|Mistake at the Jake: Indians protest after umps blow call|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 29 April 2007 13:40|
We're not even out of April, and it's already been a weird season at the corner of Ontario and Carnegie.
The Cleveland Indians have had four games at the Jake postponed by a freakish April snowstorm, forcing the club to move a three-game ``home'' series to Milwaukee. Also, the team won its oft-delayed opener with just one hit - a first-inning double - to become the first squad since 1952 to win a game with their only hit coming in their first at-bat.
The wackiest event, though, happened Saturday night when umpires awarded a run to the Baltimore Orioles - three innings after initially waving it off.
Indians reliever Roberto Hernandez, who broke into the major leagues in 1986, thought he had seen it all.
``Never saw anything like it,'' the 42-year-old pitcher said Sunday. ``Of course, I never had four games snowed out or played home games in another city, either. And we've only got 140 more games to go this year.''
The latest weirdness began innocently enough. Here's a recap:
The Orioles had just taken a 2-1 lead in the third on Miguel Tejada's RBI single. With one out, Nick Markakis on third base and Tejada at first, Ramon Hernandez hit a sinking liner to center field.
Cleveland's Grady Sizemore made a diving catch, popped up and threw to first in time to get Tejada for an inning-ending double play. Markakis, however, tagged up and scored well before Tejada was out at first.
Here's where it gets interesting.
Baltimore's run should have counted, but it was disallowed by plate umpire Marvin Hudson and the inning ended with the Orioles up 2-1, not 3-1.
Hernandez had a feeling something was wrong.
``In the bullpen, I said, 'That run counts,' then I didn't see it go on the board,'' he said. ``Everybody had a different opinion at the time and you start thinking that you don't know the rules or that they changed a rule. I was confused for four innings.''
Over in Baltimore's dugout, only bench coach Tom Trebelhorn detected a problem.
``The more I thought about it, the more I said, 'Son of a gun, that's an appeal play, that's not a double play,''' said Trebelhorn, who took up his case with the umpires before the start of the fourth. ``Markakis was well across home plate before they made the appeal at first base to retire Tejada. By rule, the run counts in black and white.''
Fast forward three innings:
Veteran umpire Ed Montague calls scorekeeper Chad Broski and tells him to add a run for the Orioles, giving them a 3-2 lead. Indians manager Eric Wedges protests the game, arguing that the run can't be counted later.
``I don't blame Eric for protesting the call since it was our screw up,'' Montague said. ``But we can't take away a run on my screw up. Eric was great about it. He understood, but he had to protest.''
On Sunday, the Indians prepared paperwork to submit to Major League Baseball, which will rule on their protest.
``We are filing a formal protest, supported by video and statements to uphold our beliefs,'' general manager Mark Shapiro said. ``Our point of view is not that a mistake was made, but that the score was changed retroactively, after baseball had been played.''
Shapiro's biggest gripe was the delay between calls.
``Umpires decisions are changed all the time, but right then and there, not three innings later,'' he said. ``A home run call, a trap play, a team protests and a decision is made. We believe the Orioles missed their chance at the time and the umpires missed their chance, too, to overturn the call.
``You can't change things innings later, after strategy has been employed. After a pitch has been made, that's it.''
Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo doesn't think the Indians have much of an argument.
``I'm not sure why (the Indians are protesting),'' he said. ``The rule is the run counts. The umpires got it right. We scored some more runs and finished the game. I think it's kind of a moot point now.''
Depending on baseball's ruling, the game could be replayed from the third inning or the protest might be thrown out and the Orioles' win will stand.
Either way, Indians closer Joe Borowski isn't confident the protest will stick.
``I'd like to think they'll go back to that point and replay it,'' Borowski said. ``They probably will come up with some reason why they won't, though.''