As a Mets fan, I was livid from the moment Chase Utley knocked over Ruben Tejada somewhere around second base Saturday night.
As a baseball fan, I was appalled how the umpires called the Dodgers’ runner safe on an appeal that the Mets’ shortstop’s toe came up a smidge short of touching the bag before Utley bowled him over so he could not relay the ball to first.
As a blogger, I can’t hold it in any longer.
Anybody who called that overly aggressive maneuver clean last night is no fan of baseball. Utley may not have meant any harm — and this I really hope is true — but his play broke the rules of baseball. You can look it up. He never touched second base. His only intent was to keep Tejada from completing that double play. Shame on you, WTBS analyst Cal Ripken Jr., for saying the play was clean after viewing replays of the savage block. My esteem for you, Hall-of-Fame shortstop, has gone down considerably.
That play allowed the Dodgers to tie the game 2-2. With the out taken off the board and Utley put back on second base — the first time he ever touched the bag, I might add — the Dodgers went on to string together several hits, score three more runs for a 5-2 victory, and even the National League Division Series at one game each.
The umpires’ judgment was horribly, terribly wrong. The rules of the game dictate that not only should Utley have been out for that non-slide slide, but the batter should have been called out as well.
That would have ended the inning right there. Top of the eighth, score tied 2-2, and who knows what would have happened.
So that’s why if I’m Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, I file a protest with Commissioner Rob Manfred right this minute, asking that the teams replay the game from that point on before game three starts.
And if Manfred knew what was right for his game, he’d make a point by ruling with the Mets and sending everybody back out there to Los Angeles or on the field in New York to get the second game right before moving on to game three. Players can’t know they’ll continue to be supported by the old boys’ network when they go into the fielder instead of the base.
But Alderson won’t, and Manfred wouldn’t. Too late and too controversial. So Ruben Tejada’s broken leg won’t be the last bad injury suffered around second base.
Oh, yeah, this umpiring crew should be suspended for the rest of the postseason for horrible judgment.
Instead, Mets pitcher for game three, Matt Harvey, will have to decide if he’s going to be part of baseball’s archaic tit-for-tat legacy of retaliation, and throw a ball at a Dodger in game three. The way things played out Saturday night, he really has no recourse in my mind. Don’t hit ’em. Just make them dance around an inside purpose pitch. That’s sad, too.
If you saw this play on TV, what did you think? Do you think baseball is leaving middle infielders’ defenseless if nobody stands up to this type of play right now? What would you do if you were connected with the Mets’ organization?