Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was livid and openly contemptuous about Major League Baseball's new rules that ban players from making dangerous slides in an attempt to break up plays on the basepaths.
Toronto rightfielder Jose Bautista was just plain dumbfounded that he had been been judged in violation of the new policy. The ruling essentially swiped a potential victory from the Blue Jays grasp here Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.
It was a bizarre ending to a crazy night of baseball that concluded with two Toronto runs being taken off the scoreboard in the top of the ninth inning that allowed the Tampa Bay Rays to escape with a 3-2 victory.
"I guess we'll come out wearing dresses tomorrow, maybe that's what everybody's looking for," Gibbons muttered afterward from the visiting team's manager's office, a comment that is also sure to stir up emotions in other quarters.
"That was a joke," the manager said a bit earlier. "That cost us a chance to win a Major League game. You're going to end a game like that?
"Clearly an embarrassment. Baseball's been a hard-nosed game. He [Bautista] gets down in plenty of time, he going into the bag. There's really no explanation for it.
"Wins matter in this business. And for that to come out like that, I don't get it."
Kevin Cash, the Tampa Bay manager, had a somewhat different take on the ruling and the outcome.
"I love it," he said of the new runner-interference rule. "The rule is put in to protect players and keep them safe. We saw what took place last year in the playoffs. It is what it is.
"We are happy we won but can understand the frustration on the other side."
The controversial play in question came about after the Blue jays loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth with Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion at the plate and Tampa Bay clinging to a one-run lead.
Encarnacion hit a chopper down the left side to Tampa third baseman Evan Longoria, who relayed to second baseman Logan Forsythe to easily get Bautista, who was running from first.
With Bautista bearing in on him around the bag at second, Forsythe made an awkward throw to first for the attempted double play, but the ball skipped away from Steve Pearce.
Two Toronto runs crossed the plate on the error, leaving the Blue Jays with a joyous turn of events, now leading 4-3.
It was shortlived.
The Rays asked the umpires to review the play. They complied and after a 90-second delay the replay official determined that Bautista's slide had hindered and impeded the efforts of Forsythe.
As a result, both Bautista and Encarnacion were ruled out, the runs were disallowed and the Rays were celebrating an unlikely win while the Blue Jays were steaming.
The new policies governing baserunning were implemented this season, a change that stemmed from a play in last year's National League Division Series when a Chase Utley slide broke Ruben Tejada's leg.
Under the new policy, designated Rule 6.01(j), a baserunner cannot change his path to initiate contact or engage in what is known as a "roll block" to engage contact with the defensive player.
While Bautista's slide appeared relatively clean, he did alter his path while crossing the bag and initiated what best could be described as mild contact with Forsythe.
"But that's good baseball," Gibbons said. "That's been baseball forever. Maybe they want him to run and get out of the way, I don't know."
Bautista was also left perplexed by the ruling.
"I didn't think it was illegal to make contact let alone when it was something so subtle, so soft," Bautista said.
He said there was certainly no intent to injury another player.
"I felt like I respected the rule," Bautista said. "I feel like it was absolutely a clean slide. It's just disappointing and somewhat embarrassing towards a Major League Baseball game. There's so much at stake every single day here. We put a lot of hard work, dedication, all our lives.
"We grew up playing the game a certain way since we're little kids and all of a sudden to have everything taken away by that is just, I don't know, it's just strange."