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UPDATE: Nats defeat Padres, protest dropped

May 29, 2010, 8:46 AM EST

UPDATE: Yep, didn’t matter. The Nationals defeated the Padres 5-3 on Friday night. Nationals manager Jim Riggleman told Corey Brock of MLB.com that he sympathized with Bud Black’s mistake:

“It’s my nightmare, Casey Stengel’s nightmare, it’s the future managers
of the world’s nightmare. I know I look at it 10 times. I’ve had our
coaches look over it, over and over,” Riggleman said. “I shouldn’t speak
for Buddy. He is first-class. He brought to the attention of the
umpire. … Just for the sake of our ballclub. We protested.”

Friday, 11:46 PM: Here’s something you see just about never. According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, the Nationals played Friday night’s game under protest because the Padres listed Adam
Russell as the starting pitcher on the lineup card instead
of Clayton Richard.

Seriously. The same Adam Russell that was sent to minor leagues earlier in the day. The same Adam Russell that has 43 major league appearances, but no starts. I could understand Bud Black writing Kevin Correia, maybe Jake Peavy if he was feeling nostalgic, but Russell? Crazy.

Anyway, I don’t have a rulebook in front of me, but Goessling lays out the grounds of the Nationals’ protest like this:

The official MLB rules that govern what happened are Nos. 3.05 and 4.01;
3.05 says an improper pitcher becomes legal if he is permitted to
pitch, which is why the Nationals had to protest before Richard threw
his first pitch on Friday night. But rule 4.01 says teams should not be
“trapped” by a mistake that was obvious to everyone and can be
corrected
.

Protests happen all the time — and this one was accepted by the umpires — but one hasn’t been upheld since 1986 when it was determined that a game between the Pirates and Cardinals was improperly called due to rain. In the end, it seems like a pretty honest mistake. And if the Nationals win, which they are doing right now, 4-2 in the 8th, it won’t matter.

  1. Mike - May 29, 2010 at 2:52 AM

    Its not like the Nats made a big fuss about it. The Padres manager is the one that pointed the mistake out and Riggleman protested the game just like any good manager would. Here is what he said about it.
    “I’m just really glad we won the game so we didn’t have to go through that,” Riggleman said. “That protest would not have held up. But it’s my nightmare, it’s the future manager’s nightmare, that you get that wrong name on there. I look at it 10 times, I have coaches look at it over and over, and every now and then one gets by. I shouldn’t speak for Buddy. He’s first class and he came out and brought it to the attention of the umpires.
    “The umpires said, ‘I don’t think there’s anything we can do about it.’ Just for the sake of our ballclub, we protested it. It was just one of those human errors.”
    Still, “Your heart starts beating fast when you see the umpires pull the cards out: ‘Oh man, what did I do?’ ” Riggleman said. “I know more intelligent people than me have messed those cards up. It’s going to happen sometime. I’ll just have to apologize for it.”
    I think it was more about a manager doing what was best for his ballclub.

  2. Ron - May 29, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    If a team protests a game, and then wins the game, the protest is dropped automatically.
    The Nationals didn’t drop their protest. It was dropped because that’s what the the rules are. Even if they had wanted to continue with the protest, they can’t. Because they won the game and the protest is voided.

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