It happens once every 28 years or so in baseball, but officially protesting the outcome of a game can pay off.
The Giants filed a protest with MLB following Tuesday’s 2-0 loss at Wrigley Field. The game was called after 4.5 innings following a 15-minute rainstorm during which the groundskeepers couldn’t probably cover the field with a tarp. The soaked field (with standing water) was deemed unplayable, and following a four-hour delay, umpires decided to call the game.
Being deprived of four innings to make a comeback didn’t sit well with the Giants, who are fighting for a postseason bid. San Francisco was 4.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West entering Wednesday’s play and was tied with the Braves for the league’s second wild-card spot. Every win is meaningful for them at this point.
Teams file protests every so often because of a blown call, perceived chicanery by an opponent or other such circumstance that goes beyond scoring runs and preventing them. Yet those protests never seem to go anywhere, as MLB just shrugs its shoulders (or looks carefully at the rules) and says, “Yeah, whatever.”
But sometimes, a protest pays off. And for the Giants, this is one of those times.
MLB announced on Wednesday that the Giants’ protest is being upheld and Tuesday’s game will now be resumed on Thursday in the bottom of the fourth inning, the point at which the game was suspended. The resumed game will be played at 4 p.m. CT, with Thursday’s originally scheduled game beginning at 7:05 p.m. CT.
Joe Torre, MLB vice president of baseball operations, issued a statement that said “an examination of the circumstances of last night’s game has led to the determination that there was sufficient cause to believe that there was a ‘malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club’ within the meaning of Official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3).”
The league office determined that the Cubs didn’t roll up the tarp properly after the last time it was used, preventing the groundskeepers from unspooling it when the rainstorm hit on Tuesday night.
MLB also spoke to crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt, asking him if he thought the Cubs botched the tarp rollout intentionally. That could have resulted in a forfeit. But the failed effort was viewed as a legitimate attempt by the umpiring crew. Thus, the game became a suspended one that still needs to be completed.
The Giants’ protest is the first upheld by MLB since 1986, when the Pirates officially disputed umpires calling a game in the sixth inning before waiting the required 30 minutes. Trailing 4-1, Pittsburgh was allowed to resume that game with the Cardinals two days later and eventually lost, 4-2.
Obviously, San Francisco is hoping for a more positive outcome. With a playoff bid on the line, at least the team will get a chance for a comeback.