Cleat Geeks

Utley Suspended by MLB

utleyslide1Was Utley’s slide dirty? Do the Met’s have the right to be upset? Should Utley be suspended for upending and consequently breaking the leg of Ruben Tejada?

“I recognize that there has been much commentary and many questions regarding the unfortunate play in last night’s game in which Ruben Tejada was injured,” Torre said in a release. “As I said after the game, the determination of whether a baserunner has intentionally interfered with a player attempting to turn a double play is left to the judgment of the Umpire on the field, and that judgment call is not subject to review. I should add that determining where to draw the line between an illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our Umpires.

“However, after thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a)(13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.

Dodgers infielder Chase Utley was suspended for Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-five National League Division Series by MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre for his takeout slide that broke the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejeda in Game 2 Saturday night.

Utley will appeal the discipline, according to his agent, Joel Wolfe. The decision will be held in abeyance until the appeal process is completed, which reportedly will be before the start of Game 3. If enforced, the Dodgers would play one player short with a 24-man roster.

Wolfe, Utley’s agent, was quick to announce an appeal and denounce the discipline.

“A two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable,” said Wolfe. “Chase did what all players are taught to do in this situation – break up the double play. We routinely see plays at second base similar to this one that have not resulted in suspensions. Chase feels terrible about Ruben Tejada’s injury and everyone who knows him knows that he would never intentionally hurt anybody. We will be appealing this suspension immediately.”nlds-dodgers-mets-baseball

The Mets issued this statement:

“The New York Mets completely support the decision made by Major League Baseball to suspend Chase Utley for two games and feel this was the appropriate course of action. With this decision behind us, the team and our fans can now focus on playing winning baseball.”

Coincidentally, the last time a Dodgers player was suspended in the postseason was reliever Jay Howell, who was suspended for three days after being found to have pine tar on his glove during Game 3 of the 1988 National League Championship Series against the Mets. The suspension was reduced to two days after his appeal.

Now that you have all the facts and the suspensions and the statements, let’s answer the questions from above.

  1. Was Utley’s slide dirty? Yes. It was dirty. He slid late, he never came in contact with the bag, yet he did come in contact with Tejada before he hit the ground.
  2. Do the Met’s have the right to be upset? They do, but most importantly, they have to keep those emotions in check. No matter how bad Matt Harvey wants to redeem himself for some of his other problems this week, he can not get thrown out of this game. They need him to give them a chance to win.
  3. Should Utley be suspended for upending and consequently breaking the leg of Ruben Tejada? I would say no. Baseball has a way of policing itself. And, I really disaggree with the rule that the Dodgers can not replace Utley on the roster. A team can bring someone up from the minors if a person is suspended during the regular season, why does the rule change in the post season?

 

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