Q: Has the outcome of a Major League Baseball game played under protest ever changed? If not, why is there even such a process other than as a way to express disappointment, such as what happened in the Braves’ National League Wild Card game against the Cardinals?
—Greg B. Gates, Atlanta
A: Several protests have been upheld on the major-league level, but none since June 16, 1986, when a game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals was called too soon because of rain. The league determined the umpires didn’t wait the required amount of time to call the game and it was resumed two days later. The most famous protest to be upheld was the legendary Pine Tar Incident between the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees on July 24, 1983. George Brett hit a home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Royals a 5-4 lead that originally was not allowed by the umpires because pine tar covered too much of his bat. The American League office ruled the umpires’ decision was not within the “spirit of the rules” and the game would be resumed from the point after Brett’s home run. The Royals wound up winning the game when it was completed nearly a month later. MLB Rule 4.19 states that a manager can file a protest when he thinks an “umpire’s decision is in violation of these rules.” Protests are not upheld on judgment decisions, which is what was ruled in the Braves’ protest in their 6-3 wild card loss to the Cardinals on Oct. 5.
Andy Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or email firstname.lastname@example.org (include name, phone and city).
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