The New York Mets won a crucial playoff game against the Chicago Cubs to go up 3-0 in the NLCS.
While the Mets now have commanding control over the series — only one other team in MLB history has ever come back from 0-3 to win a series — things got a little hairy in the top of the sixth inning.
The Mets were leading 3-2 with two outs and Michael Conforto on first base when shortstop Wilmer Flores got up to the plate.
Flores knocked a line drive into right field, and Cubs right fielder Jorge Soler dove and missed the ball for the out. As a result, the ball kept rolling right along to the wall, as center fielder Derek Fowler had to chase it down. In the meantime, Conforto easily made his way around the bases to score, and Flores had what looked like a triple.
However, as the ball rolled into Wrigley Field’s famous ivy in the outfield, Fowler threw up his hands, indicating the ball was lost. By doing so, it forces the umpires to call it a ground rule double, the same as if the ball had bounced into the stands, and had to bring Conforto and Flores back a base.
Mets manager Terry Collins furiously argued that the umpire should use his judgment and realise that Conforto would have scored and Flores would have had (at least) a triple.
Even announcer Ernie Johnson said on the broadcast, “What a lucky break that is for Chicago… Managers will tell fielders, ‘If that ball gets in [the ivy] and you can’t see it, do not even try. Put your hands up.'”
The other TBS announcers added, “If it is a straight ground-rule, maybe you want to consider changing that at one point,” while the other said, “[Collins’ argument is] if Soler doesn’t make the play is that, and I think rightfully so, Fowler can use the ground-rule to his advantage.”
The argument is that the ivy is almost similar to fan interference, when a fan might reach over the wall to grab a possible home run. Umpires can use their judgment to figure out where the runners might have gone had their not been interference. The ivy is similar in that it interfered with a play.
It ended up not mattering — the Cubs didn’t score the rest of the game, and the Mets added two more runs in the seventh inning.
However, had the Cubs rallied and won by a run or two, the Mets would have a legitimate gripe. Wrigley Field may be one of the most historic ballparks in the league, but if something as simple as field decor could have an impact on the outcome of a playoff game, the rules should be changed to work around that.
Watch the entire play below:
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