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There was a long delay. A long review. And a long walk to the clubhouse.
First, there was the rain, a typical Floridian evening thunderstorm that pushed back first pitch by more than 2½ hours.
Then came the review, a second-inning fielder’s choice that required exactly 10 minutes and two separate trips to the headset by the umpires to straighten out.
With Blue Jays runners at first and second in what was still a scoreless game, the Angels (6-3) tried turning a double play on a grounder to first. But after Angels shortstop José Iglesias received the ball at second, he was contacted by trailing baserunner Jonathan Davis’ wide slide, causing his throw back to first to sail into foul territory.
As Santiago Espinal, who began the play at second, came around to score, Angels players immediately appealed for obstruction against Davis. The Blue Jays dugout, however, asked the umpires to check if Iglesias had come off of second base early, before he had possession of the ball.
The umpires went to the headsets to converse with MLB’s video replay officials in New York. After almost five minutes — a delay that Angels manager Joe Maddon was told was caused by poor sound quality on the headsets — the umpires indicated that Iglesias had indeed not been on the bag when he caught the ball, negating the lead out.
Maddon then countered, asking the umpires to check if Davis’ slide was legal. They went back to the headsets for another several minutes before confirming it was. According to MLB’s rules, a runner must make a “bona fide slide” in such situations. And though Davis’ sideways slide impacted Iglesias, he still was able to reach second base with his hand.
Postgame, Iglesias agreed that the slide was legal and Maddon called it a “good baseball play” — even though he said he’d seen “more egregious” examples in the past get called back.
“He was able to grab the bag, but where he hit into Iglesias was far out,” Maddon said, later adding that he isn’t a huge fan of the rule: “The fact that I can even dispute it, I’ve never liked that.”
Either way, instead of a potential double play where no one scored, Iglesias was charged with two errors (for missing the bag and for his errant throw) and the Blue Jays had runners at first and second with no outs and a one-run lead.
“At that point, it did turn some things around,” Maddon said. “It gave them some momentum.”
Indeed, the Blue Jays (4-5) exploded after that. Angels starter José Quintana quickly came unraveled, permitting five of the next seven batters to reach base in what became a seven-run inning (only five were earned). He was then relieved by Jaime Barria, who was also ineffective in a 1 2/3-inning, seven-run outing.
The replay drama wasn’t over either.
After the Angels lost a different challenge the next half-inning, Maddon was ejected for arguing with the umpires over a review he felt was too short .
“I thought it deserved better scrutiny,” Maddon added. “I don’t like expeditiousness for its own sake. When everything’s got to be quick, quick, quick, I just want it to be right. Maybe it was, I don’t know. But it just happened too quickly. And that’s what I was upset about.”
To get back to the clubhouse — which at TD Ballpark, the spring training stadium currently hosting the Blue Jays regular season games because of travel restrictions to Canada, isn’t directly connected to the dugout — he embarked on a long, slow walk to the exit tunnel, some 100 feet up the third base line.
About two hours later, after an Anthony Rendon solo home run represented the Angels’ only scoring, the rest of the team trudged off the field too, having suffered their first lopsided defeat of the young season.
“That’s the kind of game, when it’s all said and done,” Maddon said, “I’m fine with throwing it to the nearest trash can.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.