8/23/2014 8:00 P.M. ET
Rays protest game after Blue Jays win challenge
Gibbons may have initiated successful review with pitcher on rubber, batter in box
By Chris Toman / Special to MLB.com
TORONTO -- The Rays lost Saturday's contest against the Blue Jays, 5-4, on a walk-off single in extra innings, but manager Joe Maddon believes the game will be played again -- at least the majority of it.
Tampa Bay's skipper informed crew chief Bob Davidson during the fourth inning that his team was playing the game under protest because he felt a rule was not properly enforced.
The play in question came after Toronto challenged a pickoff attempt at first base. With one out and Wil Myers on first, left-hander Mark Buehrle threw over to the bag, but a sliding Myers was ruled safe by first-base umpire Bill Welke.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons challenged the play, which was then overturned. But Gibbons didn't appear to ask for a review until Buehrle was back on the rubber and Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was in the batter's box, which is too late, according to official Major League Baseball replay review regulations.
"We were told in the beginning, when the batter is in the box and the pitcher is on the rubber, you can no longer challenge," Maddon said. "I would be really surprised if the protest was not upheld."
Section II.D of the official replay rules 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 said home-plate umpire John Tumpane agreed with him and was not going to let Gibbons challenge the play.
"The home-plate umpire had it right, he had it right," Maddon said. "And then Bob intervened. [Tumpane] said it, he did not want to permit Gibbons from coming out, because he saw batter in the box, pitcher on the rubber. ... He was right, Bob was wrong."
Maddon called it a legitimate "cut-and-dry" protest, but Davidson disagreed.
Davidson acknowledged that Maddon's point of view would be valid if Buehrle was on the rubber and Escobar in the box before the challenge was made, but felt Gibbons called for a review just prior to those two events happening.
"I was at third base and I've got everything in front of me," Davidson said to a pool reporter following the game. "I see Buehrle, he's on the rubber, and as I'm seeing Escobar getting ready -- from my judgment -- to get into the box, now I see Gibbons giving the thumbs up that he's coming out. So I thought, in my judgment, that it was in time to file a challenge on the play."
Davidson said he will file a computer-based report regarding what he saw and did during the disputed play, and he will then phone it in.
Joe Torre, the executive vice president of baseball operations, will have the final say.
"The decision rests with the operations department of Major League Baseball," Welke said. "Once we submit all the information we have both via the report and on the phone, it will be handled internally."
If Torre's interpretation of what happened is the same as Maddon's, the game would resume with one out in the fourth, Myers on first and Escobar at the plate. It also would mark the second time this week that a protested game was upheld. The Giants successfully protested a game against the Cubs on Tuesday that was called after five innings due to a difficulty getting the tarp on the field during an unexpected downpour in Chicago.
That marked the first time since 1986, in a contest between the Cardinals and Pirates, that a protested game was upheld.
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.