Because of an opinion, the Mets and Dodgers will play Game 5 in their NLDS

Ruben Tejada, Chase Utley


BaronBaseball’s postseason always creates storylines, raises the level of intrigue and provokes deep thought and emotion from even the most novice fans.

The Mets and Dodgers series is no exception to that rule. In fact, this series has created so many storylines, so many different narratives, spins and takes from the media and fans, and has been nothing short of a see-saw affair between two storied franchises on the national stage.

But this Division Series has had the one standout moment which, to this point of the showdown, is potentially the biggest reason why there’s even a game five in Los Angeles.

Yes, it’s the collision.

But, it really isn’t the collision.

It’s the ruling on the collision. An opinion, basically.

That’s an important distinction which needs to be made in this situation.

And it’s the ruling – not the collision – which could go on to determine the outcome of this series.

First off, second base umpire Chris Guccione was the only person involved in that situation – Daniel Murphy included – who thought it wasn’t a double play.

After all, if Utley hadn’t thought it was a double play situation, perhaps he might have chosen his actions differently. As would Ruben Tejada.

And, Tejada was taken out after he had turned to the left of second base to throw to first, with what turned out to be plenty of time to get Kendrick.

Tell the players in the heat of the competition the double play is not a factor.

Ruben Tejada caneNow, it’s fair to argue that there was no way to know whether or not the Dodgers might have rallied to win in the eighth or ninth innings if Chris Guccione had properly invoked a rule Baseball’s COO Joe Torre invoked in his suspension of Chase Utley for what was an, “illegal slide” (which called for an automatic double play, in this case ending the inning with the Mets retaining a 2-1 lead).

They might very well have.

But that’s the way the Dodgers should have beaten the Mets. Through merit.

Not as a result of an opinion.

And sure, over the course of baseball history, there have been countless collisions – just like this one – which have been designed by the runner to blatantly take out the fielder with absolutely no intention of touching second base. And on most of those occasions, the rules designed to protect the infielder have been mostly ignored, forgotten, or both.

But this is the postseason. A time when seasons, careers, future free agent and arbitration dollars, and the hope and dreams of rewriting history for all clubs are on the line. It’s why ruling that judgment calls cannot be overturned for the reasons provided is too  idealistic.

Some judgment calls – especially this one when it was clear a rule had been violated – simply must be reversible for the sake of the game and the health of the players in this game.

There is no argument that the complexion of the game completely changed at that moment. It altered how Terry Collins might have used the bullpen, it prolonged an inning already marred by disaster thanks to Ruben Tejada’s broken leg, and in the heat of a playoff game, there was no question people became very distracted by what had happened.

After all, “half this game is 90 percent mental,” the late Yogi Berra once said.

And instead of starting the eighth inning with Tyler Clippard and utilizing the formula outlined to get the game to Jeurys Familia, the Mets were left picking up the pieces from an inning which never should have been.

In other words, the outcome of the game was not determined by the quality of play. It was determined through officiating.

It should come down to how well the teams play, not how well the rules are applied.

And the Mets and Dodgers are probably en route to Los Angeles right now to play on Thursday because the rules were not appropriately applied.

The Dodgers are presumably pleased to have this opportunity. Just imagine if the Mets lose this series because of an opinion, with Chase Utley involved at that.

4 Comments

It may come to be. But no other team in baseball has a history so marked with controversy. Let’s hope that we will have a positive outcome and move on to the next chapter. GO METS!

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I totally agree with you, but… I just watched the Jays get wronged by a crazy play off Choo’s bat on the catcher throw back to the pitcher. Controversial because the umpire clearly called time during the play, but the run scored anyway. Wha?!!! My point is that the Jays took care of business anyway. The Mets certainly has their chances last night against Hacher and Jansen and they came up with a big “0”. For my own sanity, I can not keep believing that this event may determine this series, although it may!

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As a coach, former player, and umpire…I loved the hard play by Utley. I failed to mention I am a dodger fan but feel as though I see the play through unbiased eyes. I also felt like Brett Lawrie was a target for his hard takeout slide earlier in the year vs the royals, which I also loved. We live in a culture where you have to remain PC at all times and players in the NFL can’t tackle too hard in tackle football. Players know the risks and it is playoff baseball, you said that yourself. You also made a point that an OPINION changed the outcome and I argue that it is your OPINION that his call was incorrect.

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You do know that the league admitted the slide was illegal by giving Utley a 2 game suspension? I have no problem with take out slides. I have a problem when you don’t start sliding until you make contact with a player, as Utley did.

I just hope no Mets fans get attacked post-game, as seems to be the norm, after we make Greinke look pedestrian tonight.

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