Joe Maddon (right) may have found a loophole in MLB's instant replay rule. (Steven Senne/AP)
This is your regular reminder that Rays manager Joe Maddon is a scheming evil genius. From Marc Topkin in the Tampa Bay Times:
"I think the what-ifs are almost limitless," he said. "And that's the part people don't even understand. When you open Pandora's box, it's not as cut and dried as you think."
So that's why the Rays infielders were doing a drill Wednesday where, with a runner on second and a ground ball hit, they got what theoretically was the third out of an inning at first base, but they threw home anyway to potentially get another out.
Maddon's premise? That if the call at first was reviewed and that runner was ruled safe, that continuing the play to the plate could lead to the other runner being called out to still end the inning, or at least sent back to third when the umpires decide on placement since he would have been out.
Of course, the odds of this exact scenario happening during a game have to be astronomically low. Of course, the odds of this exact scenario happening during a Rays game and creating the last out to give the Rays a win—a win that will be instrumental to them winning the AL East or a wild-card spot by a single game—have to be astronomically high, because Joe Maddon and the Rays are much smarter than all of us.
Topkin also notes that Maddon and his coaching staff are trying to find even more loopholes in the instant replay system, all of which will likely lead to dramatic Tampa wins.