ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Manager Tony La Russa talks to home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after a fan throws a baseball onto the field in the seventh inning during Game Three of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 22, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Homefield advantage is probably least evident in baseball of all the other major sports.
On Monday night in Game 5 of the World Series, Texas Rangers fans gave their team a clear advantage.
In the decisive eighth inning in which Mike Napoli put the Rangers over the edge with a two-run double to lead them to a 4-2 win and a 3-2 series lead, the crowd noise apparently played a huge role in why the Cardinals' bullpen was so poorly mismanaged.
Tony La Russa, who is known as the god of bullpen management, seemed as if he has no idea what was going on in the eighth when lefty Marc Rzepczynski was brought in to face left-handed hitter David Murphy. Murphy fired a single off the pitcher's hand.
That brought Mike Napoli to the plate, a guy that has traditionally owned left-handed pitching and someone you'd expect to force La Russa's hand and make another pitching change.
Instead, La Russa was forced to leave "buy a vowel" in the game to face Napoli because there were no righties warm in the pen, and it was all because of the crowd noise as La Russa said his bullpen coaches were having trouble hearing him on the bullpen phone.
Odd explanation, and kind of crazy considering it was such a big game and you'd think they'd figure out some way to work around the crowd noise.
But it got even weirder.
After Napoli's go-ahead double, Rzepczynski struck out Mitch Moreland and was lifted for Lance Lynn, who was "mistakenly" warmed up in the bullpen, again, due to the crowd noise.
Lynn intentionally walked Ian Kinsler and was then removed so Jason Motte, who was supposed to be the guy warming all along, could come in and get Elvis Andrus on 99 mph heat to end the inning.
It was one of the most bizarre innings ever witnessed, and if you believe La Russa's odd excuse, it was all because of the 51,459 screaming people in the stands.