LOS ANGELES, October 12, 2015 — Chase Utley did something that players are taught to do. Chase Utley did something that players do all the time. Chase Utley broke up a double play by sliding into Ruben Tejada, who was trying to turn the double play instead of the base. What happened after, is something that does happen from time to time, but not all the often.
Tejada was injured with a broken leg and will miss the rest of the year. The umpires had a meeting and the play was ruled fair.
The problem though is that Mets fans, like San Francisco Giants fans a couple years back with Buster Posey, started complaining that a common baseball play injured their player, despite the plethora of footage showing Mets players doing the exact same thing in previous games, but the images of Mets players were even further from the base than Utley.
Major League Baseball had a chance to squash this and simultaneously reassure the umpires that MLB has faith in their judgments.
Unfortunately, it appears that MLB and Joe Torre have gone a different route. They sided with the emotional fans of New York and handed Utley a two-game suspension. Does this go a bit deeper than just siding with emotional fans and talking up player safety? Did Major League Baseball ask themselves, “How can we use this incident to increase ratings for Monday’s playoff game to rival Monday Night Football?”
Game 3 of the Dodgers – Mets National League Division Series had a start time that was to be determined. The two teams have yet to play the customary playoff day game in this series, and the final two games already have set evening start times. Yesterday, it was determined that the game would be played at night. This will be the only division series without a day game. Today really should have been the day game for this series.
Utley expectedly appealed the decision and created a new wave of speculation on whether the appeal would be heard and ruled on prior to the start of Monday night’s game. Where is the drama if it becomes a non-story before they even play the game on Monday night?
Word now, according first to the Los Angeles Times, is that the suspension will not be heard today, which makes Utley eligible to play tonight for the Dodgers. The fact that Utley has fared better over his career against Matt Harvey, guarantees Utley will start tonight. Harvey has alluded to possibly taking revenge on Utley or another Dodger player in the form have a purpose pitch. And that, folks, is drama that even the best Hollywood screenwriters couldn’t have written any better.
Utley’s suspension will likely be overturned and this will all amount to nothing in a few days, but it sure makes for great press, right?