First here's a little reference material, shamelessly lifted from BuzzFeed
Here's what the Official Rules of MLB (2.00) considers an infield fly:
An INFIELD FLY is a fair fly ball (not including a line drive nor an attempted bunt) which can be caught by an infielder with ordinary effort, when first and second, or first, second and third bases are occupied, before two are out. The pitcher, catcher and any outfielder who stations himself in the infield on the play shall be considered infielders for the purpose of this rule.
When it seems apparent that a batted ball will be an Infield Fly, the umpire shall immediately declare Infield Fly for the benefit of the runners. If the ball is near the baselines, the umpire shall declare Infield Fly, if Fair.
The ball is alive and runners may advance at the risk of the ball being caught, or retouch and advance after the ball is touched, the same as on any fly ball. If the hit becomes a foul ball, it is treated the same as any foul.
If a declared Infield Fly is allowed to fall untouched to the ground, and bounces foul before passing first or third base, it is a foul ball. If a declared Infield Fly falls untouched to the ground outside the baseline, and bounces fair before passing first or third base, it is an Infield Fly.
Rule 2.00 (Infield Fly) Comment: On the infield fly rule the umpire is to rule whether the ball could ordinarily have been handled by an infieldernot by some arbitrary limitation such as the grass, or the base lines. The umpire must rule also that a ball is an infield fly, even if handled by an outfielder, if, in the umpires judgment, the ball could have been as easily handled by an infielder. The infield fly is in no sense to be considered an appeal play. The umpires judgment must govern, and the decision should be made immediately.
When an infield fly rule is called, runners may advance at their own risk. If on an infield fly rule, the infielder intentionally drops a fair ball, the ball in play despite the provisions of Rule 6.05 (L). The infield fly rule takes precedence.
This was the type of play where you'd be screaming, there's shit in your eye or, watch out for the truck! That's what Bokolis does; I don't know what y'all do at baseball games.
None of this should give you the impression, as you've been misled to believe, that the umpire is obliged to call Infield Fly at the ball's apex. He can call it wheneverthefuck he wants to call it. The overriding, if unofficial, criteria, however, is that the infielder has to be camped under the ball. If it hasn't become apparent by the time the ball is at its apex, there is very likely no need to protect the baserunners against a double play.
That's the part that Sam Holbrook, the left field umpire, didn't consider. The infield fly rule is does not exist to give the defense free outs; it is there to protect the offense.
To illustrate, ESPN, strangely doing something to live up to its self-annointed appelation- don't get too excited jagoffs, you had an ex-umpire offering insights who didn't fully understand the rule- offered that there were 6 instances where infield fly was called and the ball was not caught. For the longest of these, the ball traveled 171 feet; on the play in question, the ball traveled 225 feet.
225 feet is ordinarily a can of corn to left, not an infield fly. This one was hit high enough that it couldn't even be considered a can of corn, much less to an infielder that had to backpedal about 100 feet. There was no way, even if he had the savvy, that shortstop Kozma was going to gull the Braves into a double play from 225 feet out in left field. Even when left fielder Holliday picked it up, all he knew to do was to flip the ball to Kozma. Bokolis thinks they were no better than even money- stoned as they were- to throw the guy out at home.
Let's review the fuck-ups:
- Holbrook decided about 5 seconds into 6.0 seconds of hang time that it took ordinary effort for the shortstop to go out to left field to catch a fly ball. He called Infield Fly about 5.4 seconds into the 6.0 seconds of hang time.
- The league, through its impromptu spokesperson- Joe Torre - at its impromptu press conference to poorly explain itself, refuses to admit that it was probably a shit call. This, on the heels of the NFL refusing to admit to a shit call that was so shit as to impel labor peace with its officials.
Think about how shit a call has to be to get notoriously disinterested and misinformed Braves fans, who'd rather be at a football game or a NASCAR race, amped up to throw crap on the field. Aside - good for them for throwing crap on the field, lest the people be deluded by the corporatist propaganda, which tells you, more or less, to pay up, sit down, shut the fuck up and take whatever product we give you. Nah, muthafuckas, you'll take what we give you.
Bokolis has been conditioned to expect some kind of half-measure from Bud, who has been stealing money and office space. Get ready for 2 out of 3 wild card, so that it doesn't come down to one blown call...yeah, if you can keep it to only one.
MLB might want to call up this guy for the next series.