June 20, 2020

Toronto Manager Trades Out for Run, then A’s Protest Game

quirky replay rule is exposed

Toronto Manager Trades Out for Run, then A’s Protest Game

It isn’t often that the manager of the offensive team will argue and request a replay challenge for the purpose of adding an out to his team while they are at bat. But thanks to the age of video replay and knowledge of the force out rule, former Toronto manager John Gibbons did that on July 3, 2014, in Oakland where the A’s hosted the Blue Jays.

In the top of the second inning, the Jays had Edwin Encarnacion on third, Adam Lind on second and Munenori Kawasaki on first when Anthony Gose hit a ground ball to A’s first baseman Nate Freiman. The A’s first sacker attempted to tag Kawasaki, who was running to second. First base umpire Vic Carapazza made no call. Freiman then threw home to catcher Stephen Vogt who stepped on the plate for the apparent force out on Encarnacion. Plate umpire Chad Fairchild made the out call.



At this point Jays skipper John Gibbons came out and argued that Kawasaki was tagged by Freiman and because of that the force was removed and Encarnacion should score because he wasn’t tagged. “Gibby,” wanted to trade the out for the run.

The umpires led by crew chief Bill Miller huddled and decided to check with the Replay. It was confirmed that Freiman tagged Kawasaki and therefore Encarnacion should score because the force was removed when Kawasaki was tagged.

A’s manager Bob Melvin protested the game but since the A’s won 4-1, the protest was never heard.

Full MLB Video here:

You only need to watch the first minute. There is much dead time before the umpires get the replay decision and score the run.

Ruleball Comment

I have seen managers trade an out for a run on catcher interference calls. But Gibbons cleverly used the rulebook and the video replay to buy his team a run.

Melvin had a legitimate argument as well. Most likely Vogt did not tag Encarnacion because he thought the force was still in effect since Carapazza made no out call on Kawasaki. Melvin’s best argument is that the crews have a right under 8:02(c) to “take all steps that they may deem necessary, in their discretion, to eliminate the results and consequences of the earlier call that they are reversing, including placing runners where they think those runners would have been after the play, had the ultimate call been made as the initial call.” Therefore, you would assume that the umpires could have ruled Encarnacion out as well as Kawasaki.

Section IV of the Replay Review Policy reads, “ If the Replay Official determines that an incorrect call on the field had no effect on the subsequent behavior or conduct of the offensive or defensive players, the Replay Official shall change the incorrect call, but let stand any on-field calls or plays unaffected by the incorrect call. The Replay Official may not declare a runner out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play subject to replay review.

In the above play, the Replay Official determined that there was an incorrect call when Carapazza failed to call Kawasaki out. Yet NYC ignores Vogt’s “behavior” (failing to tag Encarnacion) as a result of the incorrect call. But by the Replay Review policy the Replay Official cannot call Encarnacion out because he “may not declare a runner (Encarnacion) out based on a play the umpire believes would have occurred subsequent to the play (Kawasaki tag) subject to replay review.”

In my opinion, the policy set forth in Section IV of the Replay Review policy is flawed. It makes no provision to cover the play under discussion and leaves the catcher unprotected in the above play. It also appears that Rule 8.02 (c) and the Replay policy are in conflict of each other.

If umpires are allowed to place runners at a base they would have made had the call been correct (i.e. trapped balls) then why shouldn’t umpires be empowered to call a runner out if they judge he would have been out if the correct call was made on the other end of the play? I think there’s a dichotomy here that MLB should explore.

Umpire error should not adversely affect offensive or defensive players.

In my opinion, if the umpires judged that Vogt could have easily tagged out Encarnacion if he knew the force was removed, then the A’s should have been credited with a double play and Encarnacion’s run should be negated. But that would not conform to the current Replay Review policy.

If the philosophy of MLB is to get the call the call right, Sec. 4 of the Replay Review policy needs to be revisited.

I think the runner in that situation should be handled like any other runner award when umpires place the runners at a base they would have made had the correct call been made.  The primary difference here is the tag. NYC would have to be sure the catcher would be able to make the tag. But because of the “no call” at first base, it places the catcher in a non-tag position away from the runner.

Because the A’s won the game, Melvin’s protest was never heard which is unfortunate. It would be interesting to see how the heads at MLB would have ruled since both managers had legitimate arguments.

In my opinion, all protests should be reviewed and ruled on regardless who wins the game. By doing so, MLB would now have a case study that can be used as precedent for such future rulings and possible adjustments to the Official Baseball Rules and the Replay Review policy.


Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant:  Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, D’backs, Dodgers, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, the FOX Regional Sports Networks, ESPN, YES, and White Sox TV

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