I really don’t even know where to start with this game. The game itself wasn’t really the problem – although Tommy Hunter giving up home runs is clearly still an issue – but with the umpiring crew. There’s just so much we need to talk about regarding them right now since, although their call didn’t affect any runs scoring during the actual game because Wieters threw out a runner, they made a mockery of baseball tonight.
Here’s what happened: Jhonny Peralta grounded out to third. Manny Machado stopped the ball and threw it wide to first, but Mark Reynolds stretched and made the play. Peralta, in a rare fit of anger, protested that Reynolds’s foot wasn’t on the bag. Video replays clearly showed it was, but MLB doesn’t use expanded replay yet, so the umpires had a conference and astoundingly overturned the call.
Mark Reynolds then did this (.gif via Twitter user @itschadlol):
Naturally, Reynolds was ejected for this sort of behavior, and Showalter soon followed when he came out to argue the overturning of the call. Rumors then swirled around regarding whether or not the Orioles were playing the rest of this game under protest. Games being played under protest are covered by MLB rule 4.19:
Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpires decision is in violation of these rules. No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final.
Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of the League President the violation adversely affected the protesting teams chances of winning the game.
- Rule 4.19 Comment: Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.
The problem for the Orioles tonight is that the manager was ejected from the game, so now we have no idea whether or not the team was playing this game under protest. Since they lost, if they were playing this game under protest and their protest was accepted, the game would be replayed starting from that play at first base.
The funny bit regarding all of this is that the play didn’t even matter in the end since Matt Wieters threw out Peralta trying to steal second base. In the end, it became a game about bullpens, and ours was the more tired one.
There’s a bigger issue underlying all of this, though, and that’s the umpiring in MLB right now. In the past few years, umps have become far more outspoken, overstepping boundaries that we didn’t even realize existed until they started complaining about things (like Joe West) and overruled correct calls. In an ideal world, MLB would step in and investigate all of this, but that’s not happening here. It’s depressing, but it’s the truth.
I wonder if this’ll at least prompt MLB to really try out that expanded replay they’re supposedly testing this weekend.