Gibbons tossed after Blue Jays lose challenge
Out call on Valencia at home stands following replay
TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was ejected from Thursday night's 12-6 loss to the Red Sox following a disputed call at home plate that led to some confusion at Rogers Centre.
The play happened in the bottom of the fifth inning when Danny Valencia was attempting to score on a single to center with Toronto trailing, 8-4. Valencia made a wide slide and tried to swipe the plate with his left hand but was called out by home-plate umpire Gerry Davis.
Even though Valencia was called out, Red Sox left-hander Wade Miley began screaming at catcher Ryan Hanigan to tag Valencia. He did, and Gibbons quickly ran out of the Blue Jays' dugout to use his challenge.
Replays later confirmed that Hanigan initially was unable to apply the tag. What couldn't be determined was whether Valencia made contact with the plate during his slide. According to an example given in Section V of the official MLB replay rules, that doesn't necessarily matter:
Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Section F or elsewhere in these Regulations, in accordance with Official Baseball Rule 8.02(c) (formerly Rule 9.02(c)), when reviewing a play at home plate, if the Replay Official determines both that the runner did not touch home plate and that the fielder did not tag the runner (or, in the case of a force play, did not touch home plate), the Replay Official shall rule the runner "safe" at home plate unless the defensive Manager appeals the failure of the runner to touch home plate prior to the Crew Chief making contact with the Replay Official.
Example: A runner attempts to score on a play at the plate. The catcher misses the tag on the runner, and the runner fails to touch home plate, but the umpire calls a tag and the runner "out." The offensive manager challenges the call, and the Replay Official determines that the catcher missed the tag. The Replay Official shall disregard the failure of the runner to touch home plate, declare the runner "safe" and score the run."
But even that isn't the full story. There is also an exception made that allows the defending manager to appeal the inability of the runner to touch home plate prior to the crew chief making contact with the replay official. That didn't appear to happen in this case, but the umpiring crew believed an appeal had been made when Hanigan applied the tag well after Valencia was called out.
"When the runner misses the plate and there's no tag, if the umpire makes a call, if the catcher appeals it before going to the headset, the call becomes out, which is what [Hanigan] did," Davis told a pool reporter. "That's basically it in a nutshell."
Miley wasn't aware that he was yelling for an official appeal at the time, but in the end that appears to have been what happened.
"I didn't see Davis put the fist up either," Miley said. "I thought he saw him not touch home either. But apparently he had already called him out, but I still wanted to make sure [Hanigan] touched him. I was late getting back there so I was right on top of it."
Gibbons was upset about more than just the out call. He also felt that Valencia should have been called safe because Hanigan's left leg was blocking the plate before he received the ball.
Toronto's manager is a former Major League catcher and has spoken up many times before about how he believes blocking the plate is a strong and smart baseball play. It's also illegal following a recent rule change (Rule 7.13), so even though Gibbons believes in blocking the plate, he was fighting against it in this particular case.
"The catcher didn't actually have the ball in his hand when he threw his foot out there," Gibbons said. "I agree with everything [Hanigan] did because that's the way you play that position, but the way the rules are now, they eliminated that.
"But I also understand the umpires on the field have nothing to do with it once it leaves the field, so they just do what they're told. It's a good crew, that's just the way it goes."