Mets’ fans won’t be pleased with this, but Chase Utley‘s two-game suspension was dropped by Major League Baseball. Utley was suspended for his aggressive take-out slide in Game 2 of the NLDS that broke Ruben Tejada‘s right leg.
Baseball’s policeman, Joe Torre, called the slide illegal for being a “rolling block” occurring away from the base. The suspension resulted from an outcry by Mets’ fans and New York media, and I believe was issued to avoid an ugly scene when the NLDS moved to Citi Field.
Utley appealed – as was his right – and didn’t play in the games in New York.
Here’s why I think the suspension was dropped:
* The umpire’s have discretion to eject a player if they deem it to be a dirty play and they did not.
* There was a take-out rule already in place dictating the runner must be able to reach the bag with his foot or hand and apparently the umpires believed this to be the case with Utley. (watch video)
* Replays showed Wilmer Flores‘ throw put Tejada in an awkward position, one in which he turned into Utley’s slide. This was not the runner’s fault.
* That Utley did not play in the two New York games could be viewed as a de facto suspension.
* Reaction among those in MLB is mixed between dirty and just aggressive. There was hardly a consensus in either position.
* MLB adopted a new rule on break-up slides.
When asked about the suspension Sunday, Tejada told reporters: “I don’t care really. I don’t care. I care about me. I’m healthy here. I’m happy here. So I don’t care about what’s going to happen there or what’s the decision they take there.”
Said Mets GM Sandy Alderson: “The most important thing is that the rule was changed.”