Braves vs. Cardinals infield fly rule call the right move (say contrarians)

The infield fly rule call that punctuated the St. Louis Cardinals' Wild Card win over the Atlanta Braves with 18 minutes of flying garbage looked inconceivably wrong at a glance—they're rarely called as far out as Pete Kozma was when he thought he was under the ball, and the call came later than most expected it to be—but give the internet long enough and it'll find the contrarians. Some very smart people, who are not and don't appear to be related to umpires, genuinely think the call was right.

One interesting discussion is going on at Baseball Think Factory, the official home of crabbed internet-baseball nerds since we were all super into Jeremy Giambi. One poster, UCCF, sums up the situation nicely—"Whether or not you think this was the right call depends almost entirely on whether you think Kozma was using ordinary effort to get back to the ball." He and a few others do.

Personally, I still don't, though that might be my generalized nervousness about these fly balls creeping in during a game I was watching as a fan. But I think there's another element to this play that leaves me on the wrong-move side—simply put, how surprising it was. The rules aren't there to surprise the players, especially in the postseason, and if we could isolate 50 almost-identical plays I just don't think we'd see the infield fly call made more than a few times.

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