Until they finished off a 4-2 victory over Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday night, the Cubs informed the umpires they were playing under protest following the decision to continue play after some Wrigley Field lights had gone out in the sixth inning.
With the Cubs leading 2-1 and Kris Bryant batting in the sixth with one out, banks of stadium lights flickered with some remaining out.
The umpires allowed the game to continue uninterrupted until Maddon emerged form the dugout for several lengthy discussions, first about waiting for the lights, then about whether he could protest – the issue eventually involving stadium operations executive Carl Rice and head groundskeeper Roger Baird.
“I didn’t like the idea that we had to play against a guy that’s really, really, really, really, really. really, really good,” Maddon said. “You have to see spin, you’ve got to be able to read everything. I did not like the fact that we had to go out and play without all the lights on. Just be a little more patient and wait for the lights. That was my argument.”
Said umpire crew chief Jerry Meals: “We felt that we would be able to continue playing, that it was sufficient lighting. Out of the six banks, none were out. There were scattered lights out, and the information I got from Roger with the Cubs was that the lights are going to come on slowly, sporadically, one at a time here or there. Once they warm up, they’ll continue coning on and probably within 15 minutes they’d all be on.”
Of course, that leaves the darkest part of that process during the time the Cubs’ middle of the order was facing Kershaw.
“[Maddo] felt that it was insufficient lighting, and that his hitters would be at a distinct disadvantage against Clayton Kershaw,” said Meals, who later had a very brief discussion with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. “I said, `You have a problem with the lighting?’ And he said, `No.’ “
When Maddon emerged from the dugout a second time to discuss the protest, Kershaw seemed to get upset, talking to other umpires and gesturing with both arms.
“I just wanted them to say, `Hey, get off the field,’ or, `Hey, the game’s going to start,’ “ he said. “Standing around for 10 minutes, my legs are getting heavy, so I just wanted an answer. … I don’t know if Joe was trying to do that on purpose or what. It didn’t really affect me, but it was a good idea.”
Maddon on Kershaw: “I would have argued, too.”