On Saturday night, something unexpected happened in an important baseball game.
The St. Louis Cardinals were playing against the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
The World Series is a best-of-seven series. That means the first team to win four games wins the World Series and is named the best major-league baseball team of the year.
The games are always filled with tension and excitement, but Saturday’s game—game three—had a bit more of both.
It was the bottom of the ninth inning.
The game was tied 4-4.
It was the last chance for the Cardinals to score a point. If they did, they would win the game (and be up two games to one in the World Series).
What happened next was very exciting.
The long and the short of it
Essentially what happened was that a runner would have been “out” and the game would have gone into extra innings. Except… that runner was accidentally tripped by the third baseman.
A trip like that, whether it’s accidental or on purpose, is ruled as “obstruction.”
And when there’s “obstruction,” the runner gets to take the next base.
In this case, the next “base” was “home plate.” In other words, the runner who was obstructed was given a point.
So the Cardinals won the game, 5 to 4.
That’s the “short version” of the story and it’s pretty exciting, even with many details left out.
If you’re a baseball fan, and know quite a bit about the game, you will enjoy this more detailed version (there’s also a video of the play below).
For baseball fans: A more detailed account
There were runners (potential scorers) on second base and third base. There was one out.
The Cardinals’s outfielder, John Jay, went up to bat.
He hit a ground ball to Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox’s second baseman.
Pedroia fielded the ball and threw home.
The Red Sox got the second out on that throw, but there was another runner still going to third base.
The Red Sox’s catcher, Jarod Saltalamacchia, threw the ball to third hoping to get the last “out” of the inning. But he missed the throw and the ball went into left field.
The runner going to third, seeing that the throw was missed, started running home. But he tripped over fallen Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
The runner got up and ran straight home, but the ball got to home before the runner; so the runner was out, and the inning was over.
But wait—not so fast.
In baseball, you’re not allowed to block a runner’s path to the next base; it’s called obstruction.
When obstruction is called, the runner is automatically allowed to take the next base.
In this case, the “next base” was home plate, so that runner scored a point—giving the game to the Cardinals.
Obstruction is not often called in baseball.
Fielders normally try to get out of a runner’s way. But since the runner tripped over Middlebrooks, it was considered obstruction and was given home plate.
The Cardinals scored a last-minute point, winning game three of the World Series 5 to 4.
The next game in the World Series is Sunday night (just before press time for this article, which was published Sunday night and which stays on our home page until Monday night).
Below is a YouTube video of the play. (It includes a superimposed ad, which you can just delete.) There are also white lines going vertically on the picture, but otherwise it’s a pretty good video of the play.
By Kathleen Tilly
It’s an important game. Tensions are high on both sides. The umpire makes a rare call, which means the Cardinals win.
Here are some things that may have happened next. Which do you think are mostly likely to have happened? Why?
1) The game was over and the fans were tired, so everyone quickly left the stadium.
2) The coaches for the Red Sox ran onto the field to find out why the umpires made the decision they made, and to argue about it.
3) The fans went wild, yelling and clapping and booing, depending on whose side they were on.
4) There was complete silence in the stadium because the crowd was so confused.
5) Sportscasters on TV played the clip over and over, talking about it and explaining what had happened.
Reading Prompt: Elements of Style
There are two descriptions of the game: a short version and a long version. Read both accounts and compare them. How are the word choices, sentence lengths and structures different? In your opinion, which was easier to read and understand?
Identify some elements of style, including voice, word choice, and different types of sentences, and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).
Identify various elements of style – including word choice and the use of similes, personification, comparative adjectives, and sentences of different types, lengths, and structures – and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.4).
Identify various elements of style – including foreshadowing, metaphor, and symbolism – and explain how they help communicate meaning and enhance the effectiveness of texts (OME, Reading: 2.4).
Grammar Feature: Ellipsis
An ellipsis (…) can be used in a sentence to show that words are left out, to add a long pause or to build suspension.
In this article, the journalist used an ellipsis in this following sentence: “Except… that runner was accidentally tripped by the third baseman.” Why do you think the journalist used an ellipsis? How does the ellipsis change how you read and understand the sentence?