ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The Cardinals and Reds played baseball for three hours and fifteen minutes Thursday night, but it was the 30 seconds after the winning (or was it?) run crossed the plate that determined the final.
With Matt Carpenter on first and two outs in a 3-3 game, Yadier Molina belted a double to the track in left field. The ball bounced once and caromed off the signage behind the wall, bouncing off the blue MOLottery.com advertisement and back into play.
Adam Duvall scooped it up and threw home, too late to catch Carpenter. The Cardinals erupted in celebration on the field, but several Reds remained at their post, awaiting a challenge that would strangely never be granted.
Cincinnati correctly believed the ball to be a ground rule double, as the the advertisements beyond the wall are not considered in play. Were the ball ruled dead, Carpenter would have been sent back to third and the game would have remained tied. Unfortunately for the Reds, it was never even looked at.
Reviews following the end of a game are treated differently than those in the earlier innings. Normally, managers and umpires observe the 10/30 rule. Managers must demonstrate an intent to challenge within 10 seconds of the play (think all the times you see the manager come out to the top step of the dugout and flag the umps) and make a decision to do so within 30 seconds.
However, according to Replay Review Rule II-D-3: “Opposing manager must make it clear to umpires they wish to review immediately at the conclusion of the game.”
“End of game it’s immediate. There is not a 10 second, 30 second (limit). They have told me it is immediate. It is an immediate challenge,” crew chief Bill Miller told an MLB pool reporter. “In this situation Bryan Price did not come up on the top step. We stayed there. I waited for my partners to come off the field. I looked into the dugout, the Cincinnati dugout, and Bryan Price made no eye contact with me whatsoever, and then after 30 seconds he finally realized, somebody must have told him what had happened, and we were walking off the field.”
Price told the story of that 30 seconds to Reds beat writers afterward, explaining the crowd noise drowned out the frantic calls from the Reds’ replay team
Price said #reds dugout could not hear their phone ring from video guys to alert them to challenge— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) September 30, 2016
By time someone ran down tunnel and told Price, he was too late when he found umpires #reds— Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) September 30, 2016
By the time Price knew what had happened, Miller and his crew were in the tunnels beneath Busch. He went after them, running through the green seats behind the plate and through the entrance that leads to the umpires’ room.
“I did talk to Bryan in the tunnel. And I told him exactly what I told you,” Miller said. “He has to say that he is at least looking at it (shortly) after the end of the game.”
Miller admitted the umpires missed that the ball hit the signage, and eventually went back and looked at the play and confirmed it should have been a ground rule double. Price appeared to believe he was entitled to ten seconds to decide to challenge and he was close enough to that window that, under normal circumstances, he may have been afforded a second look. Unfortunately for the Reds, he was well past the time limit.
“Trust me we’re here to get things right. That’s why we have replay. Unfortunately in this situation we all have obligations to follow,” Miller said. “If Bryan Price would have come onto the field and gotten us before we walked off, it was still too late.”
So the Cardinals won game 159, riding Molina’s two-RBI night and the generosity of the Missouri Lottery to an elating and somewhat confusing finish. When it counts, as they say, you’d rather be lucky than good.
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