Following a controversial replay ruling that resulted in a second-inning run for the Toronto Blue Jays, the Oakland Athletics decided to play the rest of Thursday night's game under official protest.
The team's official Twitter account confirmed the bizarre news:
The A's are officially playing this game under protest. MLB rule 4.19 explains protested games.— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) July 4, 2014
However, the A's did win the game 4-1, making the protest a moot point in the end.
The Jays had loaded the bases with one out in the top of the second inning when Anthony Gose stepped to the plate. He hit a ground ball to first baseman Nate Freiman, and then all hell broke loose. Kind of:
Freiman appeared to tag Munenori Kawasaki going from first to second, but when the umpire called Kawasaki safe, that made the ensuing throw home a force out. After the replay review, though, the umpires ruled that Kawasaki was indeed out, making the play at home no longer a force out. That allowed Edwin Encarnacion to score because he wasn't tagged.
Understandably, A's manager Bob Melvin was quite miffed. Catcher Stephen Vogt had no reason to attempt to tag Encarnacion after he saw Kawasaki was ruled safe. Why should he be ultimately punished for the umpire's originally erroneous call? As CSN's Joe Stiglich argued, the A's had a legitimate reason to be upset:
At any rate, Gray gets out of inning w/only the one run scoring. #Athletics have a legit gripe on this one.— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) July 4, 2014
It's not every day you see a team turn to an official protest. Rule 4.19, which can be found in its entirety here, fully explains the details of a protest, although here's the major takeaway:
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 team’s chances of winning the game.
Essentially, if the league deems the umpire's ruling as the wrong one and the A's lose by a run or the game goes to extra innings, things are going to get a little dicey.
That's still very far in the future, though, and a lot has to happen before we get the unprecedented result of having to replay the game.
Either way, while video replay has improved the final accuracy of many close calls, this is another reminder that it can't fix every problem. And in some cases, it can even make things worse.