Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MiLB Rookie Ball Forfeit Overturned on Upheld Protest

MiLB Ogden Raptors' forfeit was overturned on a protest upheld by the Pioneer League Wednesday. After a 47-minute rain delay before first pitch, Tuesday night's Raptors-Rockies game continued uninterrupted until the 7th inning, whereupon the Raptors, leading 4-2 against first-place Grand Junction, argued that the field was unfit for further play due to rain throughout the evening. The umpires disagreed and deemed the field playable.

McDowell pleads with 1B Umpire Jordan Johnson.
HP Umpire Andy Stukel ejected Raptors Pitching Coach Greg Sabat for arguing the decision to continue playing while Raptors Manager Jack McDowell elected to keep his team from taking the field after the seventh-inning stretch. Following a 15-minute delay caused by Ogden's refusal to assume its defensive positions, UIC Stukel forfeited the contest in favor of Grand Junction by the score of 9 to 0, for Ogden's violation of Rule 4.17, which states, "A game shall be forfeited to the opposing team when a team is unable or refuses to place nine players on the field." Rule 4.15(c) provides similar basis for forfeit wherein a team abandons its effort to continue play or  "refuses to continue play during a game unless the game has been suspended or terminated by the umpire-in-chief."

In affirming Ogden's protest, the Pioneer League applied Rule 4.12(a)(3), which states that a game shall become suspended and must be completed at a future date due to, "Light failure or malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club. (Mechanical field device shall include automatic tarpaulin or water removal equipment.)" This was the same basis for Major League Baseball's decision last week to uphold its first protest in 28 years.

However, Rule 4.01(e) states that once a game has commenced (defined as the point in time when the lineup cards are exchanged and handed to the plate umpire), "the umpire-in- chief shall have sole authority to determine when a game shall be called, suspended or resumed on account of weather or the condition of the playing field."

Box Score: Ogden Raptors vs. Grand Junction Rockies (MiLB Rookie Pioneer League), 8/26/14


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