with four strikeouts as well. Part of it had to do with a lot of errors that his teammates made, including an uncanny one made by Chipper Jones in the fourth inning that led to three runs for the Cardinals. I still think it was the right move for Fredi Gonzalez to have Medlen on the mound instead of Hudson, but things just didn't work out the way that they were supposed to.
This game will forever be remembered by the botched call made in the eighth inning, and it is unfortunate that it had to happen at that particular moment. Basically, what happened was that a Braves hitter hit a pop fly out into left field, well beyond the infield, but was somehow called an out due to the infield fly rule. Aside from why it was called an infield fly rule in the first place, no one caught the ball, as the shortstop and left fielder just looked at each other as it dropped to the ground. This had significant implications, as the bases would have been loaded with only one out, and who knows what could have happened. As a result, something has to be changed either when it comes to having right field/left field umpires, or the rule itself, because what happened was simply unacceptable and in my opinion one of the worst calls I have ever seen.
Jones ended his career going 1 for 5 with a legged-out single in the ninth inning to give the Braves a chance at tying up the game, but Dan Uggla grounded out to second base with two runners on to end the ball game. One would have thought that last year was a terrible way to end a season for Chipper with the way the team played down the stretch, but this one will probably leave an ever more sour taste in his mouth given his performance on the day, which was pretty much nonexistent and included a costly throwing error. He still had a great career and will surely be in the Hall of Fame, but this game will most likely sting for a while.
Ryan Kekoufski is a lifelong Atlanta Braves fan.