Like many of you, I watched Game 2 of the NLDS Saturday night between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the bottom of the 7th and with Dodger runners at first and third trailing by a run at 2-1, Ruben Tejada fielded a ground ball and went to tag second base to get Chase Utley out as he was forced to the base. With one out, the Mets defense attempted to get a double play, meaning Utley had pretty much no choice but to try and trip up Tejada as he threw to first to record two outs on the same play.
Utley instead missed the bag and submarined Tejada’s legs, braking one of them. As a result, it was originally thought that the Mets registered a single out, causing the runner at third base to score, tying the game at 2-2. Replays would later reveal that Tejada couldn’t have recorded the out at second, even though Utley never touched second base on his slide. With everybody safe and no outs recorded on the play, the Dodgers rallied that inning and held on for a 5-2 win to even the series at one game each in the best-of-five game series to see which team can win three games before the other.
With the two biggest media markets in the US covering the series, reaction to Utley’s slide that broke Tejada’s leg has been spirited. Legendary manager Joe Torre, now in charge of discipline for the league, suspended Utley for the next two games for the hard slide. Utley and the Dodgers quickly appealed, meaning he’ll be on the roster and available for the third game of the series.
The game had a lot of hype, but proved to be an anticlimax as the hometown Mets easily routed the Dodgers, breaking a team record for most runs in a postseason game in a 13-7 blowout in a game not as close as the final score would lead you to believe.
As for Chase Utley, the New York media will berate him for now, but I don’t think anyone on the Mets will bean him. If there’s any payback, it will take place sometime during the 2016 campaign. He did what 95% of MLB players would have done in the same situation: he played hard, to aid his team by potentially sacrificing his body. I’m sure most Met players would do likewise in that situation where a run would tie the game if a double play was broken up. An errant knee could have hit Chase in the head on such an aggressive side, concussing him and/or knocking him out of the game too.
Baseball is a game at times that doesn’t reward or foster sportsmanship, and sometimes hard feelings can erupt over these plays that blur the lines. Ask Pete Rose and Bud Harrelson during the 1973 NLCS and their famous brawl. It’s October, and in this month, teams play to win by any means necessary. It’s just the nature of the game, and even though Mets fans want blood, they should ease off.
Was it dirty? I think so. I’m just saying in that situation it’s easy to get carried away with the moment. The two-game suspension is fair under the circumstances, and I don’t have any problem with it.