Gibbons issues first challenge; umpires confirm call
After one minute and 20 seconds, ruling on Cabrera groundout in ninth stands
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was unsuccessful in his first official challenge under Major League Baseball's new replay system.
Gibbons came out to argue a call at first base during the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 4-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. Melky Cabrera had been ruled out on a close play and following a brief exchange with first-base umpire Jim Wolf, Gibbons decided to challenge the ruling.
The umpires then converged to take a look at the replays and following an official delay of one minute and 20 seconds, the call was confirmed.
"To be honest, I don't know that I necessarily like it, but you have to use it," Gibbons said of the replay system. "You figure it's the ninth inning, first base, might as well use it while you got it."
Each team is given one challenge per game. If the challenge is successful, the club keeps its challenge and can use it again later on. If the team is unsuccessful, then it loses its challenges but umpires are permitted to review a call on their own from the seventh inning on.
In this case, the Blue Jays had a challenge remaining and decided the play at first base was close enough to argue and force the review. Cabrera initially took issue with the call, but replays would later show that he was out by about half a step.
"If you've got a challenge in your pocket, you can do that," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "But I think the umpires are highly amenable in the latter part of the game -- seventh, eighth, ninth. They're about getting it right themselves. I think they've been proven to make some pretty good calls in the first couple days of the season."
Another disputed call came during the seventh inning when Toronto's Colby Rasmus hit a towering fly ball down the right-field line. The ball was ruled foul, but Gibbons came out to talk with the umpires about the decision.
Under the current MLB rules, disputed home runs can't be challenged, but they can be reviewed under the discretion of the umpiring crew. In this particular case, the umpires decided to take a closer look.
The call came into question because there's a foul-pole marker that hangs off C-Ring catwalk at Tropicana Field. That particular C-Ring is located well in front of the wall and foul pole that's attached to the ground, so from the Blue Jays' perspective, they thought it gave the illusion of being fair.
The umpires looked at the play for three minutes and 34 seconds before eventually deciding to uphold the call.
"That yellow strip that's hanging down off the rafter up there," Gibbons said. "It went inside there a pretty good distance, but it was hooking so much. They were looking at it awhile, so it was probably fairly close."