The Oakland Athletics decided not to file a formal protest of a controversial obstruction call in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game in Angel Stadium, meaning the Angels’ 4-3, 10-inning victory will stand.
General Manager Billy Beane, assistant GM David Forst and Manager Bob Melvin spoke Friday morning, and the team agreed that as a judgment call, obstruction can’t be protested. Only an incorrect application of the rules can be protested.
“After further consideration, as well as conversations with the commissioner’s office, the A’s have decided to drop the protest from last night’s game,” the team said in a statement. “We have determined that, as stated after the game by the crew chief, Gerry Davis, the call in question was a judgment call and not worthy of pursuing further.”
With the score tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the ninth, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off with a chopper that bounced high off the plate and down the first-base line.
Oakland reliever Dan Otero fielded the ball and collided with first baseman Brandon Moss a split-second before Aybar crashed into Otero and fell to the ground.
Otero applied the tag to Aybar and held onto the ball, but home-plate umpire Greg Gibson ruled that Moss had obstructed Aybar and awarded the Angels shortstop first base.
“He had nowhere to go,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said of Aybar. “The fielder has a right to get the ball, but he doesn’t have the right to block the runner’s path.”
Moss and the Athletics contended that Aybar was not in the baseline when he collided with Otero and that the runner should have been out.
According to baseball’s rule book, obstruction occurs when “a fielder who, while not in possession of the ball and not in the act of fielding the ball, impedes the progress of any runner.” Otero had the ball in his glove when Aybar collided with him.
The Angels went on to load the bases with one out in the ninth but didn’t score. They won in the 10th inning on Howie Kendrick’s walk-off sacrifice fly, pushing their American League West lead over the A’s to two games.