MLB denies protest by Indians

Updated: May 2, 2007, 7:05 PM ET
Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- Even though their protest was thrown out, the Cleveland Indians figure it was worth all the effort to complain.

Major League Baseball disagreed with the club's argument that umpires should not have added a run three innings after it was initially waved off in Saturday's 7-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

The run, which scored on a sacrifice fly in the third inning before the Indians could turn a double play, was later added in the sixth inning -- a ruling that left players, coaches, managers and everyone at Jacobs Field scratching their heads.

MLB chief operating officer Bob DuPuy decided Wednesday that because the umpires' mistake did not involve a judgment call, and because there is nothing in the Official Baseball Rules to address when umpires can make a correction, the umps can act at their own discretion.

Baseball released a statement saying, "Mindful of their obligation that `the first requisite is to get decisions correctly,' as the Rules instruct them, this umpire crew was within the authority that Rule 9.01 (c) gave them to correct the game score when they did."

The core of the Indians' dispute was that the run should not have been added retroactively.

"We sympathize with their challenge, however, obviously we're very disappointed with the result," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We felt, and still do feel, that we had a very strong, solid, well-presented case. I understand that a ruling in our favor would have opened up quite a bit of opposition and challenges, but we feel ruling the way they did leaves some ambiguity going forward."

The Orioles led 2-1 in the third and had runners on first and third with one out when 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 double up Miguel Tejada for an inning-ending double play. However, Baltimore's Nick Markakis tagged up at third and scored well before Tejada was ruled out.

The run should have counted, but it was waved off by plate umpire Marvin Hudson and the inning ended with the Orioles up 2-1, not 3-1.

None of Baltimore's players or coaches complained immediately. It wasn't until the fourth inning when bench coach Tom Trebelhorn brought it to the umpires' attention that the run came under dispute.

Then, in the sixth, crew chief Ed Montague remarkably added a run for the Orioles, giving them a 3-2 lead. Indians manager Eric Wedge protested the game, arguing the run can't be counted later.

Montague later admitted the crew had made an error in not counting the run.

Shapiro said he was stunned by the scoring change.

"I had (longtime Indians adviser) Johnny Goryl in my suite with me," Shapiro said. "He has 50 years on the field, and in 50 years he had never seen a run retroactively added to the score."

Shapiro wasn't bothered by the umpires missing the call, but how they fixed it.

"My concern was not with the umpire error, that's an understandable thing," he said. "The game is a human game. Players make errors. We all know GMs make quite a few errors and umpires make errors. It wasn't the human error that I was concerned with. It was the retroactive adding of the run."

The controversial call was the latest bizarre event for the Indians this season. The club has had four games postponed by snow, moved an entire home series to Milwaukee and won a game with one hit.

Shapiro said he and his staff devoted "a lot of time and energy" to the protest, and with no other appeals at their disposal, have decided to turn their attention elsewhere.

"We respect the decision but we're going to move forward," he said. "We've had quite a few challenges already this year, that game was one more. We're not going to dwell on it, but it's safe to say we're disappointed with the outcome."

Shapiro said he plans to have the call reviewed at the GM meetings next offseason.

"We'll put this on the agenda this year in hopes that we can close a situation like this and prevent it from happening again," he said.

Wedge also disagreed with the decision, but chose not to comment on its specifics.

Toronto's John Gibbons said the only positive is that others will learn from the unusual play.

"I guarantee you everyone will know that rule from now on," he said. "The next time that happens, they'll know what to do."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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