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Major League Baseball denies the Rays protest from Saturday’s game

Aug 26, 2014, 2:00 PM EST

In case you missed it, the Rays protested Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. The reason: umpire Bob Davidson allowed the Blue Jays to challenge a pickoff play at first base despite the fact that the pitcher, Mark Buehrle, was already on the mound and the Rays hitter was in the box. Once that happens, Section II.D of the replay rules says the previous play can no longer be challenged. The Jays won the challenge and the Rays’ baserunner was ruled out.

Moments ago Major League Baseball announced that the protest would be denied. No reason was given.

No reason was given, in all likelihood, because there is no reason for the ruling other than a lack of desire on Major League Baseball’s part to not overturn an umpire’s decision. But it’s clear that Davidson messed up and allowed a challenge when the rules did not call for one. This is where the players were when Gibbons came out to challenge the call, after all:

source:

And for what it’s worth, the baserunner was eliminated in a one-run game that was eventually decided by one run, so there can be no reasonable argument that the improper challenge was harmless. It could very well have made a difference in the game.

Of course this is one of the many dumb parts of having a replay rule tied to manager’s challenges.

UPDATE:  Worth noting — which I did not earlier, that Section K(4) of the Replay Regulations addresses game protests. It reads as follows:

“Official Baseball Rule 4.19 shall have no applicability to these Replay Regulations. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the Replay Official. Moreover, a violation of any rule or procedure set forth herein shall not constitute a basis for protesting a game.”

Likewise, the judgment of an Umpire is not grounds for a protest.

Which doesn’t mean that Davidson got things right here. And which basically makes no sense, at least insofar as the mechanics of replay are concerned. A replay official makes a call you don’t like? Fine, live with it, and don’t protest. The actual rules of replay itself are misapplied? I don’t understand why that should be exempted.

 

  1. Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Forget about replay and all the other nonsense. This was a simple decision and MLB once again bowed down to the almighty umpires union and was too much of wussies to uphold the protest. I wonder…if the Cubs crew would have had just as powerful a union as the umpires if MLB would have upheld that protest. I highly doubt it.

    • hcf95688 - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:31 PM

      The Rays screwed up. They should have simply hired Buster Posey to file their protest for them.

  2. Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    I know Bob Davidson’s name; therefore, he must not be a good umpire. The only exception to this rule is Jim Joyce.

    • thisismetoo - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:03 PM

      For what it’s worth, Joyce was the crew chief when the exact same bad call was made against the Tigers earlier this year.

      He knew better than to allow a protest, though. Ausmus said he asked to protest and Joyce told him it wasn’t allowed.

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:28 PM

        Thanks, I was just made aware of this play below. The comment about Joyce pertains to the perfect game debacle from a few years ago. He showed how to be both an arbiter and fallibly human with his post-game comments and his reactions to the next day’s game.

  3. gg206 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Lost a lot of respect for Torre and MLB offices.. The rules are the rules, even with the umpire discretion part of the rule.. Gibbons waited too Long and balkin Bob appeased him and helped open Pandora’s box

    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      The rules are the rules…unless they are going to show up an umpire, which means they aren’t the rules. Sure, baseball throws out a “we made a mistake” press release every so often, but they don’t do jack schitt in the media to kill an umpire. And it’s a damn disgrace. Bob Davidson should have been thrown out of the sport a long time ago, and he is still there for one reason and one reason alone…The Umpires Union. Plain and simple.

  4. rbts2014 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    MLB likely denied the protest because it’s too much hassle and expense to the right thing. Might as well call it a forfeit and given the Rays a 9-0 win if it’s too much hassle to play the game out correctly.

    • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      The guy was out. The Right call is OUT!

      • steve7921 - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        so if another replay is shown two plays later, as long as the incorrect call was made, we can go back and challenge the play??? Where does it end? The rules say there is a certain period of time when you can challenge.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:08 PM

        The replay rules and the home plate rules are new this year. Both can be modified.

      • indaburg - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:11 PM

        For some reason proudly, I think if the roles were reversed, you would feel the exact opposite. I disagree with the way MLB has instituted instant replay. I wanted the eye in the sky ump who would continuously review calls to avoid this kind of nonsense. However, MLB decided to go with this version where there is a statute of limitations for managers to contest the play. It was violated in this case. It doesn’t matter if the runner was out. The call was not reviewable because of the way the stupid rule is written.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        Again. The purpose of the replay rule is to correct mistakes. The first base ump blew the call and it deserved to be reversed.

      • indaburg - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:17 PM

        Again. You are stubbornly ignoring the rule. The purpose of instant replay is irrelevant.

      • raysfan1 - Aug 26, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        I was, and remain, ambivalent on this issue.

        Thing is, the way the rule is written, if the replay had shown Myers was safe, thus benefitting my favorite team, Davidson still screwed up by allowing the replay review in the first place. In this case, the review did show Myers was out, but allowing the review was still wrong. I do not believe Davidson allowed the review because he thought a wrong call had been made–he was the crew chief and could have called a conference with the 1st base ump to start with. I think he simply made a mistake in applying the rule.

        Now, why was the protest denied? Well, here proudlycanadian’s correct–Myers should have been called out, which was the ultimate result of the erroneously allowed replay review.

        Why didn’t MLB add any statement to the denial? (1) They will not say that 2 umps screwed up on the same play with their errors ultimately nullifying each other. (2) They will not admit the real fault is with themselves for the idiotic way they are running replay reviews, using manager challenges rather than automatic reviews by a 5th ump.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:08 PM

        I agree with you last paragraph.

  5. proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:21 PM

    In criticizing Davidson, Craig was reacting as a lawyer. However, the object of the replay rule is to get the call right. Davidson said that he saw Gibbons moving in order ask for the call to be checked. Why should the Jays be penalized because Buehrle works fast? The wording of the rule is at fault in this case not Davidson. If you check the rules further, you might find some wording that allows umpires to use their discretion.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:27 PM

      But as long as the wording in the rulebook is what it is, I should be enforced as written. You would not be penalized if your batter was slower to the box.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        The guy was out. Davidson made sure that the right call was made. End of story.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        No, the rule states that there is a finite time to dispute a play. Managers have already gotten the hang of this on other matters — they just are fumbling to catch up on pickoffs. I know there’s a shorter appeal time, and that may be the issue. However, that does not change that the rule should be enforced as determined. Teach your batter to check with the dugout before stepping into the box after a pickoff play. That’s how they do with other kinds of plays.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        The purpose of replays is to make sure that the right call is made. Buehrle picked him off and the first base ump blew the call.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

        But there are limits on how and when replay challenges can be made, and that’s to assure that the game doesn’t get bogged down excessively. Just as you can’t challenge other kinds of plays later, you can’t with these — and we’ve certainly seen this season that calls are not always being properly made even with replay. The purpose of replay is to correct calls within the parameters set for review — you’re not going to get perfection.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Buehrele works fast Hell Boy works slowly. should The Jays should not be penalized because Buehrle was on the mound for them while Hell Boy was on the mound for Tampa Bay?

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        *pitcher. have the pitcher check with the dugout after close pickoff plays. if the batter checks, he just might cost his team an out.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:51 PM

        My bad. I had it backwards (not that I’m bitter).

    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:32 PM

      ” the object of the replay rule is to get the call right. ”

      So basically, the end justifies the means? Bleh. I hate when people use this as an excuse for someone simply not following the rules.

      Pitcher on rubber? Check.

      Batter in Box? Check.

      NO REPLAY ALLOWED WHETHER THE CALL WAS RIGHT OR WRONG!! PERIOD.

      What if they had used up their challenges? Would you have said…but but but but he was OUT!!! That’s what the rule is for to get the call right. Give my team another challenge…forget the rules.

      Silliness.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Under the rules of baseball, the runner was out. The first base umpire blew the call. Davidson enabled the correct call to be made.

      • sportsfan18 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:37 PM

        Agreed.

        Folks seem to forget that baseball WROTE the rule and now they won’t enforce it.

        If they don’t want to enforce it, baseball could eliminate that rule or re-write the rule.

        It IS weak when an institution writes a rule and then won’t abide by it or enforce it.

        If baseball won’t enforce their own rule, then CHANGE or ELIMINATE the rule.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:43 PM

        Proudly, I know you are a Jays fan and are wearing your blue-colored glasses but you really can’t believe this can you? What if the Jays had no more challenges left? Would it have then been OK?

    • dan1111 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      The rule stinks; I think we all can agree on that.

      However, MLB chose to make replay decisions part of the game by giving managers challenges. Given that they did that, it is no longer a matter of just getting the original call right; it is also correctly observing the rules about the challenge system, so that all teams have equal chance to use this strategy. Davidson failed in this latter regard.

      You are focused on Maddon’s supposed manipulation of the rules, but what about Gibbons waiting as long as possible so that someone could review the play and let him know if he should challenge? The fact is, both are playing the same game here.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:39 PM

        The runner at first was picked off by Buehrle. Why should the Jays be penalized because the ump blew the call and Buehrle works fast?

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        Hilariously, PC is complaining about getting screwed by his own player.

    • acepicker4 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:44 PM

      Agreed. Lawyers have done serious damage to our society by demanding adherence to the word of the law rather than the spirit. Lets stop exploiting loopholes and get the calls correct. It should not be up to the players or managers to tell the umps they blew the call in a timely fashion.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        Agreed.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:50 PM

        I see…so if a manager uses his challenges, and an egregious mistake is made by the umpire, they should just say “Well, OK. The spirit of the rule is to get the calls right. So let’s just check EVERY SINGLE CLOSE CALL and forget that pesky # of challenges rule” Right?

        Sorry Proud and ace, your argument is beyond ridiculous.

    • sfp311 - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:29 PM

      Proudly, rules are rules. If you’re going to make it a rule, you have to enforce it. The point everyone is trying to make is that whether it was ruled safe or out is irrelevant as to the reason why the Rays protested. Under the rules, that play is NOT reviewable, whether it was obviously safe or obviously out is completely irrelevant. The players should all be educated on these rules whether new or old, and if that means telling a veteran like Mark Buehrle to take a breather on a close play so Gibby can challenge, then so be it.

      • proudlycanadian - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:57 PM

        The purpose of the replay rules is to make the right call. The ump at first blew the call. Davidson made sure that a correct decision was made.

      • Kevin S. - Aug 26, 2014 at 10:13 PM

        NO IT’S NOT. STOP SAYING THAT. IF IT WERE TRUE THEY’D HAVE A FIFTH UMP. THE PURPOSE IS TO SHIFT BLAME FOR BAD CALLS FROM THE UMPS TO THE MANAGERS BY PUTTING ONUS ON THEIR STRATEGY. SORRY FOR ALL CAPS BUT YOU ARE BEING DELIBERATELY OBTUSE.

  6. historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:25 PM

    Or, they didn’t give a reason because 1) they’d have to come up with a reason to justify why umps weren’t following the rules and 2) because this has already happened previously and MLB already issued reasoning there (and all subsequent incidents will be treated with the same illogic as the precedent).

    • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      “I thought, if anything, maybe they would call traveling, because he took about three steps.”
      –Terry Francona after an early-season egregious Transfer Rule(tm) call

      The transfer rule play in the link below was also the basis for a protest early this season and denied. It was, as far as I know, the first of these plays to result in a protest. Within 2 weeks, the ‘interpretation’ of the challenge rule had changed back to what it had been for the past 100 years. Guess which umpire made the call?

      http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/transfer-rule-focus-of-cleveland-replay?ymd=20140409&content_id=71485458&vkey=news_mlb

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        Guess which ump made the call in the Tigers game? Jim Joyce. It isn’t just that guy.

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:57 PM

        Sorry, meant to be separate post. What tiger’s game are you referring to?

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:01 PM

        Tigers-Angels — similar thing happened and when Brad argued it, he got ejected.

        http://www.freep.com/article/20140727/SPORTS02/307270136/Tigers-manager-Brad-Ausmus-ejected-after-instant-replay-overturned-call

      • Jack Glasscock's Cup - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:14 PM

        ahh, I see. Missed that one.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM

        Everybody did — but he got ejected and he was right about the rule.

  7. thebadguyswon - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    The protection Bud Selig has provided these umpires is borderline criminal.

  8. acepicker4 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Umps off the field and cameras everywhere now! Lets get the calls right and stop with the histrionics!

  9. gg206 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:43 PM

    Proudly,

    The end should not justify the means. The play shouldn’t had been reviewed, pitcher on rubber, batter in box= no replay possible. That’s cut and dry. Just because he was out at first doesn’t mean a thing because that play shouldn’t be reviewed to start with.

  10. sportsfan18 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM

    Don’t forget baseball fans…

    So much is talked about replays, challenges etc… Many games proceed without having to use replay or have a challenge from the manager at all.

    Even games where this happens, it’s only once or maybe twice in the game.

    Look on line baseball fans, studies have been done about the mistakes in calling balls and strikes.

    It’s well known that about 14 to 15 percent of pitches are NOT called correctly. There are around 300 total combined pitches between the two teams each game.

    This means that teams, players and fans are putting up with and dealing with around 44 incorrect (read WRONG) calls EVERY game.

    Yes, it IS important to get home runs called right etc…

    But baseball should apply the 80/20 rule and clean up most of their incorrect calls vs. working so hard to try (and fail many times) and get such a small percentage of their calls right. So much time, energy and money is being spent on trying to get such a small percentage of calls right.

    I mean, the percentage of calls where replay is used for is so small… yet they ignore an area of the game where 40 plus mistakes are made every game.

    Baseball fans know a pitcher will make a different pitch with 3 balls instead of 2 balls in the count and on and on.

    A 2 and 2 pitch will almost always be different than a 3 & 1 pitch.

    The batter might crush the 3 & 1 offering and change the outcome of the game. But if the ump hadn’t called the pitch before a ball, when it was really a strike, the count would have been 2 & 2 and the batter wouldn’t have seen the pitch he ended up crushing and changing the game on.

    Hitting IS difficult, the most difficult thing to do in sports. To have a batter strike out on a ball and then have another reach base on a walk when it should have been strike 3 is tough.

    Each way really affects games…

  11. jdd428 - Aug 26, 2014 at 2:55 PM

    This is a ridiculous and outrageous ruling by MLB. What’s the point of having a rule specifically spelled out regarding the timing of a replay if they’re just going to disregard it?

  12. historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I kind of understand not wanting to have protests of protests. At some point, you have to cut it off. People have to accept that you are just not going to get perfection from the system. You get one protest — either with the replay official or after the game to MLB. Do you really think the more appeals you get, the better the outcome will be?

    • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:20 PM

      Then why even have the second protest at all anyway? The second one is because the first one is to the umpire, who is too invested in the game to call himself wrong. The second protest has no vested interest in the game. It should be only to see whether the right or wrong decision was made and in this case, 100% the wrong decision was made. It’s not even close and it is not debatable.

      Unless you are a Blue Jays fan. Then, millions of challenges for everyone!!! Let’s get 100% of all calls correct!!! To hell with the rules!!!

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:23 PM

        You think the replay official has no vested interest in the game but the ump does? What’s the difference?

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        No I probably didn’t say what I meant properly there. The umpire and replay officials are vested in their decision and are not likely to overrule themselves. Whereas the MLB offices can look at the entire protest, and watch all the tape, and make a decision without being the one who made the wrong decision.

        So in this case, Balkin Bob isn’t going to overrule the replay because he called for it. and the replay was just there to judge safe or out and nothing else. So neither of them are going to give Maddon a fair protest. It is MLB who needs to step in after the fact and say “No, Balkin Bob you were 100% wrong to allow the replay here. The protest is upheld.”

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:52 PM

        I’m going to go back to the same thing I said on the Galarraga perfect game then: I don’t feel comfortable having the Commissioner and front office people officiating games. I wish instead they could come up with incentives for the umps’ union to be more flexible on these things. I just don’t think the front office (and its politics/stupidity) should have final say on umpiring. I like that power used as least as possible.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:57 PM

        Well, the Galarraga perfect game had no bearing on the final result of a game, so I don’t blame them for rewriting history there. And since replay wasn’t around, then there would have been no reasonable argument for not changing history to make the right call.

        However, if that happened today, and the umpires decided not to look at the call, then I would have no problem at all with MLB saying “Oh no, you should have looked at that call and you should have made the right call”. Since the mechanism is in place to fix the call.

        And as long as the ump’s union is the single strongest union in America today, they aren’t going to agree to squat that affects that strength in any way. It’s the sad truth. City employees and MLB umpires will never be fired for poor performance.

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:09 PM

        I kind of think the police union beats the umps, but maybe that’s me.

        You missed the spirit of what I was saying — and that my concern about turning front offices into final arbiters. I just don’t care for that and think it goes too far — especially now that there is a replay system. You got that. You have your review — and now you want two of them? Why not have 3 then? Why not a final appeal to Bud and then a panel of arbiters? Seriously, one level up seems okay to me. It’s a game; let’s not turn it into a legal proceeding. And, the umps union keeps it a little more neutral than putting it under Bud’s control.

      • Bob Loblaw - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        If the police union were as powerful as the umps, there would have in way shape or form been that huge televised saint-fest for Michael Brown yesterday. Basically, what TV did yesterday was passively kill a police officer.

        Regarding your worry about reviews, I agree that a review of the actual play would not be a good thing. However, a review of the process used is always a good thing. And I don’t think it would be overstepping anyone’s power to say “Should replay have been allowed here?”

      • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:18 PM

        In which case, I think the replay official should have the power to decline review (and maybe then they could appeal to MLB).

        I won’t even respond to that cop-killing craziness BS.

  13. kinggator - Aug 26, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Put a tent on the MLB Replay circus! The umpire should have know the rule prior to allowing the replay challenge to occur and that goes for the Blue Jays pitcher too. The reversal appears correct and that’s the ultimate goal, but the next time this happens the Umps have to not allow the challenge as this has not occurred and been addressed. Lets see if the umps, managers and teams can learn from this mistake, doubtful and it will probably happen during the post-season. Yippie Replay!!

  14. dowhatifeellike - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    Simple solution, really: if you try to challenge a call too late, you get ejected. Umps keep their precious power and managers go about challenging in a timely manner.

  15. yarguy - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    MLB probably denied the protest because they recognise that it is a ridiculously stupid rule in the first place. Only nit-picking lawyers love these sorts of rules.

    • clemente2 - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:50 PM

      Everyone hates the procedural rules until those rules work as intended and protect them from an unfair result.

      Rules, legal or not, are intended to provide or enhance fairness. People gave up long ago trying to find ‘right and wrong’ as applied to every case–mainly because there was no agreement on ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. What people could agree to was rules designed to decide ‘right and wrong’–so long as the rules are followed, we will call the resulting judgment about ‘right and wrong’ “justice”.

      As ‘justice’ is the following of rules, how one follows the rules becomes the hot point. There are many instances where a bending of rules to create a ‘new’ rule that works better for a perceived ‘justice’ is applauded. Prodly point above. Others see the abuse of rules as leading to ‘injustice’–the ‘the rule is the rule’ folks above.

      In all cases, however, the conversation is about the rules and how to make them and how to apply them. What lawyers do. Justice, not nit-picking.

      • clemente2 - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:52 PM

        Proudly not Prodly. Mea culpa.

  16. kalinedrive - Aug 26, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    What happens if a protest is upheld? The game has to be resumed from the point of the protested play, and everything that happened after that is stricken from the record?

  17. moogro - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    Like always, the unpredictable humans in the ump costumes (that can’t read and remember rules) are the weak link that undermines the integrity of the sport, possibly affecting who gets to go on to be the champion. In the computer and HD era, that is the major subtext of the sport going forward from no on. MLB has a hard enough time justifying the status quo without granting a protest that brings even further scrutiny.

  18. hawkrockandcro - Aug 26, 2014 at 5:55 PM

    From Section II.D.5 of the rulebook:

    The Crew Chief shall have the final authority to determine whether a Manager’s Challenge is timely. The judgment of the Crew Chief regarding the timeliness of a Manager’s Challenge shall be final and binding on both Clubs, and shall not be reviewable by Replay Review or otherwise.

    So it’s up to the crew chief (Davidson) to decide what’s “timely” or not. This seems to give the crew chief the ability to override Section II.D.1 about the batter in the box and the pitcher on the rubber. So, if according to Davidson, John Gibbons’ challenge wasn’t too late, then apparently it wasn’t. We may all find this unsatisfactory, but the fault seems to be with the rule itself, and is not necessarily a matter of Major League Baseball arbitrarily denying a legitimate appeal.

  19. Senor Cardgage - Aug 26, 2014 at 6:07 PM

    23 seconds. That’s how much time elapsed between the blown call and the manager popping out of the dugout. Is that not timely?

    The rule was written so that managers don’t take their sweet time after a ball in play when deciding to challenge. There’s plenty of time in between normal plays to make up your mind, and if you can’t do it by the time the pitcher and batter are ready to go, then too bad. A pickoff is different, though. On a pickoff, the pitcher and batter are already in their spots. If this protest were upheld, you’d basically be telling pitchers to stay off the mound and stall after every close pickoff. Well forget that. Let’s keep the game moving. Let them get ready to go, and give them until the pitch is actually thrown before the challenge window is closed.

    Also, the catcher was looking in the dugout the whole time, not giving signs or being alert to the pitcher. There was not gonna be a pitch. So although the letter of the rule might technically have been broken, the spirit was not. Allowing the challenge was not unfair to the Rays, and disallowing it would have been unfair to the Blue Jays.

  20. Shayna - Aug 26, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    I know we’re all pretty tired of this by now, but it seems to me that there is an extra bit in the rule that everyone seems to be ignoring. Not just the batter in the box and the pitcher on the mound but also /preparing to pitch/. All you strict constructionists out there who are pleading for the rule to be enforced as written had better decide what that last phrase means. It must mean something more than just being on the mound; to me it suggests something like the “come-set” position, which Buehrle clearly had not taken at the time that Gibbons asked the umpire for the review.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 26, 2014 at 11:48 PM

      I kinda think if you’re going through signs with the catcher, you’re preparing to pitch — and you aren’t set then (you’ve moved on to the next play though). I don’t think you have to read it as narrowly as you did. I mean, you practically have it so that they can come running out anytime before he goes into the wind-up, but I think a play begins before then. And, interrupting play that late can cause confusion and delays that could be a real problem — and really allow managers to game the system by running out late to disrupt pitchers. The general set up for replay is that challenges must be made as quickly as possible, and waiting that long seems the opposite of that principle.

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