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Giants win protest, will complete rain-halted game at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon

Aug 20, 2014, 7:39 PM EDT

cubs tarp getty Getty Images

A sudden torrential downpour Tuesday night in Chicago — and complications with applying the tarp — left Wrigley Field unplayable even after four hours of maintenance by the grounds crew, so the Cubs were awarded a 2-0 victory over the visiting Giants because that was the score when was play was halted after the top of the fifth inning. The Giants filed an official protest with Major League Baseball on Wednesday morning, and for the first time in 28 years that course of action actually worked

Though rare after a non-mechanical failure, playing a suspended game in this case is absolutely the right thing to do. The game obviously means much more to the Giants than the Cubs — given that San Francisco is in contention for a postseason spot — but this would be the correct call if there were no implications at all.

  1. jxegh - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    Yes!!! MLB agrees with Craig – Cubs ground crew wears Clown shoes!!

    • sophiethegreatdane - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:36 AM

      Yet Craig told us all in the HBT Daily vid that this exact outcome can’t possibly happen.

  2. eutawmike - Aug 20, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    south side was just fine

    • cubfan531 - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:15 PM

      The storm was tiny. Looking at radar, it honestly looked like Mother Nature specifically looked at Wrigley and decided that was where all the rain was needed.

  3. jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:07 PM

    I’m not saying it’s not the right thing to do, it clearly is. But it was also the right thing to do on July 23rd when the Yankees got a 5 inning win against the Rangers. Is the inconsistency a matter of doing whatever they can to not screw the playoff contender who’s involved directly in the game? The problem is it screws the playoff contenders who aren’t involved in the game. The Yankees got help at the expense of the AL Wildcard contenders, and the Giants got help at the expense of the NL Wildcard contenders, and they each got the help by MLB making conflicting decisions.

    • sisisisisisisi - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      Justice will prevail because the Yankees won’t make the 2014 post season.

      • getyourownname - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        I’m not saying the Yankees should not have been awarded a win, because that’s the rule. But Girardi whined bitterly about the rule when the Os were awarded a rain-shortened game victory over the Yankees on July 14.

    • vlock1 - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      Did the Yankees get that win as a direct result of the incompetence of the grounds crew? I think that’s the rub – that this game would have been played in full had they gotten the tarp on properly. Not that I don’t see your larger point.

      • jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:49 PM

        From the mlb.com recap: “With the imposing Yu Darvish on the mound for Texas, the Yankees couldn’t be picky about how they caught a break. The skies beyond center field started to flicker with lightning as New York was batting in the fifth inning, followed by thundercracks and then heavy rain.

        Hindered by strong winds, the grounds crew struggled to roll the tarpaulin through a soggy mess. It took 14 minutes to cover the infield, and though Dan Cunningham’s staff worked feverishly to repair the damage, the game was called after a delay of 1 hour and 49 minutes.”

        So the Yankees were the home team, it was their grounds crew that screwed up, and they got the win from the deal. Also, they waited fewer than 2 hours, as opposed to the 4 hours the Cubs waited.

      • Aroo Madazda - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:58 AM

        The Yankees was mother nature related. This one was a mechanical failure because the previous time it was rolled up it was done incorrectly, hampering their efforts to deploy it in a timely manner.

      • scoochpooch - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:22 AM

        gotta love the anti-Yankee vitriol, coming from the jealous and less intelligent contigent of MLB fans. I’m not sure if hatred stems entirely from sheer jealousy or if the haters have failed to take an economics course and feel the NYY possess some kind of unfair advantage.

    • sabatimus - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      Did the Rangers protest the game?

      • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:03 PM

        No,

      • randomjoeblow - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:08 PM

        They should now.

      • jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:10 PM

        I don’t know the answer to that. From the recap, you can see that Jon Daniels was livid. There’s no mention of protesting or not protesting the decision.

        The problem is, the rule doesn’t read “You may protest if…” it says “The came shall be suspended if…”

      • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:20 PM

        b-r notes protested games in the season schedules and results for each team, so if you want to know whether there was a protest, that’s an excellent source of information.

        Also, protests regarding any decision that ends a game can be filed only until noon of the next day. So, sorry Rangers.

      • indaburg - Aug 21, 2014 at 6:36 AM

        I read that the Rangers were told they could not protest:

        http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/sports/baseball/rain-comes-just-in-time-for-injury-riddled-yankees.html?_r=0&referrer=

    • fathersworkandfamily - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:22 AM

      I was a few miles from the stadium that night, and it was like a monsoon, torrential rain and unbelievable wind. You can’t really fault the grounds crew for the mess.

      • 18thstreet - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:19 AM

        Well, I can’t fault the grounds crew.

        There some people, and they’re perfect at their own jobs, who feel comfortable criticizing them.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        That line of reasoning is crap. Personally, I don’t really care one way or another about whether or not it was the grounds crew’s fault, but one does not have to be perfect at one does to criticize them. Did they or did they not do their job as well as they could have? Anything else is meaningless to the discussion.

  4. Senor Cardgage - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    This is the right thing to do, but it irritates me because I don’t see how what happened here was different from what happened in New York to the Rangers.

    • crackersnap - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      Well, one difference is that in Chicago the proposed winning team was merely the Cubs.

  5. scamp516dp - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Right call regardless of playoff possibilities.

  6. jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Though rare after a non-mechanical failure

    MLB decided that the failure was mechanical under the terms of their rules. From the MLB press release:

    An examination of the circumstances of last night’s game has led to the determination that there was sufficient cause to believe that there was a “malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club” within the meaning of Official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3).

    • Francisco (FC) - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:38 PM

      You know what this means right? The Cubs ground crew are CYLONS!!!

  7. migoli - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Just have to wonder if SF complains if they had been winning and awarded the win ……

    • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      If they Giants had been ahead, it would not have become an official game yet and would automatically have been scheduled to resume in the bottom of the 5th.

      Supposing the incident had occurred after 5 full innings with the Giants ahead, no, I’m sure they wouldn’t have filed a protest.

  8. rbts2014 - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    That opens a big can of worms! If a team loses a rain-shortened game and sees that the tarp was placed on the field in anything but efficient manner, there are grounds not only to protest but to win since there is now a precedent.

    • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      Not necessarily a big can, but some kind of can, yes. In this case MLB determined that there was a “mechanical failure” because the tarp had not been rolled up properly after a prior use.

      Although the rule makes mention of automatic systems in explaining what constitutes “mechanical field devices”, it does not exclude non-automatic systems, such as crews of groundskeepers applying mechanical forces to tarpaulins.

      Do they have to mess things up prior a failure to cover the field, as was apparently the key to this case, or would some kind of failure of the process during the covering of the field also pertain?

      We await further explication, Joe Torre.

      • jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:14 PM

        Then home teams that are winning should just abstain from covering the field.

        In the Yankee game, the Yankees got a win when their own ground crew failed to get the tarp out. If it’s about the technicality of finding specific evidence that the tarp was improperly rolled prior to the game, rather than the spirit of the rule, being “the home team can’t steal a win by screwing up the field,” THEN you’ve got a can of worms.

        Home teams, when leading, should let the umpires wave the players off the field, and then just make no effort to cover the field.

      • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:27 PM

        Regarding that possibility, you may be interested in the rules governing forfeits.

      • jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:42 PM

        Then make a good show of it, like the Yankees did, but ultimately fail to cover the field. You understand my point, why be pedantic?

      • jkcalhoun - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        No one here had cited rules that encourage teams to comply with umpires’ orders to cover the field, there was an oblique reference to forfeiture in today’s press release, and the forfeiture rules are clearly relevant to the discussion of the home team’s choice of action that you started, so I thought it would be helpful to mention it.

        Also relevant: teams usually realize that if they pull crap like that at home, other teams are likely to try to reciprocate. I’d call it a zero sum game, but that might sound too pedantic.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:34 PM

        I think one can well argue that continuing the game is the right thing to do, but under the rule I read it sure does call for an extremely liberal definition of “mechanical device” since the large piece of fabric and its spool is about as mechanical as the roll of paper towel and its cardboard center in my kitchen.

      • randomjoeblow - Aug 21, 2014 at 12:35 AM

        Sounds like Yankees/Rangers is back on!

  9. randomjoeblow - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    Would Bochy have had his little sourpuss and complained if the Giants were up 2-0 and the game called in the top of the 6th? Doubt it.

    • jjschiller - Aug 20, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      Well in that case, the home team’s failure would have cost the home team, so there’d be nobody with grounds to complain; neither Giants nor Cubs.

      In this case the home team’s failure screwed the visitor. MLB was right to rectify that.

  10. umrguy42 - Aug 20, 2014 at 11:14 PM

    I admit, after scoffing earlier at the idea of MLB actually doing this, I am now eating crow.

    The feathers tickle a bit, just fyi.

  11. randomjoeblow - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:00 AM

    This seems out of the ordinary. I think the St. Louis Browns and Cleveland Naps should finish the 1910 season correctly:

    During this time, the Browns were best known for their role in the race for the 1910 American League batting title. Ty Cobb took the last game of the season off, believing that his slight lead over Nap Lajoie, of the Cleveland Naps, would hold up unless Lajoie had a near-perfect day at the plate. Browns’ manager Jack O’Connor had ordered rookie third baseman Red Corriden to play on the outfield grass. This all but conceded a hit for any ball Lajoie bunted. Lajoie bunted five straight times down the third base line and made it to first easily. On his last at-bat, Lajoie reached base on an error – officially giving him a hitless at-bat. O’Connor and coach Harry Howell tried to bribe the official scorer, a woman, to change the call to a hit – even offering to buy her a new wardrobe. Cobb won the batting title by just a few thousandths of a point over Lajoie (though it later emerged that one game may have been counted twice in the statistics). After news broke of the scandal, a writer for the St. Louis Post claimed: “All St. Louis is up in arms over the deplorable spectacle, conceived in stupidity and executed in jealousy.” The resulting outcry triggered an investigation by American League president Ban Johnson. At his insistence, Hedges[1] fired O’Connor and Howell; both men were informally banned from baseball for life.

  12. randomjoeblow - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:23 AM

    “***Aaand when I told him…..the game would be played at anooother time..heeee crieeed (he cried)..

    Aaand when I told him…the Cubs and Giants will play another time….heeee whiiined (he whined)..”

  13. theebbandflow - Aug 21, 2014 at 2:46 AM

    Let’a hope the entire ground crew are fired and we never have to endure such a debacle again!

  14. 27xwschamps - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:46 AM

    Say hello to unemployment office in the a.m. Thats y scubbies are over 100 yrs without a WS WINNER !!! Have an ice cold ” old style” on me !!!

  15. deep64blue - Aug 21, 2014 at 3:48 AM

    Well done to the Cubs for showing true sportsmanship in this situation.

  16. bajamex - Aug 21, 2014 at 7:00 AM

    Didnt the Yankees also lost a rain shortened game decided by one run? it was the sunday before the all-star game, as soon as the rain began to fall the Orioles said the game could not continue, MLB agreed and in less than an hour declared the game over, protecting the lead the Orioles had at home against the same team that a week later won against the Rangers. Also didnt the Rangers said they would do whatever they had at their reach to not put the tarp on time if it rained when the Yankees visited them a week later yet MLB never pronounced themselves on the matter to that? at least that was mentioned during one of the games by the Rangers TV crew.

  17. realgone2 - Aug 21, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Giants are a buncha whiners. Ohhh our catcher got hurt. Change the rule book! Ohhh the tarp was messed up we want a do over. They needed an excuse to try and not lose to the Cubs eh?

    • blabidibla - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Please show me where the Giants asked for a rule change in regards to catchers positioning themselves in front of the plate.

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