Chase Utley’s late slide at second base fueled a night of anger and confusion…
As I woke up on Sunday morning, I still found myself in the same daze and stupor that I was in from the 7th inning on during last night’s game in Los Angeles.
Everyone knows the story by now.
Chase Utley slid extraordinarily late and out of the way of the second base bag into Ruben Tejada, breaking up a potential double play which led to the game being tied, and controversy to ensue.
The umpires on the field deemed that it was not an intentionally late slide or the neighborhood play and the replay umpires in New York rule that despite not touching second base that Utley was safe on replay review, but Tejada’s season run also ended as he suffered from a broken leg.
Fortunately for Tejada, he should be ok in a few months and should not require surgery as of now, a source has said.
I wasn’t just incredibly confused last night, I was angry.
I still am.
To anyone who says what Utley did was an “old school,” “hard-nosed,” clean slide, that’s just not a fair conclusion to draw.
His actions, even though he states he did not intend to injure Tejada, were indefensible.
His slide was late, intentional and dirty, and he and his team absolutely should not have been rewarded as a result because of it.
In fact, this rule specifically suggests the Mets should have been awarded an inning-ending double play, which would have kept the Dodgers off the board and preserved the Mets slim 2-1 lead heading into the 8th inning:
If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.
That’s pretty clear. The issue, obviously was the judgment on the part of the second base umpire.
And, that judgment was clearly incorrect.
This play was called incorrectly by the umpire on the field, and it continues to incense me as well as members of this fanbase and this organization alike.
David Wright, after giving a long, hard stare into the Dodgers dugout after the play, was seen animatedly talking to the umpires between innings after the play occurred.
Not only that, but immediately following the game, GM Sandy Alderson was reportedly angrily pacing the hallways near the umpires room.
It’s incredible, really. With all of their equipment, catchers are now protected more than anyone else in the sport after the rule change two years ago. One simply cannot barrel into a catcher at home plate anymore, so why can a player still do what Utley did to an unprotected infielder at second base?
Sure, this is baseball, but a deliberate charge and a late slide being permitted simply doesn’t make sense.
None of what happened on Saturday night makes much sense, though. Like Wright, I along with millions of people are asking the same questions on Sunday afternoon.
How was it not a late slide?
How was it not the neighborhood play?
Why should Utley be rewarded after not touching second base and leaving the field of play? W
hy should the Mets have to tag him after he had already been ruled out?
Unfortunately for me and many other people, these are questions that will never properly be answered.
All anyone knows now is that it happened. The Mets lost the game and their shortstop, and have zero to show for it. They’ll now ask a player in Matt Reynolds–a guy who hasn’t played in five weeks and has never played in the big leagues at that–to play a role for them while asking Wilmer Flores to take over once again as the starting shortstop.
It’s not fair to the Mets.
And nothing is going to change any of this.