Rays protest game vs. Blue Jays over timing of replay challenge

Aug 23, 2:49 PM

TORONTO - Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon protested Saturday's game against the Blue Jays in the fourth inning after the umpires granted Toronto a replay challenge after the next play had begun.

Rays DH Will Myers reached on a one-out single in the fourth and was called safe by first base umpire Bill Welke on Mark Buehrle's pickoff throw.

After Yunel Escobar stepped back into the batter's box and Buehrle returned to the rubber, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons came out and asked to challenge Welke's call.

Maddon came out to speak with crew chief and third base umpire Bob Davidson about the timing. After Myers was called out following video review, Maddon spoke to Davidson again and indicated he was playing the game under protest. A Rays team spokesman later confirmed the reason for the protest.

Baseball's replay rules say any challenge must be made before the next play or pitch, which is said to begin ''when the pitcher is on the rubber preparing to start his delivery and the batter has entered the batter's box.''

Aug 26, 1:45 PM

MLB denies Rays' protest of Saturday's game vs. Blue Jays

Aug 26, 1:45 PM

Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that the Tampa Bay Rays' protest of Saturday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays has been denied.

No reason was given by the league office.

Rays manager Joe Maddon told Saturday's umpiring crew that he was playing the remainder of the game under protest because the Blue Jays were granted a review in the fourth inning after pitcher Mark Buehrle had already taken his place on the pitching rubber.

In the Rays' view, play had resumed and the Jays were not permitted to issue a challenge.

Tampa Bay was not questioning the ruling of the challenge itself, but rather that the review was granted too late.

Maddon made his case to MLB executive vice president Joe Torre on Sunday, and said he had an "adequate amount of hope" that his protest would be upheld.

It would have been the second upheld protest in less than a week. The Giants' protest of last Tuesday's rain-shortened loss to the Chicago Cubs was upheld and the game was completed on Thursday.

Feature photo courtesy of USA TODAY Sports/Kim Klement

Aug 24, 1:22 PM

Rays' Maddon makes case to Torre, has 'adequate amount of hope' protest will be upheld

Aug 24, 1:22 PM

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon spoke to MLB senior VP Joe Torre Sunday morning about his protest of Saturday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Madden said he came away from the conversation with an "adequate amount of hope" that the protest will be upheld. 

"Typically, he listened well, and he just wants to get it right,'' Maddon said. "So it's not a dead issue yet. It's got to go through the process. He's willing to listen, so we'll present our case and see what happens.''

Part of what gave Maddon such adequacies of hope if that Torre reportedly indicated to him that the protest was valid. There had been some question of whether it would be allowed, since it involved a replay review and the MLB rulebook does not considered replay cause for a protest. 

Maddon's point, which appears to have been well taken, was that the issue involved umpiring crew chief Bob Davidson's decision to allow the use of replay too late, which is unrelated to the replay itself.

Maddon said Torre seemed "willing to listen" to the Rays case, which is that Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle was on the mound and Rays hitter Yunel Escobar was in the batter's box before Jays manager John Gibbons requested the replay. 

"There's nuance to that rule in some regard," said Maddon, "but to me the one part there's no nuance whatsoever, almost like the heart and soul or the crux of the system is pitcher on the rubber/batter in the box precludes anything else from happening." 

Torre reportedly gave no timeline for a decision, but it is expected to come down sometime in the next few days.

If the protest is indeed upheld, the game - which the Rays lost 5-4 in 10 innings - would be replayed from the point of controversy. It would thus start in the top of the fourth inning, with the Rays trailing 2-1, with one out and Wil Myers on first base.  

Feature photo courtesy of USA Today Sports/Kim Klement

Aug 23, 5:48 PM

Rays' Maddon on protested game: I'm confident it will be upheld

Aug 23, 5:48 PM

Saturday afternoon's contest between the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays was played under protest after the umpires granted the Blue Jays a replay challenge after the next play had begun in the fourth inning.

Toronto pitcher Mark Buehrle toed the rubber and was ready to deliver the next pitch following a pickoff play in which Wil Myers was ruled safe. Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was in the batter's box to receive Buehrle's upcoming pitch when time was called and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged the play. 

[Courtesy: MLB.com]

The umpires reversed the call after review, prompting Maddon to request the game be played under protest.

Here are the league rules pertaining to the situation:

Section II.D states: A manager must exercise his challenge (by verbal communication to the appropriate Umpire), or the Crew Chief must initiate a Replay Review (if applicable pursuant to Section II.C above) before the commencement of the next play or pitch. Such challenge or request will be considered timely only if the Umpire acknowledges that communication within the time period specified above.

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).

Maddon stood behind his decision to protest following the 5-4 extra-innings loss.

Crew chief Bob Davidson also spoke about his decision to allow the review:

If the league sides with Maddon, the two teams could be ordered to replay the game from the time of the dispute.