Jeff Samardzija thought he was safe at first. Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria and the folks monitoring replays for his team thought so too. So it was the Cubs who called for the first official challenge under baseball's new replay rules. And, typical of their reputation, it was the Cubs who lost the first challenge in MLB history.
At least losing is something they're accustomed to.
Samardzija, the Cubs' starting pitcher and a former college wide receiver, bunted back to the pitcher during the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Francisco Liriano fielded the bunt and threw to third base for a force out, then Pedro Alvarez threw across the diamond trying to finish the double play at first.
Samardzija signaled that he was safe as he crossed first base, but first base umpire Bob Davidson called him out. Renteria came out and eventually called for the play to be reviewed at the $30 million MLB review compound in New York City. The umps in NYC agreed with Davidson, and upheld the call.
As such, the Cubs lost their challenge for the game. Had they got it right, the Cubs would have retained the right to challenge again. Worth a note: under the new rules, umpires can initiate reviews themselves after the seventh inning, so a team isn't necessarily out of luck once it loses its challenge.
Reviewing the play took a minute and 40 seconds — from the time the broadcasting crew said there was a challenge to when the umpires confirmed the call on the field. Major League Baseball hopes that the reviews will happen in 60-90 seconds eventually.
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