The best thing to come out of Game 6 of the World Series, besides the need for a Game 7, is that baseball’s 2019 champion wasn’t decided amid the backlash of a controversial call.
By now, of course, just about everyone with a sports bone in their bodies has seen the seventh-inning call Tuesday of runner interference on Washington Nationals interference Trea Turner as he tried to reach on an infield single.
The throw to get him by Houston Astros right-hander Brad Peacock struck Turner as he reached first. First baseman Yuli Gurriel’s glove came flying off as the ball went into the outfield grass and catcher Yan Gomes advanced to third.
It appeared as if the Nationals would have runners on the corners and no outs.
Then umpire Sam Holbrook called out Turner for interference and moved Gomes back to first base with one out.
The Nationals were livid, the umpires went to the headsets, but the call stood.
It became moot as Anthony Rendon connected for a two-run homer and later added a two-run double as the Nationals pulled away for a 7-2 victory to keep the Astros from clinching their second World Series.
Max Scherzer, the former Fort Worth Cats pitcher who couldn’t pitch Sunday because of a neck strain, will start for the Nationals against Zack Greinke in a Game 7 matchup of former Cy Young winners.
But that call was still a key talking point the morning after, so much so that even the Today show spent time on it.
The call might have been correct by the rule of the law -- that Turner prevented Gurriel from catching the ball -- but what it did was reward a not-ideal throw by Peacock and bad footwork by Gurriel.
Look at the replay and how Gurriel stretched. He gave himself no chance to catch the ball.
And because the runner’s lane is in foul territory and the base is in fair territory, Turner has the right to be in fair territory as he lunges for the bag. That’s when the throw him.
Umpires should know it was a dicey call when Josh Donaldson speaks up.
“That’s as bad as it gets,” the third baseman, soon to be a free agent, said on Twitter. “Rewarding a bad stretch and a bad throw.”
Rendon’s homer didn’t cool the fire burning within his manager, Davey Martinez. He continued to argue with umpires between innings and was ejected by Holbrook. Martinez went after the umps and had to be restrained by bench coach Chip Hale and former Rangers bench coach Tim Bogar.
Joe Torre, the Hall of Fame manager who is MLB’s chief baseball officer, said the call was correct.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter thanks to Rendon’s homer and Stephen Strasburg’s pitching.
Baseball should be grateful for that.