What the f*ck is the MLB doing? They’re basically suspending Dodgers’ second baseman Chase Utley for games 3 and 4 because Mets’ second baseman Ruben Tejada broke his leg on the “slide” in the above video. It would be one thing if they actually had provisions against take-out slides on double play attempts, but for some reason they don’t because the MLB always needs something to happen before they can do anything ever. Remember, it took Buster Posey breaking his leg on a home plate collision for the MLB to banish those from the game and now we will almost undoubtedly see legislation against “Chase Utley slides” into second.
However, the MLB has already decided to bring down the hammer against Chase Utley based on Rule 5.09(a)(13). For those who don’t memorize the MLB rule book, this rule declares a runner out if he “intentionally interfere[s]with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball.” It also includes this explanation of it:
The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.
Oh, how noble MLB. Upholding the timeless document that is the MLB rulebook….that’s truly honorable. Good thing your umpires took forever to review the play on Saturday and ruled him SAFE even though Utley never actually touched second base (nor did Tejada). This is literally what Mets pitcher Bartolo Colon looked like when that replay review started:
There have been a wide variety of opinions on whether this was a “dirty” play or “part of the game.” Let’s get this out of the way. This was f*cking dirty. I don’t think you can decide to slide any later than Chase Utley did…..if he had then it would have been a straight-up tackle. The fact that Utley never touched second base until AFTER he ran back onto the field after being ruled out tells you all you need to know on whether the slide was “in the vicinity” of second base. The dude never touched second base…..therefore he went out of his way to break up the double play attempt. That seems pretty simple to me. The play itself deserves to be punished through a suspension. However, the MLB is unable to be proactive so they have no basis on which to suspend him!
I don’t blame Chase Utley, though. His intention was not to hurt Ruben Tejada, but to just make sure he did not turn that double play which he obviously did. He would have been ripped apart by everybody had he not gone in hard and Tejada had turned the crucial double play. Did he break an unwritten rule of baseball by sliding in really, really late? Absolutely…but it’s an UNWRITTEN RULE! How can MLB suspend him for violating an unwritten rule? MLB should suspend Yasiel Puig the next time he does a bat flip then. That’s an unwritten rule too. It appears Utley did violate rule 5.09(a)(13) (and never actually touched second base) so the umps f*cked up BIG TIME by not ruling him out and the MLB is now suspending Utley for violating a rule that has been violated thousands of times without punishment.
What the MLB should have done is quickly create the “Ruben Tejada” rule that “suspends any player that breaks another players’ leg on a play at second base in the playoffs on national TV regardless of intent.” That way they would have at least had some basis to suspend Utley. As ridiculous as that sounds, (and it’s pretty ridiculous) that would’ve have honestly been better then what they did.
But wait, there’s more! Utley probably will be available for Games 3 and 4! Here’s what CBS Sports baseball writer Jon Heyman tweeted:
mlb wants utley hearing today (before game 3). union wants time to prepare. cba mandates appeals be within 14 days.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 12, 2015
utley appeal appears unlikely to be heard before game 3 (or probably even game 4). union feels they need time to prepare. — Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 12, 2015
Excellent. So Chase Utley is probably going to end up playing anyways and the MLB still looks terrible. Well done, MLB. You couldn’t have handled this any better. I can’t wait to see the response Utley gets if he comes to the plate at Citi Field.