Wong surrounded by support after baserunning gaffe
ST. LOUIS -- A day after making dubious baseball history, Cardinals rookie Kolten Wong found himself engulfed by unconditional support inside the clubhouse on Monday at Busch Stadium.
Game 4 the night before was the first in World Series history to end on a pickoff, with Wong on the wrong end of Red Sox closer Koji Uehara's throw over to first base. It was a particularly painful end for the Cards because they trailed by two runs, and had the postseason-proven Carlos Beltran at the plate representing the tying run.
Afterward, Wong fought off tears.
"We've got a couple of guys, myself included, that have said some things to him," second baseman Matt Carpenter said Monday. "Certainly, the message most importantly being that that was not the reason we lost the game. That's how the game ended, but certainly it was not the reason we lost. There were a lot of other factors that were in play.
"Those things happen. We are human. We make mistakes, and let's not make it more than it is. We've got to regroup."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny watched a series of his team's veterans check in with Wong throughout Monday afternoon, many of them sharing a particularly painful or embarrassing moment in their own careers.
"You can't forget how young these guys are, too," Matheny said. "I don't have any problem [with Wong showing emotion] because I appreciate that he cares so much."
In Matheny's view, "the moment just got the best of him."
"And, yeah, it affected him because he's human and he cares," Matheny said. "Fortunately, we have a good group of guys around here once again. We've talked about how they've helped these guys and prepared them, and they've also helped [younger players] through troubles because they've been there. Maybe not getting picked off to end a game in the World Series, but they've had their issues that we've all had, decisions that we've made that didn't necessarily work out. And you figure out how to get through it."
The pickoff marked the second straight night that ended in unprecedented fashion. In Game 3, the Cards won the first World Series game decided by obstruction, with Allen Craig hurdling Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Three days before that, Game 1 featured a rare reversal of a judgment call by the umpires, who huddled to rule that Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma had dropped a double-play feed at second base.
"It has been a strange couple of games," Carpenter said. "But that's what makes it exciting. This is what the postseason is all about. Baseball is a game that something you've never seen before can happen every day."