It’s Unsafe at Second, and Some Want New Rules for Slides

After Chase Utley’s hard, late slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and resulted in Utley’s suspension, the legitimacy of a Dodgers win was in doubt, and players were debating possible rule changes.

Comments: 99

  1. This is a farce of misguided TV sucking, politically correct crying. How can an UNINTENTIONAL action to prevent a double play be worse that deliberately hitting a batter and probably with a manger's blessing? Joe Tore has brought the sport to an all time low. A sad day for baseball and the city of New York. Why were the National's pitcher who hit and broke Utley's hand and the Giant pitcher who hit him not suspended???

  2. Saying Joe Torre (not Tore, check all your other spelling and grammar errors) has brought the game to a new low based on a 2 game suspension is absurd. Steroids, or maybe now the umpteen commercials for Fantasy sites are far more egregious.

  3. That act? INTENTIONAL. From every point of view. The consequences of the act: deliberately disregarded. Reckless play is unfair.

  4. It's obviously intentional to break up the double play. I haven't seen anyone other than you claim otherwise. Hitting batters with pitched balls IS sometimes intentional and can be, and is, disciplined for as well. And, it seems, can be an even longer suspension. Utley's suspension isn't nearly long enough in my opinion.
    "Washington Nationals pitcher Jonathan Papelbon has received a three-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles in the top of the ninth inning of the Wednesday, September 23rdgame at Nationals Park. Joe Garagiola Jr., Senior Vice President of Standards & On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement."

  5. It's a tough game, or was once upon a time. Utley's slide was legal because, as has repeatedly been noted, he was close enough to second to have touched it. He obviously was not trying to hurt Tejada. The fact that Torre has taken the action that he has alters none of those facts nor the fact that, had there been no collision, Tejada would still have missed second and still would have been unable to get an out at first.

  6. It is indeed a tough game, and that is why it makes sense to implement sensible rules that protect players from unnecessary and potentially career ending injury and that do not substantially alter the basic nature of the game. After Carl Mays threw the pitch that killed Ray Chapman, it took decades before players started wearing head protection, because it wasn't a macho thing to do in a macho game. The hard cores all screamed that it would ruin baseball. It did not. When MLB finally drew the line on home plate collisions after who knows how many concussions and after the Posey fiasco, the macho crowd wailed that it would ruin the game. It hasn't ruined the game at all - over time everyone has pretty much learned to live with the rule and we still have more than enough "excitement" for fans when a runner comes flying home, an outfielder throws a bullet to the plate and a catcher swipes a tag.

    If you wanna see body slams and human wreckage, there are plenty of opportunities for that remaining in American "sport." You can watch overamped, oversized crazies attempt to murder one another in gladiatorial combat in the NFL. There's more than enough brain damage and spinal injury there to satisfy anyone's lust for "macho". You can go watch NASCAR races, with the ever present risk of flying metal and body parts that apparently has become part of the "excitement." You can watch boxing or wrestling or "extreme martial arts."

    That ain't what baseball is about - praise be.

  7. The point is not that he "was close enough to touch it". The point is he never made an effort to touch it, rather he veered away from the bag with the clear and sole intent to interfere with the fielder. While initially heading to 2nd, hd believed he'd been forced out and made an obvious decision to take out Tejada and hurled himself at him to do so. It didn't even resemble a slide.

  8. He was close enough to second that he could have touched it, yes, but he didn't bother.

    Why? Because that wasn't his objective. His only objective, based on his actions, was to take Tejada out, not to touch the bag.

    Look at the technique of a proper slide and Utley's slide/tackle. A proper slide has you horizontal, not vertical on your knees. A proper slide starts before you reach the bag, not at or after the bag. Of course, you try to touch the base on a proper slide--Utley didn't bother.

    Calling that slide legal is just wrong, according to the rule book. Quote the macho culture of baseball, if you want, or unwritten rules of what's allowed, but it was anything but legal.

  9. Perhaps, MLB will write a rule that simply says, "If you injure another player that impacts the injured player's career, you are out of the game."


  10. Essentially you'd have to put out of the game every pitcher who hits a batter. And what do you do about pitchers who get hit with a batted ball? If the batters can claim that they didn't intend to do that, why can't pitchers make the same claim when they hit batters.

  11. Better late than never. The suggestion Saturday night by Torre and Randy Marsh that one of the Mets should have grabbed the ball from the prone Tejada, chase Utley ( pun intended ) before he reached the dugout, and tag him to "ensure" him being out was something out of a Marx Brothers movie. (Later it was clarified that the suggestion was as nonsensical as it sounded.)

    The one quibble I have is with the length of the suspension. It should have been for the remainder of this series, or if such is contrary to the CBA, three games. Why should Utley have the chance to injure another Met, or perhaps get himself seriously hurt if the final game gets out of hand?

  12. Unless I am missing something, it was a force play at second. There was no need to tag Utley.

    The Mets needed only to throw the ball to anyone, have him tag second base, then demand a ruling. Utley would have been out, even without the interference call. The Mets somehow overlooked this matter.

  13. I thought it was a gutsy call by Torre. The playoffs put baseball center stage in the national psyche: you don't want further ugliness to mar the game or acts of retribution coming from the Mets or their fans. Utley was out of line (and out of the baseline) far enough that Torre could, and did, act now. The rules will be looked at, and possibly modified, during the off-season. I can't think of a smarter move than suspending Utley for the 2 games in New York: he both deserved it and the act of doing so defuses a very explosive situation.

  14. In 1908, Fred Merkle's base running blunder -- not touching second base on a game-ending hit -- came about because the Cubs' Johnny Evers called for the ball as Giants fans celebrated a pennant-winning "victory." In the on-going frenzy, he tagged the base and the umpire called Merkle out. This nullified the Giants win, forced the game to be replayed, and then Cubs Win! Cubs Win! It's not exactly the same situation, but tagging the base or the runner is not an extraordinary action. Yes, it would look like the Marx Bros., but I think it would have been a legitimate play.

  15. We do not need more new rules on slides – we need competent umpires who will enforce the existing rules properly, which glaringly did not occur on Saturday night. The Posey rule has been a fiasco and we don't need another version for second base. The story of last night's play is that the umpires - and the video reviewers - performed liked amateurs, as if they had no clue what the rule book called for.

    They got everything wrong, even with the use of video review, which is a remarkable development for a league that continues to tout its effectiveness. That this all occurred in a playoff game should be alarming to the league, because it gave Game 2 of this NLDS series the distinct flavor of a WWF event. Anyone who knows baseball knew that Utley’s tackle was illegal the moment it happened, as Joe Torre finally confirmed tonight.

    MLB has to do a better job of training its umpires, because you just can't have these enormous failures in the postseason. As for the video review people, we were better off without them.

  16. I agree with everything you said, except that in my view video review has immeasurably improved the game.

  17. "the Posey rule has been a fiasco"?? This is purely a subjective feeling, not a fact. In reality, most MLB players think it was a wise decision. I'm old-school baseball, too, in that I've been a fan since 1958, but I'm flexible enough to adapt to the new realities of bigger, faster players who can cause severe injuries.

  18. Apparently Joe Torre believes Utley could have been called out for interference. I must admit I can't recall ever seeing a player sliding into second to break up a double play called for interference. Has anyone ever seen a player called for this?

  19. utley was sliding into center field!

  20. Steve, yes, I have. If my memory is correct, several years ago the Mets were in a close and nasty race for first place. IIRC a Mets player was running to second and took out an opposing fielder (with the Phillies/?) The umps declared him out.

  21. Yes, in a crucial late-season game in 2007 between the Mets and the Phils, the Mets Marlon Anderson prevented a double play with a slide into second base. Interference was called and a game-ending double play was ordered, giving a victory to the Phils.

  22. Utley is a punk. He has always been a dirty player. He's lucky to be suspended rather than take a fastball to the head. Interesting that he was suspended only for the two games in NY. The 2nd base umpire didn't have the guts to call both Utley and the batter-runner out for his malicious action. I'm a high school umpire, and every ump I know would have had two outs on that play: Utley, and the batter-runner.

  23. Tejada was never going to complete that double play, with or without Utey's tackle. So unless the point of calling the runner at first "out" was to punish Utley and the Dodger's because of rough play, I don't see the out at first, but Utley unquestionably should have been out at second because he never touched the bag. He never touched the bag because that wasn't what he intended to do - he intended to ensure he would collide with Tejada to prevent a double play, no matter where in the vicinity of second base the collision might occur. What the officials did here was reward Utley for disabling Tejada by calling him safe, when he clearly had never reached second - he overran it, or rather, did a flying body block right past it and directly into Tejada as he was spinning away from the base and turning towards first.

    I'm not sure Utley is any more a dirty player than some others - watch the video of Odor coming into second with spikes high during the wild card sudden death game, or Gregorius dropping down to bowl over Altuve during the Yankees sudden death loss. It's a bad practice that has been going on because it isn't regulated, and it needs to be regulated.

  24. Although Utley's agent indicates that he will appeal the two game suspension, I think Don Mattingly should encourage him to accept it.
    Do you really think LA wants to put Utley on Citi Field for the next two games?
    Might as well drive him through Queens in a Lincoln convertible.

  25. If roles were reversed, NY would be arguing the other way

  26. This play should have been easily resolved. Utley never touched second base and walked off the field. The video review focused on the fact that Tejada's toe missed the base by an inch or two, the explanation being there was no double play, ergo the "neighborhood rule" did not apply, ergo Tejada didn't make the out. But Utley never made the base, and that should have been the end of it. He was out.

    Furthermore, if the justification for Utley's body slam into Tejada was that he was breaking up a double play," then how on earth did the officials find that Tejada was not in the midst of a double play? Clearly, that is exactly what he was doing when he spun around to throw to first at the same moment that Utley tackled him.

    Finally, It was clear Tejada had virtually no chance of getting the runner at first, whether Utley interfered with him or not. So the proper outcome here was that Utley was out, the runner at first was safe, and there were two outs in the inning.

    As for those who decry MLB's effort to protect middle infielders, I just don't get that either. Sliding into second to disrupt a double play is one thing. A flying body slam into a shortstop, made well outside the base path, is quite another. It is dangerous for both players, and it isn't a necessary part of the game, any more than violent collisions at home plate are. I've been watching baseball for nearly 60 years; I don't miss home plate collisions; and I won't miss body slams at second like Utley's.

  27. Your point about the neighborhood rule is exactly right. Utley should have been out at 2nd. Tejada was in the process of trying to make a double play.

  28. Very well stated. EVERYONE could see that Tejada was attempting to turn the DP, Utley, Tejada himself, everyone watching in the park and at home. The only ones who couldn't see it were in the replay booth! As Seinfeld would say "Who are these people?"

  29. Exactly. I'm tired of the logic used by Joe Maddon (below), because even if you grant all of that, what you wrote above still stands.

    I never cried about that,” Maddon said. “It happens. Listen, everybody wants to put everybody in a bubble anymore. I mean, my God, I’m really not into that. I don’t like the kneejerk overreaction to anything, I really don’t. Let’s utilize the rules that are in play right now.”

    No one is "crying" (implying we're babies). nor are we asking for "bubbles" (implying overprotection), nor are we asking for "overreaction" or not using "the rules that are in play right now." The umps had everything they needed to make the right call and they blew it.

    Let's Go Mets!!

  30. A distracted driver who causes an accident is not trying to hurt anyone but the are still behaving recklessly and in violation of the rules this should be held accountable.

    I agree with others who have called out for the enforcement of the existing rules. Utley's action was reckless and intentional, resulting injury notwithstanding.

  31. I don't blame Utley's intent--who knows what that truly was. I blame his execution. His slide was too late. The umpires missed the call. Too bad for the Mets who rightly feel cheated. The correct call was, double-play due to runner's interference.

  32. We don't need new rules, we need the current rules enforced.

  33. Well, it looked to me like the runner was out and he made a good slide to break up the DP. But hey, what do I know?

  34. " “It’s completely in the rules. If it’s in the rules, what are you going to do?”".......Easy. Change the rules before someone is hurt even worse. Outlay belongs in the NFL not MLB.

  35. I am a Red Sox fan who has no dog in this fight, didn't care who won last night. That said, having watched the game live, if I was Joe Torre, Utley would be out for the rest of the season and the umps who blew the call would be relieved of their playoff duties. The hit was 100% intentional; he didn't come close to touching the base; and the blown call changed the entire game. Should have been double-play, end-of-inning, 2-1 Mets going into the 8th. Dodgers might well have still won legitimately.

  36. Double play: The rules and Utley'a intent require it.

    The aplicable rule reads: "If, in the judgment of the umpire, a baserunner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner."

    It was patently obvious Utley intended to break up the double play -- and that should have ended the matter with two Dodgers called out. But Utley, while denying he was trying to hurt Tejada, clearly said he was attempting to break up the double play. (What runners generally say is that they were just trying to get to the base or get out of the way of the throw.)

    The rule does not require the fielder step on the base or even make a throw to first. It says nothing about how accurate the toss from his fellow fielder has to be or if he is facing the runner.

    Joe Maddon has it right. The umps and Torre were flat-out confused. By the way, why was Collins so quiet?

  37. Every Sunday for 5 or 6 months in the Fall-Winter you see the Utley play every play, in every game and the emergency doors fly open with injuries far far worse.
    You see physical mayhem and it is loved. Thankfully you don't see that in baseball. Tejada is hurt and let's hope he's back next year. And Joe Torre has seen to it that we won't see something much worse, at least, in the next two games.

  38. If the play had been a Met sliding into a Dodger, you and all the other New Yorkers would be singing a different tune.

  39. Utley's blindsiding of a player who had his back turned to him was obviously a cheap shot. He never even tried to touch second base, and he didn't come close to doing so. When he was even with the bag, he executed a flying body roll to take out Tejada, who was behind the bag and couldn't even see him.

    Inexplicably, the Mets didn't throw the ball to second and have someone tag it, then demand a ruling: Doing so would at least have gotten one out, since Utley never touched the bag. Touching the bag was the furthest thing from his mind. He just rolled into a player well off the basebath, blindsiding him, or coldcocking him, and breaking his leg in the bargain. He has possibly compromised Tejada's future career, but let's hope not.

    The Dodgers should be embarrassed by their "win" last night. If they win the series and continue further, their record this year will have an asterisk next to it.

    The Mets should be embarrassed too. They didn't make a throw to second base, tag the base, and demand a ruling, even though Utley never touched the bag, and they had a least 10 minutes to make the attempt before Utley returned to second base.

    Lastly, the umpires should be embarrassed because they missed an obvious interference call.

    The only one who got this right was Joe Torre.

    It's time for a rule change, or a strong clarification of the rule invoked by Torre. Baseball has enough hazards without these kinds of collisions.

  40. The Dodgers and the umps stole a game 2 victory from the Mets. Utley should have been out for interference and for an illegal tackle (that was not a slide) and the player running to first should have been out. That should have been an inning ending double play and the score would be 2-1 in favor of the Mets.

    MLB gave Utley a two day suspension. Nonsense. Tejada will be out for the rest of the year and his career may be endangered. I am angered by this whole situation.

  41. I don't know how everyone can keep saying that Utley had no intention of hurting Tejada. Only Utley knows what his intention was. The rest of us only have the video to go by, and looking at the video, I would surmise that Utley was "aiming" at Tejada, not second base. He may not have "wanted" to hurt Tejada, but given the slide he decided to make, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. The umpires should have ruled the same way Torre has. In other words, there is already a rule governing this situation. The umpires either did not know it well enough or got distracted by the actual situation on the field--neither of which speaks well for the umpiring. There is probably no need for another rule, just better umpiring.

  42. Any number of arguments can be made. Utley slid way too late; Tejada spun in an unexpected way putting himself in harm's way; etc. Mets fans are understandably up in arms, but the true purpose of Utley's suspension seems clear. He's not an everyday player, so the suspension is mostly just to appease Mets fans. Also, it prevents Utley from taking the field in New York, which would undoubtedly provoke a fan reaction not conducive to the dignity of the game. Torre is doing the smart thing, compromising as best he can. If only our politicians were as smart.

  43. Utley may have been close enough to the base to touch it, but he clearly went after the fielder and made no attempt to touch the base, and never did touch it. Seems to me the rule should be that you have to try to touch the base. His suspension is certainly justified.

  44. It's a bad thing that Tejada was injured. But injuries happen in pro sports.

    Utley's slide was legal. Period.

    This is a case "ex post facto", of Torre wanting to do something and re-interpreted the rules to make the slide "illegal".

    If he did this for "the good of the game", to avoid accusations of favoritism because he once coached the Dodgers and Yankees . . . who knows?

    But you cannot make up punishment after the fact.

  45. In my nearly 60 years of watching baseball have seen this type of aggressive play at 2nd base many times...and I have never seen it result in a suspension, until now.

  46. Parts of Baseball

    Utley slid
    to History.

    for an act

    countless others
    with impunity.

    Take true menace
    from the game?


    And go ahead
    and replace

    the Bulldogs with
    Biche Frisons.

  47. Injuries are rare (not unusual, rare). It's one unfortunate play in tens of thousands. There are injuries in sports. No one died.
    Let em play ya bunch a sissies.

  48. The "neighborhood play" should also be abolished, Mr. Torre.
    The Mets indeed should have tagged Utley after the collision. Failure to do so revisits the "Merkle Boner" of 1908 with a New Yorker again playing the dunce.
    Or, here's a modest proposal: abolish base running. And, anticipating tonight's game, also disallow inside pitches. Major League T-ball, anyone?

  49. Utley's body block was illegal under current rules. He and the batter could have been called out under the provisions of several rules as a matter of the umpire's discretion. I guess I don't object to changing the rules to make it clearer that this was an illegal maneuver, but why aren't they enforcing the rules we already have?

  50. How could the intent to injure Tejada be any more clear? The right response to this would be to remove Utely from the game permanently. If that's not what the rules support, then the rules should be changed.

  51. I know my friends who are Mets' fans want blood. And it sounds like Harvey is ready to give them that. Wouldn't that be ironic? The guy accused of betraying his team (innings limit, missed workout) becomes a legend for hitting a Dodger in the first inning and getting EJECTED! Certainly, Alderson reminds Collins that any retaliation should be at a time where it will cost the Mets the least and Collins tells the kid that it's not worth losing game 3 over. I'd be pissed, too, were I a Mets' fan. But I'm a Pirates' fan -- and our wunderkind, Kang, got taken out in August, not October, so Coughlin gets to remain on the Cubs' post-season roster. Joe Torre is a puppet for the new Manfred regime. We want revenue, revenue, revenue, and fights are bad for the A.D.D. viewer -- they'll switch to the N.F.L. The Utley Rule is coming, folks.

  52. It was the umps! They call what they choose to call, let alone what they see. A lot of stuff gets by simply because they don't see it, or they don't have the stones to call it in a high-stakes game in prime time. Utley was going on instinct, decades of conditioned behavior; it was up to the umps to get it right. Once again, they screwed up.

  53. Major league baseball and its Neanderthal umpiring crew is stuck in the 1930's as it condones 2nd base violence as a sacred ritual of the game.

    Just because Ty Cobb and his 1920 baseball cousins liked to play football when rounding the bases doesn't make baseball violence sacred.

    Humans least the majority of humans evolve.

    The NFL protects its quarterbacks - baseball and football all have better protective gear than they did in the old days --- there's no reason not to protect 2nd basemen and shortstops from the violent tendencies of baserunners and assaulters like Chase Utley.

    Slide into the base or you and the hitter are out.

    Baseball would only improve by eliminating baseball's violent sucker punch of violently 'breaking up the double play'

    It's 2015, not 1925.

  54. The rules are in the rule book. They just have not been enforced.

  55. What’s most interesting about the play is its historical significance.

    Those who say that the DP-takeout has always been part of the game – and that players like Ty Cobb got away with drawing real blood – are perfectly right.

    Also right are those who say that it has always been illegal according to the interference rules as written.

    What we have here is a winked-at illegality, in which longstanding custom is allowed to trump the written rules. And the only good thing about the Utley-Tejada play is that the rules will be “tightened” – that is, enforced as written – from now on.

    Ty Cobb died on July 17, 1961. The flagrant DP-takeout outlived him for 54 years, till the night of October 10, 2015.

  56. I don't understand the suspension. Utley's slide was legal in my opinion. Anyone who watches baseball for a while recognizes what Utley was trying to do - break up a double play. If Tejada wasn't injured this play wouldn't get a second glance. It would be seen as just a rough play and something that is within the bounds. If baseball wants to change the rules like they did for catchers, that is there prerogative but according to the rules now enforce was a legal play. Basically Utley is being suspended for a bad outcome not a violation of the rules.

  57. Another comment here is valid: The "Posey Rule" is all we need to measure the efficacy of yet another revision when, in fact, a rule is already on the books that, enforced, would have nullified any debate on what happened between Utley and Tejada.

    Further: If Utley is to be suspended, where are the sanctions against the umpire who (by Joe Torre's de facto admission) failed to impose the rule that would have settled all this from the beginning?

  58. Reminds me off all the media buzz around Roger Clemens tossing a broken bat at Mike Piazza... or stories of Cobb going in with spikes high. This is a tough game played best in the post season. As a Dodgers fan, I still think of Chase as a newbie, a borrowed Philly. But Ive seen a million players attempt to breakup that play - which is legal. Chase did it, and he did it the way he's done everything else... hard as nails. Its not about injuring an opposing player, its about preventing the play.

  59. No new rules are needed here. Only proper enforcement of the existing rules. You can't run or slide out of the basepath. Period. We've all seen runners get called out for it in the past. Why not the other night? It was obvious, and it was flagrant. Not to mention that the (mis)ruling changed the course of the game. Whether Tejada was injured or not is beside the point. And the fact that Utley was called safe because Tejada missed touching the bag by an inch, when Utley missed the bag by a foot, only adds to the incongruity of it all. MLB botched this one big time. Let's hope they can at least clarify their policy going forward, even if the result of this particular game will always have an asterisk next to it.

  60. I've been wondering when they would address this issue ever since the Posey incident. When the umpire said that he didn't think that Utley did it on purpose, he was being disingenuous. Of course Utley was trying to take out the second baseman. That's the whole point of the play. Otherwise he wouldn't have been so far from the base. That barrel roll slide is illegal in football and the sliders that go in with their feet up aren't trying to get some wind on their tired feet.

    You can't blame the players. It's been part of the game for many years. But it's really not necessary and the resulting injuries aren't good for anybody.

    Has the game really suffered since Posey can't block the plate? No. The focus just changes to whether he gets the tag down or not. It switches the emphasis from mugging to precision and that's not a bad idea. The replays are very exciting and illuminating.

  61. Utley deliberately and gratuitously assaulted Tejada. He aimed for Tejada, not the base. He should be suspended without pay until Tejada is able to return and prosecuted for assault.

  62. I believe your Mets fandom has confused & blinded you so much that you see this as a hockey fight with intent to injure. No intent, other than to play baseball hard the way it's been played for over a century.

  63. I don't watch football or hockey specifically because of the violence aspect to the games. I don't like enforcers, don't like people giving each other concussions everyday. Utley crossed the line with this, and it's sad to watch people like Don Mattingly and Joe Torre go out of their way to defend it (in Mattingly's case) and/or equivocate (Torre) about it. They're both former players, and should know better.

  64. I'm no Mets fan but I am a fan of the game.

    1. Tejada was in the process of executing a double play. He had the ball in his glove as his foot slid past and I thought touched second. It was close enough. So regardless, Utley is out at second.

    2. The slide was at best borderline, at worst obstruction. I would have called it obstruction, and called the runner out at first.

    This was simply a case of the umpires making some wrong on the field decisions. I'm not necessarily against that - it's just part of the game. But once you have introduced league-wide video review, the umps in NY should have corrected them. This wasn't that hard of a play to rule on.

    The Mets have played well so far. You gotta believe!

  65. While virtually all the focus is on Utley's late, "rolling block" slide, the Mets made three mistakes that put Tejada in harm's way unnecessarily:

    1) Murphy's toss was errant because it went BEHIND Tejada, against his flow and made him hesitate and reach awkwardly backwards;

    2) Tejada made a cardinal error when he GUESSED the best pivot move to make rather than waiting to see where the ball was first and then making the pivot that best fit the position of Murphy's toss; when the ball went behind him Tejada had already commited to the wrong pivot and could not rock back and pivot from the third base side of the bag which would have put him where the ball was, removed him from Utley's path and enabled him to throw to first;

    3) Once Tejada had to reach backwards for the ball, he knew the only way to avoid a hard and dangerous collision with Utley was to jump in the air so his legs would swing freely, but, like Utley, Tejada was completely committed and willing to risk his own safety, as well as Utley's, so he deliberately choose to make the pivot directly into Utley's slide with his feet planted on the ground, making them vulnerable to a fracture.

    In adition, both Tejada and Utley missed touching second base.

    Utley may have been overly aggressive, but without these three mistakes by the Mets, especially Tejada's error in pre-selecting his pivot before he saw where the toss was going, the collision would never have occured, and the double play would have been possible.

  66. To your point number 1 - you seem to believe that everything is a choice except what Utley did
    To your point number 2 - you really think Utley would not have gone after Tejada no matter WHERE he was?
    To your point number 3 - he didn't have time to jump in the air and there's quite a difference between that and having the entire play in front of you (as Utley did) and choosing to do what Utley did.
    To your summary - my, what incredible knowledge you have of what folks are thinking in the very short time period of the play. "Pre-selecting his pivot before he saw where the toss was going" - hogwash. If it were true, your point number 1 is nonsense because it's not Murphy who is in error for throwing behind him it's Tejada who's in error for "preselection".

  67. Thanks Bob Trosper for your reply to my comment. Regarding your reply points: 1) I do concede, in my conclusion, that "Utley may have been overly aggressive" with his "rolling block." 2) Although Utley would have tried to go after Tejada if he chose to pivot on the 3rd base side of the bag, where the ball was thrown, he could not have reached Tejada there with any power because a good pivot from that side would have Tejada's momemtum moving away from Utley rather than into him; 3) As a former shortstop and teammate of both Joe Torre and Joe Pepitone I can assure you from my own experience that Tejada had time to get airborne and away from Utley when he first touched Murphy's toss; 4) Both Murphy and Tejada were in error and it took Both errors to cause the problem; eliminate one and Tejada makes the play and sees Utley before the crash. Regarding your misguided use of "hogwash" and "nonsense": any experienced shortstop knows that the reason he has multiple double play options is to get him in sync with the toss, get him in position to throw, and avoid an injurious collision with the baserunner who is always tasked with "breaking up the double play." But in order to have those DP options, the SS has to see where the toss is going BEFORE he commits his pivot and this is one of the most difficult disciplines a SS has to master, especially on such an incredibly difficult play as the one we're discussing.

  68. Let's everyne calm down. It was terrible that Tejada got hurt and a broken leg. Your team loses the first game of a best of 5 series. If your team loses this game you to the other teams city needing to win 3 games. You go into second base looking to beak up the double play. This is done every day in baseball. Was it a Hard Slide? Yes. Utley was within an arms reach of second base. If the tables were turned the New York Sport writers would sing a different story as the Met Fans would too. I don't remember anyone calling for Pete Rose's head when he took out Ray Fosse in a All Star Game 38 years ago. I have been watching baseball for over 55 years this is not something that is Not done during the regular season. Does anyone Remember Juan Maracial hitting Johnny Roseboro with a bat intentionally while Maracial was batting? Maracial is Today in the Hall of Fame.

  69. Sure, and Maurice Richard is in the Hall of Fame, too. But that does not make it right that he used his stick to chop Hal Lacoe to the ice one night in a fit of rage that even Richard's fans must have had qualms about. Nastiness and cowardly mean streaks can cause death: Lacoe and Tejada could have had severe spinal injuries. Utley got off easy, and so did Maurice Richard.

  70. After studying the replay of the incident it was obvious to me that Chase Utley was interested only in "taking out" the Mets' shortstop and not sliding into 2nd base. This is particularly true because he started his 'slide"so late and he virtually threw himself at the legs of Ruben Tejada. The 2nd base umpire was poorly positioned on the shortstop side of the bag and behind Tejada and he didn't even notice how Utley went into the base; otherwise he should have awarded the Mets a double play on Utley's unsportsmanlike behavior. So Chase Utley just got away with an illegal slide.
    The rules should be amended so that the baserunner is REQUIRED to run or slide DIRECTLY into a base in a force situation, which was the case here. There should be no loopholes allowing him to do otherwise. If its a tag play, either on a batted ball or a steal attempt, the runner can be allowed some limited freedom to evade the tag, provided he doesn't run out of the baseline or barrel directly into the fielder who has the ball waiting to tag him.

  71. Good point;maybe have a baseline on the grass similar to the one going from home to 1st base and then another on the dirt, also like the one going down to 1st. Runner has to keep his feet within the baselines or he is automatically out.

  72. MLB SHOULD have the courage of its own convictions and throw out the Dodgers win. That's right: make them replay the second game. Announce this decision before tonight's game.

    What's that you say? "They can't do it"? Sure they can: they're MLB; they can do whatever they want. In this case, it would be the right thing.

    Do it, and it's done.

  73. ha ha, what a joke suggestion

  74. Quite a few folks seem to be missing the point. The suspension is not based on intent to injure. The suspension is based on how late the slide was.

    "This rule was cited by Joe Torre in suspending Utley:

    5.09 (a) (13) (Rule 6.05, 2014)

    A batter is out when --

    (m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire's judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:

    Rule 5.09 (a) (13) Comment: 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."

    And, in the opinion of MLB, rather too late I think, the umpires on the field and in the review booth in New York got it wrong. It's pretty obvious Utley was NOT trying to reach the base. Look at the replay. He knew he didn't touch it, he trotted off the field as Tejada lies there, "mission accomplished" as some might say.

  75. Bob Trosper,
    Actually the intent is to protect the players. The rules are just ways to do it.

  76. Well, if Utley is a throwback player, I hope he does play tonight. Then, according to his old school rules, he won't have any issues when Harvey puts a 95 plus fastball right in his ribs. And neither will the rest of the Dodgers.

    Right, Donnie Baseball?

  77. And actually, Donnie has not retaliated to other teams when they have thrown at his players. The cards 2 years ago, purposely threw at Hanley in their first game of the post season, when Hanley was on fire the past 6 weeks (I think hitting over .460 and crushing the ball). They broke his rib and knocked him out of the series, and it was dirty and on purpose. THAT is an example of malicious intent. Not someone trying to do what countless ball players do and are allowed to do. But I understand as a NY fan you're only going to see it one way because someone unfortunately got injured. If you truly think that was Utley's intent, you're just playing into the sports drama and not seeing it for what it really is... a good hard play that went terribly wrong.

  78. I strongly urge that MLB/union and whomever else arbitrates Utley's appeal do so before 8:30PM tonight. A suspension that is not enforceable until after the post-season--and the likely end of Utley's career--is a joke and a miscarriage of justice. It would be best if Utley is nowhere near Flushing NY tonight. And it would be best if Mets fans at the game cool it, in regard of a bloodlust for revenge, and that Harvey get even with the Dodgers by pitching the best game of his life.

  79. In an America that is reeling from violence, our flagship pastime should reconsider a "win at all costs" philosophy that turns an elegant game into a bloodsport. Football is making needed concessions, but baseball is different. It's a more ritualized sport, the plays are under the unobstructed gaze of fans and umpires, isolated in space and time in a manner unlike football's dog piles.

    Baseball has the unique opportunity to closely observe behavior on the national stage and decide whether or not it lives up to the sport's (and America's) unwritten codes of conduct. Changing times demand changing mores. Are we a country of bezerkers? Winning at all costs has been already been debunked by Hollywood in the Karate Kid, The Longest Yard and countless other movies. Are baseball's owners, managers, umps and players to let screenwriters write the moral codes? After the moral dignity of the Jackie Robinson era, are the Dodgers now going to be known as win at all cost savages?

    Baseball is a placed for ritualized play, the code of conduct in the game should lead America's moral thrust, not lag behind.

  80. I wonder why so many are referring to this slide as a "tackle". It was a flying block which ironically would have elicited a flagrant clipping foul in football, a sport in which violent physical contact is an essential component and where the players at least wear protective padding.

  81. The issue is "intent to injure". The suspension is based on how late the slide was. The MLB and Joe Torre should have the guts to confront, appropriately punish and change the standard. And Utley should be finished for the season.

  82. Ty Cobb would roll over in his grave if he wasn't already dead.

  83. Honus Wagner took care of Cobb. He tagged him in the mouth.

  84. Dodgers vs. Harvey (minimum five plate appearances)

    Yasiel Puig, .600, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs

    Joc Pederson, .400, 1, 1

    Chase Utley, .333, 1, 2

    Adrian Gonzalez, .273, 1, 1

    Jimmy Rollins, .263, 2, 4

    Andre Ethier, .250, 0, 0

    A.J. Ellis, .250, 0, 2

    Carl Crawford, .200, 0, 0

    Yasmani Grandal, .200, 0, 0

    Howie Kendrick, .167, 0, 0

    Keep sliding into second base!

  85. It's interesting that with just one high-profile play and just one player injured baseball wants to change the rule to protect the players yet after countless school shootings and mass murders in the U.S. and way too many children dead, no one has stepped up to the plate to do anything about it. Just saying.

  86. Crybaby Mets fans. Just play ball. No dirty slide-- that's the way the game has always been played. Don't like it, try another sport. It's too bad his leg got broken but there was no intent to injure.

  87. Chase Utley's "slide" that broke Ruben Tejada's leg was within the boundaries of how the game is played and called by the umpires but also clearly dirty and malicious.

    Baseball took steps to protect catchers in home-plate collisions. Now it should do the same to protect infielders.

    There was a time when this is how baseball was played, when John McGraw and Ty Cobb played baseball with spikes up, looking to draw blood whenever possible. Of course, it also was a time when players would frequently fight umpires or even jump into the stands and brawl with spectators. The remnants of those times still exist today, such as intentionally throwing at batters or runners sliding viciously into middle infielders at second base, even if they're several feet off the bag, several feet past the bag or barreling in.

    A new rule would be easy to write: The baserunner must slide directly into the bag. This is how the game is played at the high school and college level. Slide hard, but slide safe.

    Still, Utley's slide did break the rules and that, in fact, not only should he have been called out, but the batter should have been called out, as well, under Rules 6.05 (m) and 7.09 (e). Look them up - I don't have space to write them here.

    These rules are already in the books. The Dodgers won the game 5-2. The series is even. But the Dodgers didn't deserve to win. The umps blew it big time - they should be suspended and replaced for the duration of the playoffs and World Series.

  88. Then there should be no penalty if Harvey breaks somebody's back tonight with a high hard fastball tonight because that's how the game is played.

  89. Legalize the neighborhood force.

    Define the neighborhood with a box around second base similar to a batter's box

  90. I understand NY fans are only going to see this play one way. But Tejada is also at fault in this play. He made a bad decision, and Utley did what countless players are allowed to do. There are so many worse slides than this over the past couple of years in MLB, and no action has been taken. If we want to adjust or change the rules, then that's a debate we should have after the season (and I think this debate should happen). Not during a critical post season series. How this was handled was utterly ridiculous. It's the typical hyperbolic social media over reaction of today. We all need to take a step back and see it for what it is. Utley was not trying to injure Tejada. He was trying to make sure a double play wasn't turned, and despite what Torre decided to rule, Utley was within the current rules. I can provide countless examples on youtube of worse slides, but no one's leg was broken, so there's no real reaction to it. It's unfortunate what happened, it really is, but it was nothing malicious, and if you really think that, you have blinders on. I leave you with this:

  91. Blame the victim! Some logic! And do not forget that if you break a mirro you will have bad luck. Logic -- it rules our lives!

  92. Torre made the correct decision. I was at the game. Utley's slide was late and it was made in the direction of Tejada, not toward second base. This can correctly judged to be interference, which is contrary to MLB rules.

    The fact that you can find other examples of similar slides does not absolve Utley. If I were to argue that I should not have to pay a speeding ticket because many people speed and go unpunished, I would be laughed out of court.

    I agree that Utley did not intend to injure Tejada. But, his slide was reckless and an injury was a foreseeable result. The fact that Utley has a history of this type of slide makes it worse. The issue is not malice, but recklessness.

    This is not a hyperbolic reaction related to social media. This is an issue of justice.

    Tejada's season is over. His career and his livelihood are in jeopardy. Utley plays on and his team has benefitted. You may disagree with my analysis, but I believe it is hardly fair to characterize it as hyperbolic or hysterical.

  93. The rules are pretty clear and they should be enforced but the repercussions for breaking the rules need to be greater. The Mets lost their starting short stop for the remainder of the playoffs and the Dodgers "might" lose a pinch hitter for two games, max. How about the player who breaks a rule and/or commits an infraction is out as many games as the injured opponent and also loses salary during missed games. Clean slide and someone gets hurt, no worries. Dirty slide that causes an injury and you pay---big time.

  94. Thinking back to the 1973 playoffs and Pete Rose barreling into Bud Harrelson, which led to the unleashing of a storm of beer bottles thrown by the fans at Shea Stadium at the Cincinnati Reds. Had this been at Citi Field, I wonder if we would have seen a reprise. We have become so used to dirty play in sports, especially football, I don't think we are fazed when an athelete goes beyond the bounds anymore. Brady was given a 4 game suspension for deflating footballs, Utley gets 2 games for thuggishly tackling a seond baseman and breaking his leg? Suspend him for the playoffs. Better that than a beer bottle in his head.

  95. The most equitable punishment for Utley would be for him to be suspended for as long as Tejada is unable to play because of his injury. Tejada can't play. Why should Utley?

  96. I'm normally a Dodger fan and this was awful to watch. Better to lose the game than have a garbage play like that replayed for years. Going forward in this series, I'm a Mets fan.

  97. With pitchers with names like Matthew, Noah and Jacob, how can we lose -- nor should we cast the second stone (or in this case a high, hard one at 100 mph on the inside)? Play the game according to the rules, even if they're screwed up and the umpires don't know what they are and how they should be enforced.

  98. Either Utley made a clean, permissible slide, or he made a dirty, impermissible slide. If he made a clean slide, he should not be subject to any penalty whatsoever. But MLB has determined that he made an impermissible, dirty slide, and now Tejada will be out for the rest of the playoffs, no matter how deep the Mets go. It is absurd, under those circumstances, to punish him by suspending him for 2 games. Utley should be out for the rest of the playoffs. Even a child would see the justice of that punishment, but MLB clearly is blind. Pathetic.

  99. The following is from Baseball Rules 6.01...
    (7) If, in the judgment of the umpire, a batter-runner willfully
    and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder
    in the act of fielding a batted ball, with the obvious intent
    to break up a double play, the ball is dead; the umpire
    shall call the batter-runner out for interference and shall
    call out the runner who had advanced closest to the home
    plate regardless where the double play might have been
    possible. In no event shall bases be run because of such
    There is no argument that Chase Utley's purpose was to break up a possible double play. His slide was late & deliberately aimed at Short Stop Ruben Tejada to prevent him from attempting a double play.
    The rule is clear. The ball should have been declared dead, the base runner & the batter declared out. The inning would have been over. The score would have remained at 2-1 in favor of the New York Mets.
    Joe Torre's decision is correct.
    Fortunately for the Los Angeles Dodgers & unfortunately for the New York Mets & for Baseball, the umpires got it wrong!