Up 3-1 in the seventh inning of their game with the Kansas City Royals, a bang-bang play at first base led Angels manager Mike Scioscia to officially play out the remainder of the game Wednesday night under protest.
The issue at hand with the play is whether or not Raul Mondesi Jr’s path to the base — clearly, he was inside the baseline — obstructed Angels pitcher Matt Shoemaker’s ability to throw him out after his sacrifice bunt.
First off, the tradition of protest in baseball is one of the more odd ones in sports. According to baseball rule 4.19, a manager can protest when he believes there has been an error made by an umpire during the course of a game. But he must formally register his protest with the umpires and the game resumes only to be decided officially by the league office following the result. So no taking your ball and going home like you did when you were a kid.
However, one important aspect to note, and it is important in the case of this play, is that ‘judgement’ calls are exempt from protest rulings. From the official baseball rules:
No protest shall ever be permitted on judgment decisions by the umpire. In all protested games, the decision of the League President shall be final.
So it looks like Scioscia and the Angels might be out of luck on this one. In the history of baseball, it has been very rare that a protest has been successful — the ‘pine tar incident’ with George Brett is one of the few execptions.
After the play, the Royals would go on to break the game open and the Angels could not recover losing 7-5. But on a happier note, it was Modesi’s first hit as a Major League player. Congrats to him.