Rays place game under protest
UPDATE, 6:12:Davidson said he felt it was the right call.
Here are his comments to pool reporter Shi Davidi of Sportsnet:
The play? "I was at third base and I've got everything in front of me. 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.
Escobar was where? "He 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. We want to get the play correct, that's what we're out here for, so that was my thinking on that.
Protest? "If I felt it was too late, then it would have been too late, and if Gibbons wanted to file a protest on that he probably could have, I don't know. Again, I thought it was extremely close but I saw Gibbons coming out of the dugout and Escobar might have just gotten into the box, but I thought by the time Gibbons was starting to come out, I thought by that rule it was still on time, barely, to file a challenge.
Maddon said what? "Joe said, ‘It's too late, and I'm going to protest.' Obviously if the play would have stood then he wouldn't have protested.
Process for protest? "I've got to do a report on the computer and then I have to call it in, what I saw and what I did, and then it's up to baseball what to do. We were looking the replay here and you see Buehrle on the mound and you see Escobar getting into the box but you just don't see where Gibbons is. I saw him coming out and I'm looking here and looking there and I just thought it was in time for a challenge.
"It was very close, but I thought it was on time when I saw Gibbons starting to move and coming out on the field. That's what I went with.
UPDATE, 5:14: Maddon said he is confident the Rays' protest will be upheld, so the game will be replayed from the fourth inning on.
"It's a legitimate protest,'' he said. "Hitter in box, pitcher on the rubber, that locks the mechanism, period. So it was inappropriate for Bob to do what he did, permit that to happen. So I'm trustign they are goign to interpret the rule properly and get us back to that point in the game.''
DEVELOPING: The Rays placed Saturday's game under protest based on the timing of an instant replay challenge during the fourth inning.
After a close safe call on a pickoff to first, Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle was back on the mound and Rays hitter Yunel Escobar was in the batter's box before Jays manager John Gibbons ran on the field to challenge the call.
After conferring the umpires went ahead with the review, crew chief Bob Davidson stopping to inform Rays manager Joe Maddon what they were doing. The review took 2:56 and as soon as the umpires said the call was overturned and Myers was out, Maddon approached Davidson and placed the game under protest.
If the Rays protest were upheld, the game would be replayed from the point of the protest.
Here is the MLB rule regarding timing of a challenge, with the relevant part in bold:
II 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 (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). A challenge to a play that ends the game must be invoked immediately upon the conclusion of the play, and both Clubs shall remain in their dugouts until the Replay Official issues his decision. No substitutions or pitching changes may take place while the Umpires are in the process of invoking Replay Review.
However, there is also a rule that reads:
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.