Make them play it again, 2-2, with the Dodgers out in the seventh

Chase Utley collides with Ruben Tejada in the seventh inning Saturday night. (Getty Images)

Chase Utley collides with Ruben Tejada in the seventh inning Saturday night. (Getty Images)

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?

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29 thoughts on “Make them play it again, 2-2, with the Dodgers out in the seventh

  1. Sorry Mark you’re coming off like a whiny Met fan. Utley’s hand went right over the base. That was a huge part of ruling a clean slide. Instead you should focus on the piss poor throw to Tejada and Tejada’s insane attempt to even think about attempting to turn a double play. Secondly once the umpire called Utley out there was no reason to attempt to touch the base. Be happy your Metsies split on Kershaw and Greinke. You clearly have the advantage with Harvey and possibly Melville’s own Matz going forward.

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    • Utley was nowhere near the base. It’s my blog, I can whine if I want to. 🙂 Murphy’s throw was poor. I agree. Yet I still don’t think it was a clean slide after seeing many replays. I am happy the Mets are where they are. But I wish they’d protect the middle infielders in general better by not allowing plays like this. It’s baseball, not tackle football.

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  2. Make that eye doctor appointment in the morning Mark. Look at the pics Utley’s head almost went right over the bag. And I never said you couldn’t whine just pointed out you’re acting like a whiny Mets fan. Cal played the game. I’m OK with his interpretation. And I’m even rooting for your Mets. Here is just one pic from USA Today http://www.gannett-cdn.com/-mm-/b1ce219769bda3b690eb349af639d5e3f8b493e6/c=197-0-3279-2317&r=x404&c=534×401/local/-/media/2015/10/11/USATODAY/USATODAY/635801204594239790-USATSI-8853758.jpg

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  3. Ugh. Wish I had some clever comment, Mark. Utley was a much loved and respected Phillie, but that was ugly, hard to watch, as was the MLB analysis that followed. He was known to disrupt the double play, but without injuries to the fielder. There will be repercussions, sooner than later I think. Sad, all around.

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  4. I didn’t see the play (oddly enough, I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the postseason), but judging just by the picture you posted, there’s no way the umps are gonna call Utley out for interference on that play. You have to be egregiously away from the bag for that play to get called. What I’m curious about is you say Utley was originally called out, but the call was somehow overruled to safe. If that was on replay, “neighborhood plays” where middle infielders don’t have to actually touch the bag to get the out are not supposed to be reviewable for this very reason. If it was overturned some other way… how and why?

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    • It was overturned because the umps ruled that Murphy’s throw was the reason Tejada was off the bag, Bill, negating the neighborhood rule. I still think the slide was at the fielder directly, with the base as an afterthought, which is directly against the rules. Even if it’s never called.

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      • I’m sure you are exactly right about Utley’s intentions, however, it is never called unless the runner is so far from the bag they had no hope of touching it.

        We had a play end a Cards/D’backs game this year where the bases were loaded with one out in the bottom of the 9th inning, game tied, and the batter hit a ground ball to the first baseman. He threw home to get the force, then the catcher (the inexperienced Jordan Pacheco, normally a third baseman) took only one step in front of the plate before throwing to first. Mistake. Peter Bourjos was the runner from third, and he made a great takeout slide just like Utley’s… definitely at the catcher and not at the plate (though still close enough not to get an interference call), and it caused Pacheco’s throw to go over the first baseman’s head. Runner from second scores, game over. While the Diamondbacks manager came out to argue (he had to at least for appearances), even he admitted after the game that it was a clean play that’s just a part of the game and the catcher should have done a better job of getting clear of home plate before throwing. Like it or not, that’s how that play gets called… and it explains Ripken’s stance on it being someone who was on the bad end of that situation many times in his career.

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      • Time to put some teeth in how they call these plays despite the hard-nosed history. My opinion, Bill. They even put a rule in about catchers and slides at home, the Buster Posey Rule is how it’s ridiculed by the hard-liners, as I recall.

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      • Ha, I had just come back here because I just read that Utley’s been suspended for the next two games by MLB, who apparently wasn’t happy with his slide.

        I’m not a huge fan of the Posey Rule, mainly because it’s turned plays at home into a huge unknown zone of what the runner and catcher are actually allowed to do. Getting takeout slides out of the game is a lot less likely because the primary issue with home plate collisions was catchers getting concussions… which aren’t as likely an outcome with takeout slides…

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      • Yes, baseball hierarchy is now stating that the ruling on the field was wrong by suspending Utley.

        I agree, it’s up-in-the-air around home plate now, but I like them making the game safer.

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  5. How is his slide different that the guys who slide way to the side of homeplate and just touch the base (Home plate) with their hand. It’s not. You need that eye doctor appointment Mark his whole forearm went right across the bag.

    Good luck to your Metsies tomorrow.

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