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The Kansas City Royals said Monday they had filed...

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals said Monday they had filed a protest with the American League office because the club thinks umpires misinterpreted rules in the nullification of a ninth-inning home run by George Brett against the New York Yankees.

New York Manager Billy Martin protested to home-plate umpire Tim McClelland that the pine tar on the Kansas City third baseman's bat exceeded the 18-inch limitation as dictated in the baseball rulebook.

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McClelland, after conferring with crew chief Joe Brinkman, agreed and called Brett out. The Yankees thus walked off with a 4-3 victory.

UPI learned that the Royals are basing their protest on rule 4.23 of the American League Regulations entitled 'Doctored Bats.'

'Official playing rule 6.06(d) prohibits the use of 'doctored' bats,' the rule states. 'The use of pine tar in itself shall not be considered doctoring the bat. The 18-inch rule pertaining to the use of pine tar still applies but violation of the 18-inch rule will not be cause for ejection or suspension.'

The Royalsargued that pine tar 'is obvious by its exclusion' in rule 6.06(d) and that there is no provision in rule 1.10(b) -- which McClelland cited -- that calls for ejection of a player or nullification of a hit resulting from the use of a bat that exceeds the 18-inch pine tar stipulation.

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