The Appeal Process
story updated to correct the umpire positioning. Davidson was at 3rd base when granting the replay
Yesterday’s loss to Toronto was played under protest as Joe Maddon protested a review granted by crew chief Bob Davidson in the fourth inning. Mark Buehrle attempted to pick off Wil Myers, and truthfully did pick him off. Umpire Bill Welke at first base did not see it that way and called him safe. Buerhle took to the mound and Yunel Escobar stepped into the batter’s box. By one portion of the new replay rules, the next play was then underway:
Timing of Manager Challenges and Crew Chief Reviews.
- Except as otherwise set forth in Sections II.D.2-4 below, to be timely, a Manager must exercise his challenge (by verbal communication to the appropriate Umpire), or the Crew Chief must initiate 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
Davidson went on to grant the review and explained himself to a pool reporter after the game:
“(Escobar) was just about getting in, but I’m looking at Gibbons and he’s coming out and he’s not a speed merchant, and I thought, it’s on time,” Davidson said. “We want to get the play correct. That’s what we’re out here for.
The video shows home plate umpire John Tumpane peek over into the Toronto dugout before Escobar enters the batter’s box and then assumes his crouched position to call the next pitch. Dioner Navarro is seen peeking over into the dugout to get a sign and then signals for Buehrle to step off. Not shown in the video is Bob Davidson who is the crew chief and was at 3rd base and granted the replay despite the actions of his colleague behind the plate.
The rulebook will likely have his back and lead baseball to decline the protest by Tampa Bay. The rest of the rule has a clarification in parenthesis:
(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).
That part of the rule applies to teams throwing back to a base to check if the runner missed the base while advancing to the next base. That does not apply to this particular play.
Ultimately, expect the Commissioner’s office to cite this portion of the rule when they deny the protest:
If the Crew Chief determines that a Club’s invocation of a Manager’s Challenge is untimely, the play shall not be reviewed, the Umpire’s call shall stand, and the Club shall not be charged with a challenge. 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.
Why there was a lack of coordination between the home plate umpire and Bob Davidson on what constituted the start of a new play will likely remain undefined.