MLB upholds SF Giants protest of game v Cubs due to tarp, rain delay issues. Last game suspended at Wrigley was July 1987 due to darkness
"Major League Baseball, in a rare decision, upheld the San Francisco Giants' protest Tuesday night over their rain-shortened loss against the Chicago Cubs, and ruled that the game be resumed Thursday afternoon at Wrigley Field.
It was the first time a protest was upheld involving a game in 28 years.
Major League Baseball ruled that the Cubs were negligent Tuesday putting a tarp in place after a 15-minute rain shower ended the game after four and a half innings, with the Cubs declared winners, 2-0, after a four-hour, 34-minute delay.
"An examination of the circumstances of last night's game has led to the determination that there was sufficient cause to believe that there was a 'malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club' within the meaning of Official Baseball Rule 4.12(a)(3)," MLB said in its ruling.
"Available video of the incident, and conversations with representatives of the Cubs, demonstrate that the Cubs' inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use.
"As a result, the groundskeeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened. In accordance with Rule 4.12(a)(3), the game should be considered a suspended game that must be completed at a future date.''
The game now will resume play at 5:05 p.m. EDT Thursday with the Cubs batting in the bottom of the fifth inning. They also have a scheduled night game at 8:05.
The Giants also asked for the Cubs' 2-0 victory in the rain-shortened game to be forfeited, which was denied.
"Major League Baseball has spoken with last night's crew chief, Hunter Wendelstedt, and has concluded that the grounds crew worked diligently in its attempt to comply with his direction and cover the field,'' MLB said. "Thus, there is no basis for the game to be forfeited by the Cubs pursuant to Rule 4.16.''
The Giants, battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, were livid Tuesday night that the Cubs were initially declared winners, and filed the protest.
"I hope they listen and watch how what happened there,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters Tuesday night, "because in this day and time it shouldn't happen, can't happen, I think, with the importance of these games. I'm going to leave it at that. …
"It was a 15-minute rain there, and they couldn't get the tarp on in time. I just think with this day and time, something should have been done a little bit more."
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer agreed with Bochy after the game, saying: "No one wants to win a 2-0 game. They hit five times, we hit four. It doesn't seem like a real game in a pennant race, and obviously there were issues with the tarp coming out and how that went and contributed to it, and that's the organization's responsibility.
"So we tried to wait as long as we possibly could because the Giants are in a pennant race, and because we felt an obligation to do that."
Cubs president Theo Epstein said Tuesday night that the field was unplayable, and the game could not be deemed suspended because of rules governing tarp malfunction issues.
"Had it been an automatic tarp malfunction, that would have been grounds for a suspended game," Epstein said. "The fact that it was a manual tarp, we had issues covering the field, the rules don't allow for a suspended game. We tried every way possible for the sake of fairness and equity to get to the point of a suspended game and allow the teams to play nine (Wednesday), but the rules don't provide for that.''
MLB, however, had different ideas, and the game was the first one suspended at Wrigley Field since July 10, 1987.
The game was called because of darkness between the Cubs and Dodgers and concluded the following day.
The time a team prevailed in the protest of a game was June 16, 1986, when the Pittsburgh Pirates protested that their game against the St. Louis Cardinals ended prematurely, with the Cardinals leading 4-1. The Pirates won the protest when MLB determined that home-plate umpire John Kibler didn't provided sufficient time during the rain delay when he called the game. The game resumed two days later, and the Cardinals still won, 4-2." (video at link)
8/19/14, "Cubs game delayed at Wrigley after tarp issues," Chicago Tribune, Mark Gonzales, with photos
EARLIER: Giants protest loss in Chicago
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