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Joe Girardi probably should have protested that game the other day

Aug 19, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v New York Yankees, Game 3 Getty Images

Still thinking about that Billy Butler homer in the Yankees-Royals game the other night.  Joe Torre has admitted that the umpires misapplied the rules.  And now Joe Girardi admits he should have protested it.  He says he simply took the umps’ word for it that they were properly applying the rules:

“I assumed the rules were right and that’s my fault … Two umpires told me and I believed them. Maybe I don’t need to be so trustworthy anymore.”

To be fair, it’s not just dumb credulity that led Girardi to think the umpires had it right at the time. Umpires blow judgment calls all the time, but they rarely actually misapply the rules, which is what is required for a successful protest.  There are only a handful of protested games in recent memory, and none have been successful since a rain-shortened game between St. Louis and Pittsburgh went down in 1986 (the umps didn’t wait long enough between delays to call the game).  In fact, Retrosheet’s data shows only 14 successfully-protested and then-resumed games since 1913.

Protests usually fail either because they’re on judgment calls or because the misapplication of the rules ended up not making a difference in the outcome.  This one, however, seems like it would have been a pretty cut-and-dried protest case.  It was a misapplication of the rules and, given that it was on a homer in a game decided by one run, it’d be hard to argue that the call was irrelevant to the outcome.

So yeah, while I tend to look askance at protests, this is one that had to be made. Even if Girardi tended to believe the umps, you gotta throw that challenge flag, ya know?  I mean, it’s not like he hasn’t done it before.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Joe was too busy planning bunts and steals

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:10 PM

    If they had taken away that run, then in the 9th inning, the home plate ump would have just started giving Soria 6 inches off the plate a little earlier than he did :)

  3. ThatGuy - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    I wonder if they would have just changed it to a ground rule double(which would just nulify the run cause the next person got out), and discount the homer sending them to extra innings. Or replay it from the third.

    • Kevin S. - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:36 PM

      No, they’d replay it with Billy Butler on second and one out in the third.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 19, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    To be fair, Girardi hadn’t seen the replays, and is mandated by the rules not to argue with the umps after a replay call.

    How can Torre say that it was obviously blown by umpire incompetence and not treat it as if it was protested? Sure, punish Girardi & the Yankees like it was their fault.

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:09 PM

      Simple answer: Girardi had the opportunity to protest and he chose not to. Who stopped him from protesting? Nobody. So who’s fault is it that Girardi didn’t protest? Joe Girardi’s

      • pjmarn6 - Aug 19, 2011 at 8:35 PM

        You telling me that Torre wasn’t watching the game and with all his intimate knowledge of the game didn’t send a message to Girardi to protest the game? What good is Torre for if not to oversee all the games and correct all the errors!?!

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 20, 2011 at 9:41 AM

        Girardi relied on the umpires knowledge of the rules, confirmed it with a second umpire, and assumed they had a clue. Those are the guys who are paid to know this stuff. Is it the manager’s job now to understand the ground rules of every other park in the league? If so, what the heck are umpires on the field for?

  5. mikeinfl - Aug 19, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    If this didn’t involve the almighty Yankees (or the Phillies or Red Sox or Buster Posey) no one would have taken the least notice.

    • FC - Aug 19, 2011 at 3:44 PM

      I disagree. We notice Umpire stupidity all the time (Tigers, Braves, Pirates, Mariners, etc.)

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Exactly. Umpire incompetence gets a lot of attention and the more often it happens in a season the more attention it gets. This could have been the Cubs playing the Astros and people would have noticed it even though very few people would have noticed that game played

  6. steve7921 - Aug 19, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    How can a major league manager not know the rules? I don’t care if it isn’t his home ballpark – he should know the ground rules or at the very least, his bench coach! Heck, go research them during the game, they do have computers in the locker rooms don’t they?

    If the Yankees lose the AL East by one game, I think Hal is going to be a little angry if he has to play a Game 7 on the road!

    • FC - Aug 19, 2011 at 3:45 PM

      go research them during the game, they do have computers in the locker rooms don’t they?

      Borrow A.J.’s iPad (I’m assuming he has one, he looks like the kind of guy to have one of those)

  7. yankeesgameday - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Joe is generally too comfortable in giving away wins during regular season games. He thinks its a marathon, and things even out, etc. But when the division, and home field throughout the alcs is on the line every single game matters even over 162 games.

    Go back to April and Hughes start against Detroit when there was no game plan to pitch around Cabrera. Hughes came at him and gave up two home runs and the Yanks lost by two runs. Pitch around and walk him, the Yanks win and maybe that game is the one to hand them the AL East and home field advantage.

    Or maybe it was the billy butler game..just two examples where Joe was willing to walk away from victories.

    I for one, want to see a lot more urgency and militancy about winning every game, every inning, every match up and every pitch from opening day onward.

  8. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Aug 19, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Can I protest his George Washington-like teeth too? Come on man, you’re a millionaire, stop looking like you’re from England.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 20, 2011 at 3:32 PM

      1. You must be beautiful
      2. He just had braces removed, so he is working on it

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