The San Francisco Giants on Wednesday became the first team since 1986 to win a protest filed with Major League Baseball, and will now get to resume a rain-shortened game the Chicago Cubs thought they had won.
MLB executive Joe Torre ruled on Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field that was called after 4 1/2 innings. The Cubs were declared the winners by a 2-0 score.
Now it is, instead, a suspended game that will resume Thursday with the Cubs batting in the bottom of the fifth. The playoff-contending Giants and Chicago have a regularly scheduled game set to begin three hours later.
A short rainstorm caused a delay of more than 4 1/2 hours Tuesday after the grounds crew couldn't put the tarp down quickly. The umpires said the field was unplayable and called it at 1:16 a.m. local time.
MLB ruled that tarp had not been properly put away after its previous use. Therefore, under provisions of Official Baseball Rule 4.12 (a) (3) there a "malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club."
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer called it a "just" decision.
"The last thing you want is a playoff team feeling bitter about the result here and, obviously, it was caused by our organization," Hoyer said. "It's a good outcome.
"Hopefully, we win the game. We have a 2-0 lead and pick it up from there."
'Careful review of our protest'
Hoyer said the Cubs had hoped all along to play a complete game on Tuesday night, and that the Wrigley Field grounds crew and the umpires were caught off-guard by a "weird weather pattern" and a lack of advance warning of the localized downpour.
That resulted in the field "wetter than usual," according to Hoyer, who added there was no rain at his house, located 12 blocks away from Wrigley Field.
Giants president Larry Baer said in a statement: "We appreciate Major League Baseball's careful review of our protest that will allow last night's game to be continued tomorrow."
"We want to thank commissioner Bud Selig, commissioner-elect Rob Manfred, executive vice-president for baseball operations Joe Torre and the Chicago Cubs organization for their cooperation throughout this process," he said.
'Inability to deploy the tarp'
The last time a team won a protest filed with MLB was June 16, 1986, when St. Louis played at Pittsburgh. There were two rain delays at Three Rivers Stadium, and the Pirates correctly contended those didn't meet the National League's 30-minute threshold for cancellation.
MLB said in its statement that after watching video of the trouble at Wrigley Field and talking to Cubs' representatives, "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 grounds keeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened," MLB said.
MLB said it talked with umpire crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt and that grounds crew worked hard to comply with his direction to get the field covered.