Maddon, Rizzo rip instant replay following disputed HR call

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo thought he had a third leadoff home run in as many games, but instant replay and the umpiring crew had other ideas.

Rizzo hit a towering shot down the right-field line off Pittsburgh Pirates starter Trevor Williams to open Friday night’s game. The ball was initially called fair by first base umpire Clint Fagan before the umpires gathered for a meeting and changed the call on the field to foul. This issued a crew chief video review and the replay center deemed that the call stood, but was not confirmed. Because the umpire’s call on the field was foul, that call was upheld.

“You have basically neutered instant replay by the way it was handled tonight,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN. “If it had been confirmed foul, I’m fine. But the play stood. So in other words, if we had gone right to replay immediately after it was hit, and they said it was foul, I would have been in the game for nine innings.”

Maddon was ejected for arguing the call, and Rizzo was spotted shouting obscenities from the dugout but remained in the game.

Later on in the fourth inning, Pirates outfielder Gregory Polanco hit a ball almost in the exact location as Rizzo’s. The ball was ruled foul, though the umpires opted to review the play and the call was eventually confirmed. That process further added to Rizzo’s frustration.

“I wish the call was confirmed,” Rizzo said. “The guy made the call, then they’re going to gather? Then they don’t gather for Polanco’s? That’s kind of bulls—, in my opinion.”

The home run would have been Rizzo’s third straight to start a game since Maddon moved him into the leadoff role. The Cubs would still score three runs in the inning en route to a 9-5 win.

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