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Rays play Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays under protest

Aug 23, 2014, 4:12 PM EDT

Wil Myers Wil Myers

Not long after making a comment about Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle‘s quick pace on the mound, Rays manager Joe Maddon had a reason to use it to play the game under protest.

In the top of the fourth inning, Wil Myers was on first base after hitting a one-out single. Buehrle, as he is known to do, appeared to pick Myers off at first base. Myers was ruled safe. Jays manager John Gibbons came out and requested a review of the call.

One problem: Shortstop Yunel Escobar had already stepped into the batter’s box and Buehrle was already on the mound. Once that happens, the previous play can no longer be challenged according to replay rules, Section II.D. Nevertheless, crew chief Bob Davidson allowed the play to be reviewed and the Jays won — Myers was ruled out and the Rays did not score in the fourth inning. Maddon informed Davidson that the game would be played under protest.

Section II.D:

“For purposes of these Regulations, the next ‘play’ shall commence when the pitcher is on the rubber preparing to start his delivery and the batter has entered the batter’s box (unless the defensive team initiates an appeal play in which case any call made during the play prior to the appeal still may be subject to Replay Review).

  1. brianincbus - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    How is Bob Davidson a crew chief? He’s amongst the worst umpires in baseball!

    • sports1976 - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      Balk a day Bob strikes again. MLB brings in replay but does nothing about Angel Hernandez, CB Bucknor, Laz Diaz and other incompetent umpires.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:14 AM

      Very cut and dried. As Bill points out, Maddon is guilty of hypocrisy. He wanted the Jays t be penalized because Buehrle works much more quickly than Hellickson.

      • indaburg - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:32 AM

        Bill never said Maddon was being hypocritical. He said Maddon is holding MLB to task for the way the rule is written and Buehrle helped out the cause by working quickly. The matter is cut and dry, but not in the matter in which you describe. The rule clearly states when the pitcher is on the rubber, which Buehrle was, and the batter is in the box, which Escobar was, it is too late to review the previous play. There has to be some point in time where it is too late to review a call. MLB determined that that was the point in time, and yesterday, Davidson and the Jays violated that rule.

        It should be part of the Jays’ strategy to signal to Buehrle to stay off the rubber while the coaching staff is determing whether or not to review a play, otherwise, he’s stating the previous play has ended and the next play is ready to begin.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:20 AM

      In Game 3 of the 1992 World Series, Davidson made a mistake that cost the Blue Jays a Triple Play. If he had video relay back then, The Jays would have had a rare Triple Play. Davidson’s goal yesterday was to get the call right. He exercised his discretion and made sure that the right call was made. The runner was out.

      • buddaley - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:06 AM

        Let’s consider the situation using some history and a hypothetical. Here are 3 situations:

        1. The one that just occurred in which a relatively new rule was clearly violated, a proper appeal (by the rules) was made, and the umpire ignored the rulebook.

        2. A hypothetical: There is a long-standing rule that should a runner pass a base without touching it, reaching the next base safely, he may be called out on appeal, but the appeal must be made before the next pitch is thrown. Here is a portion of that rule 7.10 (2d)

        “Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play. If the violation occurs during a play which ends a half inning, the appeal must be made before the defense takes the field.”

        I cannot remember any incident when a team did not appeal properly, but suppose a runner clearly misses 1B but the opposing team does not appeal the play until after the pitcher throws a pitch to the next batter. Should the runner be called out because that would have been the right call had the appeal been made properly?

        3. The George Brett Pine Tar incident: This situation arose from an obscure rule which, upon appeal, the umpire upheld to the letter. But in this case, the Royals appealed to the league office and the ruling was overturned using the argument that the spirit of the rule was more important than the actual wording. (See the section on “Protest and Reversal” in this link.)

        So which case, if any, applies here? And why? Should the umpire ignore the rule about proper appeal process to make sure a call is right, or is the appeal process here integral to the proper managing of the game? If you think the umpire was right, how far should such exceptions go? For example, suppose Buehrle threw a pitch already? Or suppose the next batter actually got a hit and the run scored? At what point do we say the rule matters?

  2. blabidibla - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    seems pretty cut and dry.

    • buddaley - Aug 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      I don’t think it is cut and dried because the rule allows some leeway for umpire discretion. Davidson is claiming he saw the Toronto manager use a thumbs up to call for a replay and begin to leave the dugout to call for the replay prior to Buehrle getting on the mound or Escobar getting into the batter’s box. True or not, my guess is the league upholds the umpire in this case.

  3. mcs7584 - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:26 PM

    “Bob Davidson has thought otherwise.”

    You don’t say?

  4. recoveringcubsfan - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Joe Maddon’s willingness to play within the rules but still push boundaries is reminiscent of Dennis Rodman’s late years. He knew the rules better than the refs. It was highly educational, as a fan, to be challenged to reconsider a player who previously was just a dumb ass and a thug – or so the media said. Maddon gets a lot of grief (and I have no feelings about him at all) but his experimenting and “trouble everyday” attitude definitely gets my respect.

  5. titansbro - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    I get it but joe maddon please shut up. Your guy was out. Is this how you need to win?

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      What, by playing by the rules? Oh, the shame.

      • sixchr - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        The Red Sox tried to challenge a play this year where the runner who slid into second base lifted his foot off the bag for half a second while getting up off the ground and he was still tagged with the ball. This is not what replay was intended for. Replay is intended for overturning obviously blown calls, not exploiting technicalities.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:03 PM

        Umm….what? No one is talking about using replay to “exploit a technicality”. The question is whether replay should have been used at all. Which, if the rules mean anything to you, it shouldn’t have been.

  6. baberuthslegs - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:37 PM

    Maddon was right. Rules are rules. I love that.

  7. Kevin S. - Aug 23, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    So long as replay is to be a matter of managerial strategy as much as it is about getting the calls right, Maddon should absolutely hold other teams to the limits within which they are allowed to challenge.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:15 PM

      Absolutely. The replay system is…ungood. Anything that shows how embarrassing it really is, like Maddon pushing it to its logical extremes when he can, will hopefully help to pound into MLB leadership’s thick skull that this way, the current replay system way, is just dumb.

  8. wilmyers09 - Aug 23, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    titansbro rules are rules u idoit manger waited until the last moment to challenge it which the umps are not supposed to do

    • infieldhit - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:49 PM


  9. Conner012367 - Aug 23, 2014 at 5:17 PM

    Can the MLB get anything right? i am also confused about this whole thing.

  10. paint771 - Aug 23, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    So what happens if he wins the protest? They replay the game from that point? Someone school me here.

    I mean, Maddon is clearly right by the rules, although the overturn (that he was out) was the right call (which is supposedly the point of this whole thing, to get more calls right). So it’s a letter vs. spirit of the law kind of thing.

    • moogro - Aug 23, 2014 at 5:59 PM

      No. Madden clearly explained the rule to Davidson before they reviewed the play. Davidson had a chance to follow the rules, but drove through that stop sign. If the manager wants to drag their feet so their video person can look at a play, they also need to instruct their pitcher to stay off the rubber.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:18 PM

        Yeah, somehow, telling Bob Davidson he has to obey rules strikes me as a nonstarter in the first place. Yet MLB continues to employ him….

      • paint771 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:21 PM

        No. The point of the rules is ostensibly to make sure that the correct calls are made, so that the actual baseball being played on the field is done right. In this case, the correct call was the one that was made on review, that Myers was out. Because Davidson overruled Madden, the correct call on the field was made. Had Madden won, the game would have continued under the circumstances of an incorrect call being made.

        Now, as I said, that’s Madden’s right and he certainly has a point here in terms of the application of the rules. But, while it would have been (perhaps) a correct application of the rules governing replay, it would have been so AT THE EXPENSE of the correct call on the field. Another way to put that is if Madden had won, the rules of the administration of calls would have trumped the validity of the call itself. A runner would have been called safe who ought to have been called out.

        Which, again, may be fine, but as I said, it’s putting the letter of the law over the spirit of the law, which is to get the game right.

      • paint771 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:27 PM

        Or, to extend it further, if your stance is the correct one, managers should instruct every pitcher in every game to take the maximum amount of time off the rubber possible, in case they decide they want to challenge the last call. That sounds right from an administration of the rules (the letter of the law) standpoint – it would wholeheartedly suck from a baseball perspective (the spirit, or point, of the law).

        The question is whether you value the internal consistency of the rules more than the game itself. You say the former, but I don’t believe you believe that – I think you’re just taking that stance because it affords an opportunity to bitch about officials. When the two are in conflict – as they were in this case (I think) – I care more that they call the game right than that they justify the wording of the rule the commissioner made up last off season.

      • jdd428 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:43 PM

        Paint, there are still blown calls in many games that are not corrected by replay because they go unchallenged – often because a manager has lost his ability to challenge by using it at an earlier opportunity. This scenario happened in a Cubs-Giants game earlier this week where a possibly incorrect call on a play at the plate could not be reviewed because the Cubs no longer had a challenge.

        My point is, just because the replay apparently made the correct call does not mean that Maddon’s protest should not be upheld. Maddon is right and the rules are specific. Whether or not the replay got the call correct is irrelevant because the replay, by rule in this case, should not have been allowed.

      • lukedunphysscienceproject - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        Well, paint, if the “spirit” of the rule is get the call right, and it shouldn’t matter whether or not the correct and proper procedure was actually used to review the play, why don’t we go sliding down that slippery together? Should the manager be able to come out after the inning is over? Should a team be able to demand a review after a game is completed? Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s why it’s important that the letter of the rule is followed- to make sure the rule can actually be used properly to get calls right without opening it up to criticism and controversy when it is misapplied.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:08 AM

        Are Yankees vs Sox NOT long enough already?

      • dan1111 - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        @paint, MLB decided to make challenges a strategic part of the game. As a consequence, following the rules about when and how challenges can be made is just as important to getting things right as the safe/out call. A lot of us are not happy about this, but that is the state of the game.

  11. jrocknstuff - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    MLB will apologize to TB, they’ll admit Davidson made a mistake, but no way they uphold the protest.

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:13 PM

      And no punishment of any kind will be dealt out to Davidson. This is exactly how MLB operates, they offer a useless apology and pretend it fixes the problem.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:19 PM

        Unless it’s low-paid groundskeepers who fail to deploy the tarp, then it’s a major fiasco that has to be corrected by replaying part of the game. All protests are equal, but those involving umpires are more equal than the others.

    • jdd428 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      I completely disagree. The protest should be upheld because the replay that erased a runner in a one-run game was in clear violation of the rules as they are spelled out. This is pretty clear cut. If MLB does not uphold the protest, then there’s no point to having the rule written as it is.

    • indaburg - Aug 24, 2014 at 8:35 AM

      Sadly, I think you’re right, jrock. They’ll say sorry, we goofed, but your protest is worthless.

    • bluejaysfanatic - Aug 24, 2014 at 6:36 PM

      Totally agree. The protest should be upheld but will not because of the gray area, when Davidson saw Gibbons.

  12. garybrian2014 - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:20 PM

    Someone didn’t wake “Gibby” up on time . That’s why he was so late!

  13. Senor Cardgage - Aug 23, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    This exact pickoff situation has happened before not quite two months ago when the Angels played the Tigers. MLB allowed the review because they said the catcher wasn’t ready, and therefore no pitch could be thrown. The same could be said here. Although the catcher was in a crotch, he was looking at the dugout for instructions, not giving signs or alert to the pitcher.

    In both cases, the manager came out of the dugout within 23 seconds of the safe signal. That seems reasonable to me. That’s barely time to get on the phone with your replay assistant. Would you rather Buehrle be stalling here? He should be concerned with keeping the game moving (and usually is; he’s the current fastest worker). Should the manager leap out of the dugout after every close play? We seem to be criticizing the ones who do. We can’t have it both ways.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:21 PM

      In a crotch, you say? I wouldn’t mind seeing a replay of that! Oh my.

      • Senor Cardgage - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:24 PM

        Crouch. I blame my phone.

    • jdd428 - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:48 PM

      It’s not a matter of how many seconds. It’s a matter of when the next play begins, and the rule clearly states that the next play begins when the pitcher is on the rubber and the batter is in the box. Because Buehrle works so quickly, Gibbons had a shorter window to make his appeal – but that’s just how it goes because that’s how the rule is written.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        But that was not the ruling in the Tigers game, so the rule isn’t being consistently enforced.

      • Senor Cardgage - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        But isn’t that what it should be? If this protest is upheld, won’t that lead to even more stalling by pitchers and batters?

        I think they should allow reviews all the way until the next pitch or play, and define pitch and play the same way they do for appeals (you actually have to throw the ball)—at least on pickoffs. With a ball in play, there is a lot of time between the end of the play and the next pitch (certainly more than the 23 seconds this took), but with pickoffs, the batter and pitcher are already in place, so of course they’re in the box and on the mound in a very short time after a call.

      • jdd428 - Aug 23, 2014 at 10:31 PM

        Historiophiliac – nothing is being consistently enforced anymore. The Posey rule was interpreted differently in consecutive White Sox-Giants games a couple weeks ago. Identical plays on consecutive days were ruled differently through replay, and both calls went against Chicago. … And if you’re really concerned with consistency, why is there even a definition of THE STRIKE ZONE in the rulebook?

        Senor Cardgage – No, that’s not what it should be. What they should do to avoid stalling is actually enforce the timing rules that are already on the books.

        Regardless of what they should or should not do, this is unmistakably clear and spelled out in the rulebook. When the pitcher is on the rubber and the batter is in the box, the next play has started and thus no replay should be conducted. Simple as that.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:48 AM

        The expectation should be that all of the umps enforce the rule as written. If it says box and mound, that’s what they need to follow. This should not be a matter of umpire discretion. It’s clearly stated here.

  14. Senor Cardgage - Aug 23, 2014 at 7:24 PM

    Crouch. I blame my phone.

  15. randomjoeblow - Aug 23, 2014 at 8:00 PM

    Weird, I can’t imagine the Rays being petty jerks about the rules..

    Oh, wait, yeah I can.

    • mplsjoe - Aug 23, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      By “being petty jerks about the rules” you must mean “trying to play by the rules,” right?

      • nbjays - Aug 23, 2014 at 11:42 PM

        Only when it benefits them.

  16. gargamelsmentor - Aug 24, 2014 at 12:34 AM

    I know he actually didnt do the video review, but I absolutely, positively guarantee that Bob Davidson’s car has an 8-track in it.

  17. schniz61 - Aug 24, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    I protest the stupid thumbs up and thumbs down on this site. It’s like the All-Star ballot. If someone posted “Willie Mays was a great baseball player”, at least one asshole would click on the the thumbs down. Makes the comments seem so childish.


  18. titansbro - Aug 24, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    If the roles were reversed there’s 0 chance Maddon would be worried about “playing the game by the rules.” That’s what he means by being petty jerks about the rules. Maddon is a good manager (a bit overrated though) but just such an unlikable blowhard. This sooo fits his mantra. Like complaining about getting “out-fenwayed” instead just taking responsibility for a loss. As if you don’t play in the Trop.

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