Going After Utley A Bad Idea

The dumbest thing the Mets can do during their four-game series against the Dodgers – starting tonight in LA – is to go after Chase Utley with a beanball. Whether it be at his head, ribs, butt or knee, there’s no reason to start something that has already been finished.

It wouldn’t be smart even if Ruben Tejada was still on the Mets. He’s not, so what’s the purpose.

UTLEY-TEJADA: Let's move on. (AP)

UTLEY-TEJADA: Let’s move on. (AP)

MLB overreacted last October during the playoffs, which was substantiated when the suspension was dropped on appeal.

We can debate all we want on whether it was a dirty play. I’m saying it wasn’t,┬ábecause: 1) Daniel Murphy did not make a good throw; 2) Tejada turned into the path of the runner, and 3) Utley was within close proximity of the bag, at least according to the rules in place. (See photo).

Also, it has always been an umpire’s discretion to eject a player if he deemed the play dirty. This did not happen and MLB behavior czar Joe Torre came down with the suspension to avoid Mets fans going ballistic when the NLDS moved to New York.

Was it aggressive? Yes. Was it dirty? Debateable. Is it worth it for the Mets to retaliate and possibly get a player injured or suspended? No.

The issue will be brought up tonight and I’m betting the over/under on the times SNY shows the play to be at least 12. That would be three times per game.

Suppose Steven Matz, or Matt Harvey, or Noah Syndergaard hit Utley and a brawl ensued. Why risk one of them being injured to prove a questionable point in protecting a player no longer on the team?

And, pitchers aren’t the only ones you could be injured. Cal Ripken nearly had his consecutive games streak snapped when the Orioles were involved in a brawl with Seattle. As it was, Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina took a few bruises.

Of course, it would be fascinating to see Yoenis Cespedes against Yassiel Puig in a WWE cage death match event. But, I digress.

The Dodgers aren’t playing good right now, so why wake them up? It could only hurt the Mets in the long run. Plus, the Mets and Dodgers could meet again in the playoffs. Why give the Dodgers ammunition to use in the future?

I felt bad Tejada didn’t get to play in the World Series. and that was his last play as a Met. However, the Mets didn’t think highly enough about him to keep him on the roster. Tejada is gone, demoted to a trivia question in Mets lore.

It’s over and time to move on.

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10 thoughts on “Going After Utley A Bad Idea

  1. Great Article John, but I’ve got to disagree with you on a couple points. The mets shouldn’t go after Utley, right now, not because he shouldn’t get hit, but because it its not the right series to do it. The Dodgers are coming to NY in a couple weeks and with Utley having a resurgent year hitting lead off, I think that beaming him at home will send a message to Met fans and to Utley that we did forget about what happened. You are correct, his slide is debatable, but coming from Utley, one of the biggest Met killers and a guy who’s had problems with the Mets before (http://m.mlb.com/video/topic/6479266/v73700883) it makes it all that much worst.

    • Kevin V: Thanks for your comment. I hadn’t thought this not being the right series. But, even down the road, why wake up a sleeping dog?-JD

    • There’s no reason to “beam” the guy now. Last season is over, and the Mets achieved ultimate revenge when they won that series. What’s to be gained now? Getting into an unending battle of hit batsmen over last October? The only thing we’d be doing now is endangering one of our own top players.

      Pitch him inside? Yes. Brush him back, knock him down, and if he hangs over the plate give him one in the thigh? Sure. That could happen. But you don’t make it obvious, and you don’t do it without a clear & present need to do so. This pitching staff will protect its players, with a special nod to Noah & Harvey. When the time is right, they can take care of it. If they don’t, it’s not the end of the world.

    • I don’t think it’s debatable that it was a dirty slide. Tejada was behind the bag. He had NO shot at the DP and Utley never even attempted his “slide” until he was past the bag.

  2. If chase utley wasn’t a former phillie it wouldn’t be as big of a deal was it dirty probably was it within the rules yes so what can you do chase is a veterans committee hall of famer because he played the game to win

  3. TOTALLY disagree. You have to stand up for your players. It was a dirty slide and someone should let it be known that if you go after one of ours we’ll go after one of yours. Saying winning takes care of it makes no sense. No one is going to say “you know what, maybe I won’t play dirty because they beat us.” You do it to let the other team know you won’t stand for being pushed around. It’s not about payback, it’s actually about PROTECTING your players.

  4. “Why risk one of them being injured to prove a questionable point in protecting a player no longer on the team?”

    This is my rebuttal:

    You do it to let the other team know that there will be a price to pay if you injure one of our players. It’s irrelevant if Tejada is on the team. You tell the Utley, the Dodgers and every team in baseball that you’re not going to accept them going after your players. They’ll think twice before doing it again. No one wants to get into a head hunting war but the Dodgers have more to lose if it came to that than the Mets do. They know they have it coming so at some point one of the Mets pitchers should even the score.

  5. The slide did not even start until he hit Tejada, and he never even touched second base. Saying the it wasn’t a dirty slide is almost as asinine as the act itself.