DOUBLE TAKE: Was Utley way off base?

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Matt Algarin and Andrew Metz

Matt's Take:

What does it take to bring about change in Major League Baseball?

A scandal? Cheating? Corruption?

Well, in this most recent case it may just be a hard slide and a broken fibula.

During the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League Division Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets, the Dodgers Chase Utley made a hard slide into second base and the Mets Ruben Tejada was taken off the field on a cart.

The slide heard 'round the baseball world has earned Utley a two-game suspension, which he is appealing.

He won't win the appeal, but it's all about the process. MLB officials want to send a message.

We don't know Utley's motives, but it doesn't matter.

The pitchforks have been lifted and a rules change may certainly be on the way. Baseball wants to protect its players, I get it.

But there is no need to change the rules. If Tejada hadn't been injured we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Players and analysts would be lauding Utley for "playing hard" and doing what he should do to extend the play.

Baseball is a business and owners want a return on their investments, so I fully expect to see a new player protection plan enforced for next season.

I understand MLB is not the National Hockey League, but sometimes you have to let players play. Tejada's injury is unfortunate, but let the game be.

Andrew’s Take:

Chase Utley’s reputation precedes him. For that reason, I can’t understand why Ruben Tejada’s leg is broken.

Everyone knows that Utley is going after the guy turning to throw at second base. So Tejada should have been ready. That being said, Utley is blatantly in-the-wrong.

This story is so “baseball.” The guys on the field are just trying to operate within a culture of lacking leadership. And now the League is only making decisions with self-protection as their only priority, and the sun rises in the East.

On Saturday evening, as the New York Mets tried to upset the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second National League Division Series game in a row, Utley blatantly slid into Tejada. Now the Mets’ shortstop is out for the rest of the post-season.

A Major League Baseball player has never been suspended for a “hard slide” when trying to interfere with a double play. But when the whole world is watching, they decide to enforce?

The MLB reacted, because that’s all they do, when they suspended Utley for two games.

America’s Pastime is built on rules that are designed to bend, if not completely ignore. I mean, a guy with impaired peripheral vision determines the foundation of the game, balls and strikes. But the League decides to get hard, and set an example now.

There is no rule that needs changing. There is a rule that needs enforcement; but now is not the time.

The word is out, if this happens again, the runner is going to pay. But Utley should not be suspended.

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly made a huge move by sitting Utley on Monday’s night game in Flushing, NY. I know a bunch of Mets fans and there is a bounty out in Queens.

This is just like “steroids.” The MLB was happy to benefit until they looked bad.