TORONTO – Rays manager Joe Maddon spent five minutes on the phone Sunday morning with Joe Torre, the executive vice president for baseball operations for Major League Baseball, discussing the events that led to Maddon protesting Saturday’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to the Blue Jays.
Maddon protested the game in the top of the fourth inning when umpire crew chief Bob Davidson allowed Jays manager John Gibbons to use his replay challenge on a pickoff attempt at first base on Rays designated hitter Wil Myers.
“It’s not a dead issue, yet. It’s got to go through the process,” Maddon said. “(Torre is) willing to listen, so we’ll present our case and see what happens.”
Gibbons didn’t exit the dugout until Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle was standing on the rubber and Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar was standing in the batter’s box.
Maddon said all the conversation he had before the season about the new replay rules said that scenario indicates play had resumed and prevents a manger from challenging the previous play.
“It gave me, I would say, and adequate amount of hope,” Maddon said. “There is nuance to that rule in some regard, but to me there’s no nuance whatsoever and I think almost like the heart and soul, the crux of the system is, pitcher on the rubber, batter in the box, precludes anything else from happening.
“You can’t do anything else at that moment. That was the locking mechanism. For me, there was no nuance set up for timing. The nuance would be if the pitcher was behind the rubber or off the mound of the batter was out of the box, and they were trying to delay in an inappropriate manner, then I understand the timing of it. But timing has nothing to do with pitcher on the rubber, batter in the box, and at that point that was emphatically described to us as being the locking mechanism in all the meetings. Everything after that is moot. It should never have occurred.”
Davidson said he saw Gibbons give him a “thumbs up” that he was going to come out of the dugout as Escobar was just getting into the box. The rule, though, states there has to be a verbal communication from the manager that he wants to use a challenge.
“I hate to accuse anybody of dissembling,” Maddon said, “but I’m certain that’s not the case.”
Maddon said he will email Torre his side of the story. Maddon said he expects it will take a day or two before Torre reaches his decision.
If the protest is upheld, the game will resume when the Rays return to Toronto in September. The game will pick up in the top of the fourth inning with Myers on first base and one out and the Rays trailing 2-1.