MILWAUKEE -- Because it was something he had never experienced during any of his previous seven seasons as a Major League manager, Fredi Gonzalez said it felt like he was on the field for at least 10 minutes when he challenged first-base umpire Greg Gibson's call during the sixth inning of Monday's Opening Day loss to the Brewers.
But once he had time to review the sequence of events, Gonzalez learned that just one minute and 38 seconds elapsed from the end of the disputed play until the umpiring crew overturned the call after the play had been reviewed by an umpire in Major League Baseball's Replay Operations Center.
The decision to reverse Gibson's original ruling that Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun beat third baseman Chris Johnson's throw to first base proved to be historical. It will forever stand as the first call overturned through the use of MLB's expanded replay system, which was first utilized on Monday.
"It worked exactly the way they wanted it to work," Gonzalez said. "It just didn't feel like baseball. It felt weird. When you come out of the dugout, you're looking to protect your players, you're looking to yell at the umpire or get into a confrontation. But that never even occurred. [Gibson and I] were like two civil guys talking."
As he briefly conversed with Gibson in front of the first-base bag, Gonzalez stalled long enough for his replay coordinator Horacio Ramirez to review the play in the clubhouse and then quickly inform bench coach Carlos Tosca that the play should be challenged.
Gonzalez found it comical that some fans and at least one of his own players were confused when the challenge was issued after Tosca provided a thumb-down sign that was caught by television cameras. While a thumb-up sign might have seemed more appropriate, Gonzalez said all that mattered was that he and Tosca were on the same page.
"Does it matter what he does?" Gonzalez said. "It's something we came up with. It could have been take your hat off or whatever. That's something we came up with. It's nothing. It's just a sign."