Posted on July 28, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The Los Angeles Angels completed their game Wednesday night against the Kansas City Royals under protest. The protest relates to a two-run error in the 7th game that tied the game at 3 runs apiece. The Royals went on to win the game 7-5.
With two runners on base and nobody out in the top of the 7th inning, Royals rookie Raul Mondesi dropped down a bunt that was fielded by Los Angeles pitcher Matt Shoemaker. The throw hit Mondesi’s leg and then went down the right field line, allowing two runs to score, with Mondesi eventually ending up at third base. Angels manager Mikke Scioscia spent several minutes speaking with the umpires, claiming that Mondesi was inside the baseline. By rule, if a throw hits a runner who’s inside the baseline, the runner is out and the play is dead.
Scioscia’s conversation with the umpires lasted for roughly 10 minutes, and in that time Los Angeles filed a protest stating that the umpires had misinterpreted a rule, not made a judgment call. During that 10 minutes, the umpires also consulted with instant replay umpires in New York, but the call was ultimately upheld, prompting the Angels to play the rest of the game under protest.
“It’s not a judgment call,” Scioscia explained after the game. “I would not have protested if I was not 100 percent correct on this. This is a misinterpretation of a rule. It was very clear. Phil Cuzzi, the home plate umpire, had Mondesi running inside the line in jeopardy the whole way and stated that it’s OK, because he was stepping back toward the bag, which is wrong.”
After the game, Scioscia and Cuzzi met for a half hour behind closed doors to discuss the play. Cuzzi is not allowed to comment publicly because the game is being protested, but Scioscia told reporters that Cuzzi admitted to him that Mondesi was out of the baseline but was allowed to be so in order to touch the base.
“The question wasn’t if the throw impeded him, or if he impeded the throw,” Scioscia continued. “The question wasn’t if he was running inside. It’s, what I believe, is his misinterpretation of the rule, given the guidelines that he gave me. There’s no judgment involved. He admitted that he was outside the line. Phil felt that he wasn’t in jeopardy because he was stepping to the bag, which is wrong. And that’s the basis of the protest.”
Scioscia says he is confident his protest will be upheld, but Royals manager Ned Yost sees things differently. “It was pretty confusing what was going on,” Yost said. “It was a judgment call that he wasn’t out of the lane. I looked at the video, and he was right on the line.”
Meanwhile, Shoemaker lamented his error. “I had an angle; I just made a bad throw,” the Los Angeles pitcher said after the game. “The worst part is that he was probably going to be safe anyway.”
Major League Baseball will review the protest within the next few days and making a ruling. If the protest is upheld, the game will be replayed starting at the point of protest. MLB last upheld a protest in 2014 when the Giants protested the Cubs were negligent in placing tarp on the field during a rain delay. That protest was the first to be upheld in 28 years.