Friday, August 3, 2012

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Playing Under Protest

Tonight's Los Angels Angels of Anaheim-Chicago White Sox game is being played under protest by the Angels filed by Manager Mike Scioscia. In the bottom of the first, with three on and none out, Paul Konerko grounded into a force out, Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo to catcher Chris Iannetta. White Sox R3 Alejandro De Aza out at home. R2 Kevin Youkilis to 3rd. R1  Adam Dunn to 2nd. BR Paul Konerko to 1st. On the throw from Iannetta at home to first baseman Albert Pujols, the ball was thrown wide, pulling Pujols off first base. Scioscia argued that Konerko was out of the 45 foot running lane to fair territory side, but Konerko was ruled safe. After arguments with 1B Umpire Paul Nauert and HP Umpire Lance Barrett and multiple umpire consultations, the call stood. Scioscia then lodged a formal protest, to which the call to the press box was made during the half inning. Crew Chief Dana DeMuth directed Barrett to note the protest on the lineup card. According to the official reasoning by the Angels for the protest, they contend that Konerko was out of the 45 foot running lane.

The Angels have 24 hours to file a follow up and full report with the league office for the protest to be considered. Judgement calls made by umpires are not calls that can be protested and be upheld by the league office. Only protests that are the result of a misapplication of a rule may be upheld. Unless the Angels' protest has more to it than the official explanation given, the protest will be denied, since whether Konerko was in or not in the running lane is a judgement call.

Update: Following the conclusion of the game, Scioscia spoke about the protest. Scioscia said, "I know we're filing it with the league and I think it's a very clear case in our favor. The umpire set the parameter and told us that Konerko was running well inside the line. All of the umpires agreed with that. The dispute was not, 'Was he running inside the box or outside the box?' They all said he was running well inside the line. He was inside the line, which makes it a virtual impossibility for him not to affect the throw from Iannetta and puts him in the lane of Iannetta trying to throw to first base very clearly. It's quite obvious. They put him there. They said he was inside the line, which puts him in jeopardy, which affects the throwing lane of our catcher. They're the ones who set those parameters. Once they set those parameters, Konerko is out."

The Angels ultimately lost the contest to the White Sox, 8-6, in ten innings on an Alex Rios walk-off home run.

Wrap: Angels at White Sox 8/3/12 
News: Angels play Friday's contest versus White Sox under protest
Opinion: Umpires Get it Right: Mike Scioscia's Angels will Lose Protest over Call vs. CWS
Video: Scioscia argues, protests game
Relevant Rules:

Official Baseball Rule 6.05 (k) states:
In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball
is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or
inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing
interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is
dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to
the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;
and OBR 6.05 (k) Comment states:
The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.
It is both a judgement call as to the location of the batter-runner and whether that batter-runner interfered with the throw of the fielder.

OBR Rule 4.19 states:
Each league shall adopt rules governing procedure for protesting a game, when a manager claims that an umpire’s decision is in violation of these 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. Even if it is held that the protested decision violated the rules, no replay of the game will be ordered unless in the opinion of theLeague President the violation adversely affected the protesting team’s chances of winning the game.
and OBR Rule 4.19 Comment states:
Whenever a manager protests a game because of alleged misapplication of the rules the protest will not be recognized unless the umpires are notified at the time the play under protest occurs and before the next pitch, play or attempted play. A protest arising on a game-ending play may be filed until 12 noon the following day with the league office.
The protest must involve a misapplication of the rules, not a judgement call and the call must have adversely affected the protesting team's chances to win the game. The protest must be made prior to the next playing action (pitch, play or attempted play).

OBR Rule 10.01(b)(3) states:
If the game is protested or suspended, the official scorer shall make a note of the exact situation at the time of the protest or suspension, including the score, the number of outs, the position of any runners, the ball-and-strike count on the batter, the lineups of both teams and the players who have been removed from the game for each team.

 and OBR Rule 10.01(b)(3) Comment states:
It is important that a suspended game resume with exactly the same situation as existed at the time of suspension. If a protested game is ordered replayed from the point of protest, the game must be resumed with exactly the situation that existed just before the
protested play.
At the time the protest was lodged, the Angels were leading 1-0 in the bottom of the 1st with one out and the bases loaded.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a frivolous protest to me. Whether Konerko was in the lane or not is a judgment call by the HP and 1B Umpires.

So even if he was out of the lane then it's no different than punching a guy out on a pitch that wasn't a strike or calling a runner safe when the ball beat him.

Anonymous said...

No video?

UmpsRule said...

I like the idea of posts for when games are played under protest. I would like to know why Scioscia wasn't ejected if he tried to protest a judgment call?

SJR said...

The protest will fail because this is a judgment call. No offense to any Angel fans, but I hope they do lose this game and file the protest. It should prove to be entertaining.

UmpsRule said...


That would be interesting. However, I'm a Tigers fan, so I'd kinda prefer for the White Sox not to be winning.

Anonymous said...

Well they lost. Let's see if they file it.

Anonymous said...

Might hold off on 'judgment' til we here the protest report. I would like to think Mike S knows the rules well enough to realize he cannot protest judgment. Maybe he felt the rule was incorrectly applied based on discussions with the crew???

UmpsRule said...

I see what you did there.

Bryan Zegers said...

@ ANON 8:13

I saw the vid and recorded it on my tivo, paused it, reported the protest on the ccs website, i could post the vid don't know how to though, i would have to recored it on my phone or camera, give it a day or two for it to be uploaded. They were arguing for like 6 min.

Anonymous said...

According to his post-game presser, Scioscia protested because three of the umpires agreed that the BR was running to the left (inside) of the line and yet did not call him out.

Russ said...

This has nothing to do with the protest, this is just an exchanging of words between the Astros and Braves. Notice which umpire is interacting with which player towards the end of the video.

Mike said...

Video of the discussion and play..

Anonymous said...

wasn't there a thing about joyce working galaraga's games after their book deal?

SJR said...

Doesn't the pro interpretation also say that the umpires must be convinced that the throw without interference would have retired the runner? Isn't this why catchers are taught to nail the runner in the back between the numbers in cases where runners lane interference is suspected? It looks like to me on the video that the result of the slide caused the catcher's throw to sail.

Anonymous said...

Haven't saw the play, but it really just boils down to if the crew really thinks he interfered with the throw. Doesn't have a lot to do with where he is running at the time.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

you all seem to mis-understand the rule. The throw has nothing to do with the interference. By interpretation the throw must be a true throw. If you read the rule, it explains that the lane is to prevent the batter from interfering with the fielder receiving the throw. This is why the throw, and not Konerko's position during, is actually the issue. It was a bad throw that pulled Pujols off the bag. If the felt had Konerko been in the lane then Pujols wouldn't have had to come off the bag to receive the ball then it would be interference.

"and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing
interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base"

Anonymous said...

This protest will be denied, not because it is a judgement call, but instead because the rule states that the runner, running outside the running lane, interferes with the first baseman's ability to catch the ball. A bad throw is a bad throw. It does not hinder the first baseman's ability to catch the ball. So if the runner is running outside his running lane the catcher had better make a true throw.

Lindsay said...

I agree. This protest will be denied primarily because Rule 6.05(k) applies not to the thrower (Iannetta), but to the fielder/receiver (Pujols). Because Pujols was not hindered by Konerko's being inside fair territory and actually did complete the catch from Iannetta, in spite of Konerko's position and regardless of the 6.05(k) exception.

I have outlined the analysis here: Umpires Get it Right: Mike Scioscia's Angels will Lose Protest over Call vs. CWS

Curt Crowley said...

Scioscia's explanation almost seems like he thinks the application of the rule is automatic. Because the runner was inside the line, he must be called out. But that ignores the second part of the rule: that the runner's positioning actually interfered with the throw. The plain language of the rule makes that a judgment call.

It is difficult to imagine circumstances where this play could be amenable to protest. Even in an "easy" case where the ball hits the runner dead between the numbers, it still involves at least some application of judgment. Even in that situation, the umpire could conceivably decide that the fielder could have made the throw without hitting the runner.

This is one of those mixed questions of law and fact, with the "fact" to be determined by the umpire. I'm curious as to why scioscia would protest, given how clear this seems to be.

Curt Crowley said...

Gil, thanks for linking the article. I understand your argument that this is rules interpretation, and not a prohibited judgment call protest. I'm not sure, however, that this situation takes the play out of the judgment call category. Considering how much this rule relies on the umpire's judgment, any review that is undertaken would necessarily require second-guessing of the umpire's judgment call: did the runner interfere or not.

Does baseball have some rule or policy that prevents the rules interpretation exception from swallowing the judgment call rule, or is it just an ad hoc determination?

Anonymous said...

I don't know why chalk is wasted marking that running lane. I have been watching baseball for 50 years and I really can't recall when all the cosmic tumblers came together so the runner was called out. About the only ones that are remembered was when the call wasn't made - the first one that jogs my memory was the 1969 World Series when a Met B/R was clearly outside the lane and was clearly hit by a true throw yet was still ruled safe. That might have been the same game when the shoe polish schtick was pulled

I'd like to see just ONE video posted where a running lane violation was called and the runner ruled out. Betcha can't find just one

ANON = LMS1953

Anonymous said...

If you look at a list of upheld protests, there are really just two rulings where protests are upheld. Back in Catfish Klem's day there were several where a team protested that an infield fly should have been called and wasn't. Ol' Bill himself got over-ruled with an upheld protest. Nowadays the crew would just claim judgment on which fly could be caught by which infielder. But back then, every pop up in the infield was expected to be called an IFF.

The other category is inclement weather and rain delays and games called.. The most bizarre upheld protest was a game between the Astros and Mets where Ed Kranepool did not return to field first base when he thought the game was over. It took them three mulligans to complete the last at bat by the Astros.

Anonymous said...

Sciosia protested that the umpires all agreed that the runner was inside the foul line, which he was, however he is not automatically out for that, it is judgement whether or not his actions of running inside the foul line actually hindered the fielder taking the throw. To tell you the truth i'm not sure whether it did or did not hinder the throw because the catcher was so far inside the line when he made the throw, it is a tough sell either way here. But this protest should not be upheld, because 6.05(k) is so laced with umpire judgement that it is nearly impossible for this not to be arguing umpire judgement.

Anonymous said...

METS @ SF on Weds. Same play, throw home for the out then Thole hit by throw from catcher Posey, while running outside the runner's lane. Double play, other runners returned to first and second bases.

MaestroBen said...

For as long as I've umpired, catchers have been taught, in this situation, to drill the out-of-the-running-lane batter-runner in the back, to force the umpires to call the interference.

I think what's really going on here is that Sciosia--the former catcher--is trying to get the definition of interference broadened so that when a catcher makes a bad throw it would still be interference.

If his catcher had done what kids are taught to do since they are 12 (or probably younger) we wouldn't be having this discussion.

UmpsRule said...


I found one:

MattAB said...

Mark Carlson tossed Cito Gaston a couple years ago, when Mark called out a Blue Jay runner on interferance. @Anon 7:45, I think it gets called more than you think, but, as has been noted, it is not an automatic call, simply because a runner is outside the lane. Incidentally, I called a 16 year old in VFW ball for this a few weeks ago, and had some dad in the stands adamant that he had never heard of this rule, so therefore I shouldn't be calling it. Which was pretty funny, as his implication was apparently that we, as umpires, should consult with the dads in the stands before we make any call. It is always a treat to listen to the dads.

Anonymous said...

Forget the Protest, it's only going to be denied. However the umpires specifically HP did miss this call. The runner, running outside the 45 lane (in this case clearly in fair) interfered with the catcher throwing to first causing a wide throw and pulling first baseman off the bag. The runner does not need to intensionally (throw hands up, get hit) interfer and really doesnt even have to make contact with ball or player but by him not running in his designated lane interferes with this play. The fact that the B1 caught the ball makes no difference in calling this interference. Did the runner cause the catcher to throw wider of first? Was the play Affected by the runners Position in fair territory?Konerko should have been ruled out originally on this play. -----Sean

Anonymous said...

Under the official rules of baseball, this call is correct. Does that mean it should be though? By this I mean a rule change be considered. To me, it appears that Iannetta double clutched his throw in an attempt to avoid hitting the runner. I'm going to use obstruction as my argument. Does the fielder have to make contact with the runner in order for their to be obstruction? The answer is no, the runner just needs to change their path because a fielder was in the way. Why shouldn't the same logic apply to a fielder making a throw where the runner is in the way because the runner is out of the base path? His ability to throw is hindered by Konerko running outside of the base path. While we cannot assume a perfect throw would have been made had Konerko been inside the base path, more than likely the throw would have been on point.

By the current rules, this protest should be denied

Zac said...

Anonymous Sean @ 12:01:

Did you not read any of the rule citations above?

- The rule has nothing to do with the catcher's throw. It is about the fielder taking the throw.

- The throw was not a quality throw, so the runner did not interfere with Pujols' ability to catch the throw.

This is not interference, and I hope you don't umpire above t-ball.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 12:46

I see your logic. Another example: the batter swings and misses and falls forward over the plate. R1 is breaking to second with the pitch and the catcher has his throw altered/interfered with by the batter. It does not matter if the runner had a great jump and would have had the base stolen. It seems the catcher is given almost all benefit of the doubt as to whether his throw was impaired, thus the offending batter is called out and the runner sent back to first. I think THAT call is what makes an ex-catcher like Sciossa want a similar call made with running lane violations. Personally I think the benefit of the doubt should go to the defense. If the runner runs in the lane, he will not be called out if the throw hits him in th middle of the back. If he runs outside the lane, he IS interfering with the throw, just like the batter who falls across the plate
ANON =LMS 1953

AERAdmin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

I still don't see how this is fair to a right handed batter anyway. For him to run from the batter's box to first base in a straight line, he runs in fair territory. For him to get into foul territory, at some point he must take an extra step or more to get into foul territory as he goes to first base.

The shortest path between two point is a straight line..

Zac said...

Mike @ 1:52:
He doesn't have to run in foul territory. As long as his left foot is on the first base line, he is okay. He only has to run there in the last 45 feet anyway. One of the disadvantages of being right-handed I guess.

There are some rules that need to be clarified or changed, but this is not one of them. It is instead a rule that most people don't understand, including Scoscia.

Anonymous said...


Kids 12 and under are usually playing under the auspices of Little League or Dixie League. If a coach in those leagues taught his catcher to "drill the B/R in the back with his throw" if the B/R is outside of the running lane, that coach should probably banned from any further coaching. The rules in that age group try to avoid incidental injury at all costs. If a coach of a 12U game came out to argue and explained that he teaches his catcher to drill the runner in the back to capture the out, he should probably be ejected from the game and a report filed with the league so it might be considered if he should be banned from coaching again. Just saying'........

UmpsRule said...

Brian Gorman just tossed Clint Hurdle.

Anonymous said...

In fairness the White Sox runner was much more interfering (running on the infield side) than Josh Thole of the Mets who got called out in a Recent game on a similar play I'd say the White Sox runner was running 1 foot more inside than Thole was
, only difference here is the Catcher didn't hit the runner with the ball and so the Umps never call interference even though I'm sure the rule book doesn't say the Runner has to be hit by the ball.

Anonymous said...

Here's the play.:

And here's the play Thole was called out on interference thole was actually closer to the line.

It's probably not in the rule books but I think the only time the Umps ever call interference
is when the catcher hits the runner with the throw.

Zac said...

Some people who post in these threads make me want to bang my head against a wall.

Lindsay said...

The batter-runner getting hit by the throw while in an illegal position (e.g., outside of the 45' lane) is nothing more and nothing less than a potential example of a batter-runner interfering with the first baseman's (or second baseman covering, etc.) opportunity to field the catcher's (or pitcher, etc.) throw. Indeed, BR getting hit with the throw may be the epitome of interfering with the receiving fielder's opportunity to make the play, yet it is just one of many possible scenarios that could result in an interference call.

Anonymous said...

all the talk of a true throw- I think I remember a discussion on another site about the HS rule being changed last year negating the need for a catchable throw in that rule set. Not germane to OBR but still interesting given the discussion.

Russ said...

Protest Denied

AERAdmin said...

So which is worse... YouTube comments or comments? I'm having trouble deciding.

LMS1953 said...

Protests are relatively rare these days but that are quite valuable. Once the ruling is made, it clears up myths/misunderstandings. We know now and forevermore that the B/R has to be outside of the running lane AND has to actually interfere with a true throw. It could be said, well, duh, just read the rule. But Mike Scioscia thought there was room for clarification and he probably has more experience with that play than any 10 of us on this site. We now have precedent and that is very helpful in a rulebook or legal context.

The next wrinkle is that the B/R is allowed out of the running lane "in proximity" to the first base bag. Presumably such proximity is a judgment call.

JPINFV said...

What concerns me about this is it basically gives F2 carte blanche to peg the batter runner, provided that BR is in fair territory. Somehow I don't imagine that this would go unpunished by the opposing team, and the sort of thing that MLB would like to... avoid.

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