Most Yankees fans didn't have high expectations for Clarke Schmidt's rubber game start in Cleveland against the Guardians, but nobody expected the umpires to take things into their own hands to put blemishes on his pitching line.
With runners at second and third and one out in the bottom of the first, Josh Naylor looped a two-strike liner to center field.
At first blush, Aaron Hicks appeared to make an incredible catch, looping the ball into second base to double off the runner (before Steven Kwan scored) to end the inning. Terry Francona didn't challenge. Inning over.
Then, for whatever reason, the umpires decided to completely ignore MLB's newly-installed rules around the timing of challenges. 15 seconds, no challenge? Tough luck; your window's closed.
Unless you're the gritty, scrappy Guardians and the league loves your spunk, apparently. After the (incorrect) call was shown on the video board, MLB's umpiring crew decided to give Francona, their best friend, a break. Aaron Boone was rightly livid. This is absolute anarchy.
Yankees lose Aaron Hicks double play because umpires felt like it
And they didn't even give Schmidt any warmup pitches after his entire day was changed on an umpire's whim!
Yes, the point is to get the call right. And yes, the umpires did, in fact, get the call right (anyone shocked that Hicks dropped the ball?). But MLB's rules were changed around this offseason to prevent managers from getting a lengthy look before deciding to challenge. This umpiring crew decided to give Francona a break because they felt bad about the botched call? Because the crowd saw it all on the video monitor? Give us a break.
Aaron Boone got ejected as soon as the umpires and Francona finished their nice little chat, but even following his ejection, he went out for Rounds 3 and 4 to get the full explanation.
No explanation was sufficient. The umpires broke the rules. They had no excuses.
Completely unshockingly, Schmidt retired the next batter, then gave up a two-out, run-scoring single to increase Cleveland's lead to 2-0.
Play this game under protest. Considering Rob Manfred made the challenge rule a point of focus this offseason, this might be the rare protest an MLB team actually wins.
Nope. You're right. Clearly, the league decided to give the edge to the Guardians here.