World Series Descends into Chaos When Controversial Call Triggers Lengthy 'Review' and Manager Rage


Fans, players, coaches and seemingly the entire baseball world erupted into outrage Tuesday night following a highly controversial call during Game 6 of the World Series.

It started in the top of the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park in Houston. With the Nationals up 3-2 and a runner on first (and no outs), Washington shortstop Trea Turner was batting against Astros reliever Brad Peacock.

Turner hit a weak dribbler to the left side, and Peacock hustled off the mound to retrieve the ball and throw to first in an attempt to beat the speedy Turner.

Peacock’s throw was a bit wide of Houston first baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove. Gurriel reached out to catch it right as Turner was approaching the bag.

As a result, Gurriel’s glove appeared to hit Turner, allowing the ball to bounce off Turner’s leg and roll away.

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Turner then raced to second, while the advance runner went to third. Down three games to two in the best-of-seven series, the Nationals appeared to have an opportunity — with runners on second and third and no outs — to break things open and force a Game 7.

Then came the controversy.

Shocking millions of viewers around the country, home plate umpire Sam Holbrook called Turner out.

It wasn’t immediately clear why, but many people seemed to think Turner had strayed off the basepath while running to first.

Do you think the umpires made the right call?

That wasn’t the case. As viewers watching at home would eventually find out, Holbrook believed Turner had interfered with Gurriel and that this interference prevented Gurriel from getting the out at first.

Instead of men on second and third with no outs, the Nationals had a man on first with one out.

The Washington dugout was irritated, and understandably so.

But the controversy was only getting started.

Play was delayed for 10 minutes for what most fans believed was a replay review.

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(Heck, Fox Sports even had a “Replay Review” graphic on the screen while it was happening. But more on that later.)

During the delay, Turner wasn’t shy about calling out MLB’s chief baseball officer, Joe Torre, who was in the house for the game.

“Joe Torre … he’s sitting there with his head down, trying not to look up,” Turner was heard saying, thanks to a well-placed Fox Sports microphone.

After the umpires were done talking, they made it clear they were not going to reverse the call.

In fact, as USA Today reported, they weren’t even reviewing the call in the first place — they were simply trying to figure out what to do after Nationals manager Davey Martinez said he wanted to officially protest the call.

But as Torre would later explain, the call could be neither protested nor reviewed, since it was a “judgment call.”

Here’s the relevant MLB rule in question: “If the umpire determines that the baserunner has interfered with the player taking the throw at first base by running to the left of the foul line or to the right of the runner’s lane, the baserunner can be called for interference.”

Play eventually continued, and Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, who was up after Turner, answered in a big way:

Rendon blasted a two-run home run into the left-field seats, giving his team a lead that it would not relinquish. (The Nationals won by a final score of 7-2.)

In the process of extending the lead, Rendon elicited the same reaction from just about everyone watching:

But the controversy didn’t end there.

After the Nationals were retired, Martinez got into it with the umpires and had to be restrained by bench coach Chip Hale.

Martinez was ejected, and Hale took over managing duties for the remainder of the game.

Later, Torre explained to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal why Holbrook made the call he did, and why the play could not be reviewed.

“There’s a 45-foot restraining line where you’re supposed to run as a baserunner, in between those lines,” Torre said. “He ran to first base. That wasn’t the call, the call was the fact that he interfered with Gurriel trying to catch the ball.

“If you notice, the glove came off his hand. That’s when Sam Holbrook called him out for, basically, interference.”

Rosenthal then asked why the call wasn’t reviewable.

“It’s a judgment call, that’s why,” Torre replied.

So there you have it. It was a controversial call, to say the least, but it didn’t end up mattering all that much, largely thanks to Rendon.

Still, it made for some entertaining TV, and that’s really all that baseball fans (those without a vested interest in either team, of course) can ask for.

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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