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GIF: Boston Strategy of Overthrows & Obstruction Surprisingly Backfires

obstruction

The Red Sox entered Game 3 of the 2013 World Series with what they believed was a foolproof plan: take advantage of the weakest link on the entire field – umpire Dana DeMuth, who was working behind the plate. The veteran umpire, in his 29th season and inexplicably working his 5th World Series, had already notoriously botched and easy call at second base in Game 1.  Surely, the other boys in blue could not bail him out again, they believed.

While battling back from a pair of two run deficits, everything seemed to be falling into place for Red Sox manager John Farrell to unleash his plan. DeMuth had been calling balls and strikes as if he had been referring to a Magic 8 Ball after every pitch.

In the bottom of the 9th with the score tied, the Cardinals put runners on second and third with one out. The situation was dire and the game, all but lost, so the Sox broke out the old “Overthrow & Obstruct” play in an effort to take advantage of DeMuth’s incompetency. Farrell made the call from the dugout, holding his hands together in the shape of a O. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia nodded to his skipper and set everything in motion.

A ground ball to second baseman Dustin Pedroia prompted to throw home to Saltalamacchia for the second out. Salty delivered the first part of the equation, though he is actually so bad that he could not even be accurate with an overthrow, sending the ball low and wide of the base. As Cardinals baserunner Allen Craig rose to his feet, Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks, now laying on his stomach due to the throw, raised his feet to trip Craig on his way to the plate.

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(GIF courtesy Buzzfeed Sports)

The crafty move by Middlebrooks allow the left fielder Daniel Nava to retrieve the ball and easily throw Craig out at home and keep the Red Sox hopes alive in Game 3. However, the Red Sox did not forsee DeMuth’s Magic 8 Ball replying to the question of whether the runner was out with “My sources say no”.

A frustrated Boston squad lashed out at the umpire after the game in an apparent attempt to intimidate the officiating crew.

Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see how it plays out.

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