Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Joe Maddon's Untimely Challenge Costs Cubs

Chicago lost its shutout bid against Seattle Tuesday when Cubs Manager Joe Maddon failed to file a timely challenge to HP Umpire Mike Estabrook's 8th inning time play ruling that Mariners runner Dee Gordon scored prior to a third out as Braden Bishop was tagged off of second base.

This much-requested analysis has multiple moving parts, so we'll begin with an umpiring discussion for time plays followed by an overview and application of the relevant rules regarding Replay Review.

The Play: With two out and two on (R1, R2), Mariners batter Daniel Vogelbach hit a 1-1 fastball from Cubs pitcher Kyle Ryan on a line drive to left field. As baserunner R2 Dee Gordon approached home plate, Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber threw to second baseman Ben Zobrist as Mariners runner R1 Braden Bishop slid back into second base.

The Call: 2B Umpire Paul Emmel ruled Bishop out at second while HP Umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that Gordon scored a run prior to the final out of the inning.

Estabrook puts himself in position to see.
Umpiring a Time Play: Estabrook puts himself in great position to see this time play: he lines himself up to see Gordon's base touch at home plate as well as the tag play at second base. Unfortunately, the tag—because it is a throw from left field, behind the runner—occurs on the outfield side of the base, which makes it a very difficult call for the plate umpire, who is blocked out by the runner's body.

This is where, perhaps, our second base umpire can help out by pointing to the tag as soon as it occurs, but prior to actually calling the run out. A simple point allows an umpire to keep his/her timing since it's not an actual out/safe call—a point doesn't run the risk of looking foolish if the ball is subsequently dropped, for instance. Otherwise, this is a tough get for the plate umpire.

Fortunately, we have replay...

Untimely challenges are to be denied.
Replay Review: If a manager disagrees with an umpire's replay-eligible ruling, said manager "must notify an Umpire that the Club is contemplating challenging the play in less than ten (10) seconds after the conclusion of the play. If a Manager wishes to invoke his challenge he must do so within thirty (30) seconds after the conclusion of the play or prior to the commencement of the next play, whichever occurs first. This time limit applies to all plays in the game, including plays that end an inning and plays that end the game."

If a Manager takes too long to decide whether to challenge, the umpire shall deny the manager's request to review the play: anything past 30 seconds is considered late.
Related PostReplay Clock Crackdown - Ted Barrett Denies Bochy Review (4/2/19).

But What About a Double-Challenge? When two managers may challenge two different aspects of the same play (e.g., Scott Servais challenged the out call at second base while Joe Maddon considered the run scores call at home plate), the second challenge (in this case, Maddon's) must be made before the Crew Chief talks to the Replay Official via headset. The one and only exception is if a call is overturned, which was not the case here. This rule has been in place since 2014.
Related PostMLB Releases Replay Review Regulations for 2014 Season (3/31/14).

Because Maddon failed to challenge within 30 seconds of the conclusion of play and failed to make contact with the umpires prior to Crew Chief Emmel speaking with the Replay Official (he first spoke with Ryan Blakney after Emmel signaled the runner out following the Replay Review, and spoke with Bruce Dreckman following that), his challenge was denied for tardiness and the play at home plate was not reviewed.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Why Umpires Denied Cubs Manager Joe Maddon's Replay Request (CCS)


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