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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Make Your Own Rules

Good news for all you kids out there. You can now play baseball any way you like. The rules don’t apply. Just slam into middle infielders at will. You don’t even need to be on your way to second base. You do this, and you and your team shall be rewarded handsomely.

That’s my takeaway after a playoff game roving bands of baserunners and umpires conspired to take away from the New York Mets. The Mets might have given it away themselves, but the dirtiest of Dodgers and his de facto co-conspirators couldn’t depend on that to happen.

In the seventh inning of the second game of the National League Division Series Saturday night in Los Angeles — with the Mets leading the Dodgers 2-1 — Chase Utley slid into Ruben Tejada without a base being close to his body or his thoughts. The slide transpired in the midst of Tejada attempting to turn a double play. It probably wouldn’t have been a double play on its own merit even had Utley not essentially tackled Tejada. It might not have been technically been a single play, given that Tejada did not step on the bag. Second base umpire Chris Guccione called Utley out initially because umpires make mistakes. Replay review exists to correct them. Replay showed that Tejada, in taking an imperfect feed from Daniel Murphy on Howie Kendrick’s sharp one-out chopper up the middle of what had been a first-and-third situation, missed the bag by a hair before attempting to set and fire to first.

On the other hand, it could have been called a neighborhood play, in which case Guccione wasn’t off base, even though Tejada was. A neighborhood play is the one play on the diamond for which everybody agrees to overlook the basic rule about feet touching bases in order to record putouts. It is too dangerous, it is agreed, to penalize a shortstop or second baseman for protecting his life and limb from onrushing baserunners. We all know the runner’s gonna be out, let’s just call him out. That’s the gentlemen’s agreement.

Chase Utley is no gentleman, which is his business, except when his business becomes the maiming of Ruben Tejada or any middle infielder he takes out as he doesn’t much attempt to reach second base. Utley said he wasn’t trying to break Tejada’s leg, even though he did. He said he was trying to break up a double play. That’s fine. Except — and we learned this first-hand eight years ago when Marlon Anderson was our baserunner trying to do the same thing — you can’t break up double plays without making second base your reasonably realistic destination.

You watched this game. You saw Utley slid exceedingly late into Tejada with zero intention of sliding into second. In fact, wherever Tejada’s foot had been an instant earlier, Utley never reached second, not even as a matter of follow-through. He broke up a double play and, incidentally, the fielder’s fibula. Utley may very well have wished no harm come from his action, but he did act and there was harm.

That’s cause enough to declare an inning-ending double play. It was a double play when Anderson was ruled to have slid away from second base in order to interfere with an opposition fielder (Utley’s then-Phillie teammate Tad Iguchi) and it should have been a double play Saturday night.

Instead, because baseball’s officiating infrastructure is the envy of Swiss cheese producers the world over, somehow Utley — who never touched second; who never really tried to touch second; who sacked Tejada as if Ruben was scrambling behind the line of scrimmage — was told he was not out. He was allowed to stand at second base, a spot that was never on his itinerary. Meanwhile, the runner on third, Kike Hernandez, had scored to make it 2-2 and Kendrick was on first. There was still only one out and nothing good was going to come of any of this.

It didn’t. Noah Syndergaard’s breathtaking six-and-a-third innings of starting pitching went for naught. The solo home runs blasted off Zack Greinke in the second inning by Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto (the latter a laser that smacked the right field foul pole) were matched and surpassed as Adrian Gonzalez at last woke up (a two-run double to right) and Justin Turner continued dishing out cold revenge (an RBI double) against Addison Reed.

To back up from the moment of impact, you could question any number of elements of the Mets’ approach to the seventh, which was going to be Syndergaard’s final inning regardless.

Maybe Terry Collins takes Thor out after Hernandez walks with one out.

Maybe Collins calls on Jon Niese to face pinch-hitter Utley, given that Utley has only three hits in 32 career at-bats versus the lefty, and why do the Mets need a lefty in the bullpen if he’s not going to face a potentially lethal lefty off the L.A. bench?

Maybe Collins doesn’t turn to Bartolo Colon all of a sudden to face Kendrick, though Kendrick — in Colon’s vast younger days — was 2-for-22 against Bartolo.

Maybe Murphy fields Kendrick’s chopper a bit more cleanly, feeds Tejada a bit more gracefully…but this is Murph we’re talking about.

There was also a stolen base from Hernandez on which Travis d’Arnaud made an ineffectual throw, along with the whole issue of Reed not being a solid bet to come in with runners on base. He flied out Corey Seager after the whole Utley mess, but then was filleted by Gonzalez and Turner.

Worth mentioning, too: the Mets couldn’t touch Greinke after their solo shots in the second. Two runs in seven innings is better than most teams did against the possible N.L. Cy Young winner in any given game, but it wasn’t enough to translate to victory on Saturday.

Some or all of the seventh-inning damage could have been avoided had a valid judgment call been made that Utley slid dangerously and illegally. Deem it “hard-nosed” or brand it with some other charming euphemism, the inference that could be drawn from any angle is that Utley wasn’t trying to reach second base. He wasn’t coming close to second base. He went after Tejada. He didn’t remotely disguise his real target.

How that was overlooked, I have no idea. Explanations so shaky they could have rumbled up from the San Andreas Fault were proffered later — MLB Secretary of Explaining Stuff Joe Torre was at a loss to delineate how a runner called out should have been precautionarily tagged by a broken-legged fielder just in case he wasn’t actually out — but they solved nothing…just as Met hitters didn’t solve Greinke and two Dodgers relievers…just as Reed didn’t solve two of the three hitters he was tasked with retiring.

So the Mets lost the second game of the NLDS, 5-2, and they lost their shortstop. Since he first made the team as 20-year-old in 2010, Tejada has proven himself an uncommonly resilient cat. The number of lives he’s had as a Met stalwart is displayed on the back of his jersey. Hell, he was getting clobbered on dubious slides by Chase Utley back when he was a rookie under Jerry Manuel. How many times have we dismissed Ruben’s potential contributions only to find him back in the lineup, working counts, tiring pitchers and subtly creating offense? How many times have we looked for another shortstop only to find us looking to good ol’ No. 11 to get us the out we needed? We finally wind up in the playoffs and who was starting ahead of folk hero Wilmer Flores?

Was, but no longer. With Tejada’s fractured right fibula knocking him out of the postseason for good, Flores is the shortstop again (his backup to be determined). That’s not bad news for hitting purposes — the Mets have scored seven runs in their past 61 innings, dating to September 30 and could thus use all the muscle they can muster — though it adds intrigue to the concept of strength up the middle. Maybe Flores, like Murphy, will hit enough to make a person glance away politely on challenging ground balls and the like. Or maybe Flores, like Murphy, will hang in there on defense because the Mets didn’t get this far by letting obstacles overcome them.

We’ll miss Tejada on principle, and not just for the way he went down. He’s one of ours and he should be playing a part in our finest hour. Make no mistake, we’re still in the midst of that hour. Saturday night was a blow — both the loss of the shortstop and the loss of the game — but we went to L.A. and beat one of the two great Dodger moundsmen. Now it’s back to Flushing, one more ace up our sleeve for Game Three.

Monday night. Matt Harvey, you know where to be, you (hopefully) know when to be there, you know what to do, you know who to do it to.

Heal up, Ruben. Watch out, Dodgers.

76 comments to Make Your Own Rules

  • BornAMet

    Going into this game, I fully expected us to come up short of a victory. I even commented, ironically, that Flores should be in the lineup, as having had much more success against Greinke than Tejada’s 0 for his lifetime. But the way we lost broke some of my faith in the game of baseball. Sure, it’s an imperfect game, judging by the eye of the day’s plate umpire. But when a shortstop clearly fields a ball and moves away from the base path in order to throw to first base, that is normally called a ‘double play’ attempt. In said attempt, the ‘neighborhood play’ prevents the umpire from reviewing if the shortstop actually touched the base. For some reason, Tejada was judged as not actually intending to throw to first base (possibly because his knees were chopped out from under him by a diving Utley who had run right past second base). Every instinct of fair play screams for justice. We can only hope the Mets use this abomination to rally and fight with the vitriol they could’ve used if they’d charged the field like the ’86 Mets would have done — before proceeding to win it all.

  • Jacobs27

    On the money, Greg. So infuriating. Major League Baseball is joke to let this stand. It makes no sense on so many levels: precedent, intention, the very point of the neighborhood play agreement, the fact that Utley sure as hell wasn’t in the neighborhood of second base at any point in the play! WHAT? HOW? WHY?

    I can’t believe it. Seething.

    Get well soon, Ruben.

  • Daniel Hall

    I am raging so hard, I will abstain from further comment about what I want to be taken to whom in whichever fashion, except for the notion that I expect the self-declared Dark Knight to bring justice to Gotham on Monday.

    Get well, Ruben. Can’t wait to see you at short in March. (sob)

    • Les

      It was difficult to sleep last night after that play. Let’s turn rage into effort and stop this madness. Mets clinch in NY. Chill the champagne.

    • Matt in Richmond

      Small point. Harvey is not the “self-declared” Dark Knight. He didn’t go around telling everyone to call him that.

      • Daniel Hall

        You are correct about that, I got him mixed up with Syndergaard, who had the Thor thing going before coming up.

        That’s what rage does. You get all those superheroes mixed up.

  • Les

    Joe Torre, I used to think you were a good guy. But you are stupid! Your explanation for this fiasco is that ” if someone tagged Chase Utley THEN he would have actually been out. Are you kidding? Utley was called out. So why the f— would anyone try to tag him to make him out twice as much? How about never reaching the bag being sufficient to call him out once. How about the illusionary neighborhood double play being ruled since it is in much less obvious plays for an out. Or how about you actually invoke the written rules of the game and call this interference with no intent to reach the base (Utley never did reach the base) and call it an automatic double play JUST LIKE THE RULES actually say? Don’t create some fantasy to somehow make your umpires look good. They don’t. MLB looks bad. And your leadership is weak. But Mets can use this to galvanize their efforts to take the Dodgers down just like Utley did to Tejada.

  • Lou from Brazil

    The fact remains that Utley was playing a different game than everyone else on the diamond last night. I didn’t think I could hate the Dodgers more than I already did. Somehow the sound of their fans cheering as the tying run scored while Tejada was being helicoptered like John Elway just doesn’t sit well with me.

    • Rusty

      I was in the stands last night

      Most of the Dodger fans around us agreed it was a dirty play. One guy told me “I love my Dodgers, and I hate the Mets, but it sucks to win this way.”

      Then, everybody forgot about it and cheered their tainted victory…hey, a win’s a win.

      My son and I were ready to fight 50,000 Dodger fans.

  • Ed

    Absolutely disgusting tackle

  • Dennis

    Stupid ass ruling and Utley is a cocksucker as well. Time to move on and kick some ass back in NY.

  • rich porricelli

    What Utley did last night was routine in all big games for many years..I don’t fault him for being in the moment and driven to win by any means necessary..I really didn’t see that as a “neighborhood” play either, shortstop needs to at least make foot contact with that bag- ( great stop by Murphy )…
    Speaking of Umpires, how about that call against Granderson that was overturned? How he was called out in the fist place is beyond me..Or that strike zone in game 1..You do all realize without that delay there is likely no review on that play at second..Somebody is on there toes in the LA dugout..
    Bullpen guys need to get Adrian Gonzales..Back to back games he avoids the ‘ Golden Sombrero ” only to be a hero..You got past the big two and now we got that precious “advantage”..Well lets see, Shea was a tough place for the opposition to win in the post season..Spotlight on Citi..Go crazy folks! Go crazy!!

  • Steve2916

    I’d like to know what the rules say:
    If the Dodgers challenge a play to get the OUT call at 2nd base reversed to SAFE, can the umpires, when reviewing, do the OPPOSITE: calling a double play b/c of the interference?

    Heal well, Ruben.

    Let’s hope for two Mets victories at home…where no one gets hurt on EITHER team.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Citi better be jumping Monday. Only thing for this team to do now is channel all the anger and outrage into some inspiring play. All things considered, we’re still in a good position.

    • Dennis

      Yup…..I agree Matt. Turn the anger into an offensive explosion and turn the games into laughers. The best revenge is winning the next two games and send the Dodgers packing.

  • Steve D

    I wish I could invoke hatred for Utley on par with Pete Rose-1973 NLCS…but I just can’t. It is a late slide, probably illegal, should be definitively made illegal. He did the same exact slide in 2010, except Tejada was able to get out of harm’s way that time. MLB did NOTHING in 2010…in fact with instant replay, tinkering with the neighborhood play, they did worse than nothing and made this play more likely. MLB enabled Utley.

    I listened to Collins, Wright, Kelly Johnson, Murphy, Granderson, the post-game guys…no two reactions are the same. Curtis was the most level-headed. The Mets have to channel this emotion, level every Phillie, I mean Dodger infielder and once the series is in our pocket, bring in Clippard for a batter to send a message.

    Harvey likely decides our season…would it be any other way?

  • eric1973

    Agree with Matt in Richmond. Just go out and win.

    It is too late to do anything about this now. The time for revenge was when Utley was laying on the ground, but the Mets stood around and acted like Mice. How come TC didn’t go ape-shit and scream for ‘Interference???’ Bad job all around with that.

    The rule is that you need to be able to touch the base when you ‘slide,’ or it is interference and an automatic DP. We have all seen it a million times since the rule was put in place however many years ago.

    • Jacobs27

      I agree, I’m surprised Terry and the Mets weren’t more adamant. Terry even said the umpired did a good job — which is mystifying. And Wright said after the game he had a little of questions–no kidding–why did they just take the umpires’ ruling?

      Replay is supposed to make sure things get called right in big games. It’s doing the exact opposite. Mind-numbing. But when that happens, I feel like players and managers should remember how to argue.

  • eric1973

    Joe Torre —- He has already tried to ruin baseball on many levels:

    —– He stupidly used up all his pitchers in the All-Star game, causing it to end in a tie. This led to the winner having HFA in the WS. How ridiculous is that?! The players still do not try, and why should they, it is an exhibition game!

    —— He ruined plays at the plate — Now nobody knows how to act, and runners basically just stop and get tagged out.

    —— Instant replay is a farce — just stick with your bad call and let’s get on with it. It’s a part of the game just like anything else. More important, this has also taken managerial arguing (and player arguing) out of the game, which was SO DAMN entertaining, and is so sorely missed.

    ——- Torre (upon further replay review) needs to get his ass out there TODAY and say that call was blown and it should have been interference.

    ——- So aside from attempting to ruin the ASG, WS, and regular day-to-day, not much else left for him to screw up.

  • Rob E

    Years ago ex-umpire Ron Luciano wrote a book (The Umpire Strikes Back) and on one part he said that when you come up to a play like that that’s in rules gray area, penalize the team that screwed up. Utley should have been out. When he “slid” all the way past the base without touching it, he gave up his right to the base. They may have still lost because of all the points Greg mentioned…the Mets made some mistakes here. But they didn’t deserve to lose like THAT. A play like that should not have been rewarded, and it was here.

    Joe Torre and all of MLB should be embarrassed. If UTley gets the base because the wrong call was initially made, why doesn’t the same logic apply that Tejada didn’t tag the base or runner for the same reason? The common sense ruling was out at second, run scores.

    For what it’s worth, every analyst on SNY & TBS except Cal Ripken thought it was a dirty play. Kudos to Ron Darling for disagreeing with a HOF-er on national TV.

    I am utterly disgusted, but circumstance sometimes opens the door for unlikely heros. Karma is a bitch. Hopefully the baseball gods agree and right the wrong swiftly and definitively.

  • sturock

    I wrote this last night, I will write this again: When will MLB outlaw these dirty slides? This is not”the way the game is supposed to be played.” Enough already. One thug has now hijacked this entire series and made it about violence and vengeance instead of about baseball.

  • Mikey

    we are all so furious and rightly so. I thought reading about it and seeing reactions from fans, players and front office types would be therapeutic but it’s only making me more furious. Because it won’t change the outcome. I hope the Mets take it out on the Dodgers by just winning, but it won’t take the bad taste out of my mouth and the wondering what might have been if this was called the correct way. I think giving Utley second base after that was adding insult to, well, you know

  • Kicking dodger ass the next two games will be the best revenge. Tomorrow the team from los angeles should be walking into a buzzsaw. Make it so Mets. Make it so.

    Also want to smack ripken for his “It’s not as bad as it looked,” comment. The only guy on TBS who was not accepting of that slide was Darling. Shame on them.

    • sturock

      You are absolutely right. I am sick of these old-school guys excusing all manner of mayhem because “it’s the way the game has always been played.”

  • dmg

    i was livid last night and am still not good company today.

    but while we as mets fans want revenge — and while many of us are still waiting for piazza to pound clemens for his roid-rage abuse in 2000 — there’s only one way to get it. just win, baby.

    that’s why collins was so freakin meek after the game: he doesn’t want to give the umps or mlb any excuses to continue this disgraceful mugging.

    everyone who’s hoping for payback from harvey is rooting for an early ejection. same with any hard slides any mets might offer up.

    i don’t want the team to have a collective meltdown the way the cardinals did in 1985 after the denkinger call. i want them to beat these putzes at citi so that the dodgers get spanked on national tv without ever getting back to l.a.

    and so that utley in his retirement and dotage shall be remembered as a dirty player.

    let’s go mets, just get to the next round.

  • Steve2916

    MLB must suspend Utley for the rest of the series and deny any appeal immediately.

  • Dave

    If we can momentarily focus on simply the outcome of game 2, leaving LA with a split against the best 1-2 starting pitching punch in baseball is not a bad thing. We took HFA away, if that even means anything…so far in this postseason (all series, not just this one), it doesn’t mean much.

    It wasn’t surprising to see the Mets look very deflated after what should have been a flag, a 15-yard penalty and an ejection – which it would have been in an NFL gladiator match – and I’ll even let Addison Reed off the hook. Watching that happen to even a guy who’s been your teammate for just over a month would throw just about anyone off (and among the most eloquent post game comments came from Kelly Johnson, he who just over 2 months ago thought putting on a Mets uniform was really weird). They have time now to refocus and do what they have to do. As for Utley, I can’t help but put this into the context of him knowing it’s very unlikely that he’ll be playing in the field in this series, therefore no chance for an eye-for-an-eye revenge…therefore, he’s the same type of chickenshit coward as Clemens. And of course due to baseball’s silly due process rules, even if he is suspended right away, he gets to appeal it and keep playing. And as many have commented, if this happened to a star, I can’t help but think the punishment would be swift and severe…as someone tweeted last night, if Utley had done that to Jeter, baseball would already have sent him to Guantanamo.

    But since tomorrow night is the first game of the series at Citi, do they do full squad introductions once more? If so…well, I don’t even need to finish that sentence, do I? I anticipate some hearty “Utley sucks” chants throughout the evening, maybe even on the 7, and if I don’t hear them, I’ll start them. More than ever, LGM! #WinForRuben

  • Seth

    Yes, by all means let’s express our outrage as loudly and articulately as possible. I’m sure MLB will look at the replays and change the outcome of the game for us. Oh wait, they won’t. The outcome is still the same.

  • eric1973

    Any suspension for the illegal ‘late slide,’ which Bruce Lee would have been proud of, would probably take effect next season. And Utley is not a starter, so he personally is untouchable at this point.

    Mets behaved the same way on the field as when Utley did this same thing 15 years ago — wish somebody would have had Tejada’s back (Larry Bowa-like) while he was lying on the ground. Too meek, and too bad.

    Torre needs to come out today, say the call was blown, and that interference and a DP should have been called.

    And for him to be ruled safe on this, when he should have been out due to interference, is a further disgrace Torre needs to address today.

    • Matt in Richmond

      From an emotional point of view, I agree with you. From a practical point of view, baloney. Retaliating would only leave led to suspensions, meaning we would have lost more than just Tejada.

      • Matt in Woodside

        That’s what is irritating. If MLB is going to award Utley a base for that dirty slide because that type of thing was OK in 1940s hard-nosed ‘Murican Basebaw, then they should turn a blind eye to the retaliation too, because Utley deserves to get head-hunted for what he did, and that is also “how the game used to be played.” I hope he somehow comes up against Robles because I think that dude will actually throw a haymaker if the benches clear in this one.

        But you’re right. We’re destined to stare downs or suspensions. And I don’t WANT the game to be about retaliation, but OMG that slide was so dirty and that call was so ridiculous! Ridiculous on so many levels that it made me believe there was some order from the offices in New York to keep the series close, because major market TV revenue or something.

        • mikeL

          was thinking similarly, but more along the lines of there being much money on the dodgers, in the form of their ridiculously bloated payroll/the partners behind that money/the all-out desire for return on investment.
          we already know anout corrupted officiating in the major sports. events like the take-out and the opportunity to ‘change the game’ from the MLB front office are a reality that must be considered when the call is so utterly confounding.
          i don’t understand why TC let the reversed call stand without an ejection. was he caught off-guard by the seeming impossibility of it?
          and while i generally abhor violence in sports, somebody on the mets needed to step up and give one for the team.
          having failed that, yes i do hope we see much brushback pitching inside, elbows on the basebaths and mets hitters top-to-bottom visualizing utley’s face on the ball each time they square up.
          don’t let up.
          humiliate the dodgers on national tv, in our house.
          celebrate mercilessly…and hope the dodgers busses get stuck in the citi lot until each and every velebrating fan has left the premises!

          let’s go mets. all the way.
          and on the way, fukc LA!

  • Usha

    Shitty baseball.
    Worst umpiring ever.
    Wtf with TC not going ballistic?
    Now we run behind every guy called out and double tag him (just to be sure) like a OCD sufferer.
    Ugly win. Just like their fans.

  • eric1973

    Unsaid so far is that we have no reliable relief pitching to get us out of 7th inning jams like last nite. Thor was the best option, though probably was removed at the right time.

    I still have more confidence in Clippard than I do Reed — more bulldog in him.

    • Matt in Richmond

      I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think Robles is the next best option. Yes, he’s unseasoned, but he has the most upside of the lot.

  • rich porricelli

    Really I never considered Reuben a good shortstop, lousy footwork , iffy glove , so-so arm..If he was a star player I doubt it would have mattered to the powers that be in MLB..Hes hit better recently so he gets the nod over Flores..

    Reading the above posts is an interesting mix of good insight and pure, I don’t understand playoff baseball BS.. Its not ‘old school crap ‘..Its our game on another level..

  • Lenny65

    Horrible joke of a call, just embarrassing. Revenge is most definitely called for. If this doesn’t fire up the troops nothing will.

  • I wonder what Joe Torre’s statement would have been had St. Jeter been on the receiving end of Utley’s roll block…

  • 9th string

    Compelling, really, since Utley has good numbers against Harvey. Having him scared out of lineup could be a good thing. But key is sending these losers home for the winter. No beanball. Instead, be merciless on the base paths – run over a few people, throw some elbows. Make them pay everu time they’re running something out.

  • Lenny65

    Even if the slide was OK (which it was not) he NEVER TOUCHED THE BASE! He jogged off the field immediately! The ump, who was STANDING RIGHT THERE called Utley out! It was the most confounding thing I’ve seen since Clemens threw the barrel of a bat at the batter’s head and no one did anything. I can accept a loss, I never expected a sweep, going home tied 1-1 is not a bad place to be. But getting jobbed like that is just infuriating. They started a rally by intentionally breaking Tejada’s leg. Just unreal.

    We need Harvey, if he throws one at someone’s head we lose a SP for the day. The best retaliation would be to destroy the bogus Dodgers at Citi and celebrate right in front of their filthy dirty faces. Let’s ruin them at home.

  • Bob

    Mets fan since Polo Grounds–1963–now live in LA-
    LA Times sports section admits Utley’s slide was out-of bounds–BUT since they (Dodgers) have not been to World Series in 27 years–eh—–
    Dodger players including Greinke say very little–
    I have not been this angry since Clemens-Piazza-at least back than I flew to NY for game 3 @ Shea for some satisfaction….(did not end well as we all recall)
    Utley is drek,slime, filthy, low life–,May the Baseball Gods take care of this travesty.
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • open the gates

    Last night I suggested in this space that Matt Harvey should teach Chase Utley a lesson, and all would be forgiven. Upon reflection, I realize that I spoke (wrote) in anger and haste. We need Matt to give us his alloted innings tomorrow, especially since he’s opposed by whatsisname. Let the Met players take out their revenge on the baseball. Let Cespedes and Co. make the Apple jump around. And let’s leave Mr. Utley to the tender mercies of the Citi Field crowd. They’ll know what to do.

  • argman

    I don’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest, but if one of our guys had done what Utley did, we’d be rationalizing it. That doesn’t mean I think it was a good or fair play, or that the umpires ruled correctly. Obviously it wasn’t and they didn’t. And I don’t wish anything terrible on Utley, but something like a rare and chronic skin disease would be ok.
    I also agree that now is not the time to get even. But next year… and let’s hope we don’t re-sign Shawn Estes.

    • Rob E.

      I thought this at first, but after thinking about it more, I’m going to disagree with you. Playing hard to win is one thing, winning in a way that leaves a stench is another thing. Ask Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens or the Patriots. The series is tied, but they didn’t beat the Mets; they won on a dirty play and a completely idiotic ruling (made even more idiotic by the fact that they have now suspended Utley. Oops….) And everyone in their heart of hearts knows that.

      This series is tainted. I can’t believe any true fan of any team really wants that. I know I wouldn’t.

  • JK

    You missed a great quote from that 2007 Phillies game. This was crew chief Joe West backing up Bucknor’s interference call against Anderson (keep in mind that Marlon says he actually touched the bag):

    Said West: “He did not touch the bag, nor could he have touched the bag. The way he slid, C.B. Bucknor, the second base umpire, called the play as he should….I would say he intentionally went after the fielder for the purpose of breaking up a double play. …(Bucknor) made a great call, and he made a gutsy call he should be commended for. This is a big series, a big game, and he didn’t back down from the call at all. Granted, that’s a tough way to lose a game. There was a lot of tension out there on the field. But he made the right call.”

    Wow. That pretty much says it all.

  • I’m not in favor of putting Harvey at risk by throwing at Utley’s head.

    I just want to win and send the Dodgers and Utley back to an early fall.

    Let’s win.

  • Inside Pitcher

    I am so fucking pissed off. I can’t even process what happened because when I think about it my mind scrambles.

  • Eric

    Utley and Rollins on the Dodgers … the 2007 collapse is going to bite and claw before letting go.

    The Phillies Dodgers. Mets middle infield defense. Mets bullpen other than Familia. One thing about play-off baseball that sets it apart from regular season baseball is in the play-offs, vulnerabilities are found and magnified.

    The Mets have depth all over the field, but SS was the thinnest position with Tejada as the only true SS. After Flores and maybe including Flores, Uribe was the best suited to back up SS, but Uribe is out, too.

    Campbell and/or Johnson backing up SS is problematic.

    Reed simply cannot be called on with inherited runners on base.

  • Brad

    As bad as this loss is, lost partially in the shuffle is the fact that, aside from Familia, the bullpen is terrible.

    One thing that worries is whether this is a momentum shifter like game 4 of the 1988 NLCS, a game I will never forget. I hope not.

    • Matt in Woodside

      I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt in that game. Everyone was rattled. Even Colon looked upset after that happened and that guy has seen it all. And then the mind blowing decision to give Utley second even though he never touched the bag. He was out on interference. He was out via the neighborhood play rule. He was out via the ruling on the field. I’m still not clear why there was sufficient evidence to overturn the call on video, when the original call wasn’t even reviewable, but he was also out because HE LEFT THE FIELD WITHOUT EVER ATTEMPTING TO TOUCH SECOND BASE.

      Joe Torre’s excuses are incomprehensible. The runner is safe and doesn’t have to touch base because he was called out incorrectly, but the guy with the broken leg could have gotten him out by making a precautionary tag of second before getting carted off the field? What? The inning should have been over after Reed induced that popup. Anytime the umps give a playoff team four outs in an inning, seems like it raises the odds of scoring runs no matter who is pitching.

      • Rusty

        Ahem….five outs.

        • Matt in Woodside

          Now that Torre and the MLB have suspended Utley for an illegal slide you are absolutely right.

          Great job Dodgers and Dodger fans. You scored four runs on five outs in the seventh Saturday. Good game!

      • Brian G

        Seriously. I haven’t heard that addressed one time. Is the dugout not out of the basepath?

        He may have been called out “incorrectly” based on whatever backwards logic the umps employed, but that only accounts for one of the three reasons he was out on that play. Even Utley knew he was out. That’s why he slid into left-center and jogged straight off the field.

        If there’s one thing the 2015 Mets have shown, it’s resilience. We outpitched their aces. We took Game 1. Now Harvey takes the mound in Gotham and Flores gets another chance to be a hero himself.

        2015 METS — THE TEAM OF DESTINY

    • Steve2916

      I don’t think it’s a momentum-shifter. In Game 4, the Scioscia game-typing HR occurred in the ninth inning with the Mets holding a two-run lead.

      In Game 2 this year, the play occurred earlier. I’m not worried.

  • Matt

    Harvey has got to make him dance. Aim for the guy’s bad knees.

  • Rusty

    I’ve always sorta given Utley a pass on his Phillies-ness because (like me) he’s a UCLA Bruin. I’ve always stood up and cheered for the guy, ’cause he’s one of my own.

    But…I’ve been bleeding blue and orange much longer than I’ve been bleeding blue and gold. Utley’s dead to me.

    The worst offender in all this is MLB and that fu*kstick Joe Torre. A precedent has been set…there’s no such thing as a neighborhood play or interference…guess it’s open season on shortstops. How can they call it against the Mets now?

    I never want to see any player get hurt – not a Yankee, Phillie or even a Trojan – but I wouldn’t mind seeing Gonzales, Turner or Seager get one on the hands tomorrow night.

  • Guy K.

    Don’t expect Harvey to throw at any Dodgers who are Scott Boras clients.

    • Rusty

      Looking at you, Hansel Robles.

      • mikeL

        yes was thinking the very same.

        so that POS utley gets a 2 game suspension.
        seems like that does 2 things:
        protects him in the sure-to-be-hostile environment of nyc. will he even travel with the team now or does he avoid the need to actually EAT FOOD in the city whose shortstop he maimed?
        it also allows the dirty, malicious play, and he effect it had on the game, to stand.
        i wouldn’t be surprised if it was utley who requested the suspension out of fear – his appeal being for the appearance that collusion was not involved.
        in the most just of worlds, a foul ball off the bat of a met, but preferably from that of murph or wilmer, will find utley’s face in the phillie dugout and complete the…yes putout.
        but first he needs to travel with the team.

        • mikeL

          *LA dugout.
          POS utley will always be a phillie.
          may his despicable act wake the sleepting giant that is the mets…and may he forever be reviled by all in LA for marking the beginning of the end of that bloated-payroll-franchise’s slide into irrelevance.
          and yes :
          heal up rueben.
          thanks you for a gutty and well-played season.
          and may you and your teammates get the ring.

          first let’s completely clobber the dodgers and send them home in a pitiful emotional state.

  • Eric

    Matt Reynolds called up to back up Flores at SS.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Too angry to write anything intelligible. So I’ll leave you with this thought.

    Fut you, Chase Uckley.

  • Lenny65

    And somewhat lost in this is poor Reuben Tejada. This guy has been sticking around for years while we all patiently (LOL) waited for someone better to come along to replace him. He played his competent brand of SS for some really bad boring teams and finally he made it to the postseason with a chance to forever etch his name into Mets lore. Then he gets cheap-shotted into an off-season full of painful rehab work instead. Reuben earned his shot the hard way and he lost it even harder. Poor guy. Best wishes, Reuben.

    • Jacobs27

      Yeah, totally. I feel for him.

    • Eric

      The play-offs were Tejada’s time to shine, too, because his one above-average skill, particularly batting out of the 8-hole, is his ability to grind out at-bats that’s tailor-made for the play-offs, like the walk he drew on Kershaw in the 7th inning of game 1 or the walk that Hernandez drew on Syndergaard in the 7th inning of game 2. Those are game-changing ABs.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Great, now our backup shortstop (and he’s no backup at all, certainly not for defensive purposes) is a guy who hasn’t had an at-bat in over a month, who has NEVER had an MLB at bat, and who hit all of .267 with 6 HRs in Triple A, in the best hitters park in the western hemisphere.

    PS: TWO games. How convenient, keeps him away from NY Fans, but allows him to get his standing O in LA. I think I’d be fine with a suspension for the whole series but this is a chickenshit move by MLB simply to prevent further embarrassment at their incompetence.

    • Dennis

      That jerkoff won’t get a standing O in LA if the Mets take care of business and kick some Dodger ass in Games 4 & 5.

  • Rob E.

    Some LA Times coverage, if you are interested:

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/la-sp-dodgers-mets-plaschke-20151011-column.html

    Thanks to the Internet & Twitter, This has turned into anther fascinating study of humanity. It’s been about 90% anti-Utley across baseball, and the people defending him (even the non-morons) are having a hard time sounding reasonable. I don’t know if anyone saw Sean Casey’s (who is said to be the nicest guy in baseball) comments on MLB network last night, but he was defending Utley and Brian Kenny just tied him up in a knot and made him look like an ass. Most of those people are sticking to the “that’s the way he was taught” line…NO ONE is taught THAT. Why can’t they just admit that the intent may have been acceptable, but the execution crossed the line? It doesn’t mean he’s the devil because he broke Tejada’s leg, but “playing old school hard” doesn’t make everything that comes AFTER that acceptable, either.

  • Steve D

    I have heard every argument for and against Utley and my own opinions have fluctuated. This may be the first time anybody has been suspended for such a slide and it’s a great first step. There should be no understanding that if you simply can touch second base, you can slide way off to the side and take out a fielder. Sliding is meant for a runner to get down to avoid a tag and to be able to stop without over-running a base. Utley was not avoiding a tag and did not stop at the base, but went rolling through it. The proper way to break up a double play is to get to the bag as fast as possible and pop-up on your slide to get in the fielder’s way…but you could also be low-bridged by the throw, so do so at your own risk. The true villain is MLB for never policing this properly.

  • Brian G

    It seemed to me like Utley could’ve been called out for a number of reasons.

    One that I have not heard addressed is that Utley clearly did not touch the base — before, during or after the takeout — and then ran to the dugout, which is not only out of the basepath but out of the field of play.

    Even without considering Tejada missing the bag (neighborhood rule should have applied) or whether or not Utley’s slide was dirty (it was), he should’ve been called out because he left the field without ever touching the base.

    The officiating in this series has been abysmal. Once again, baseball proves to be an enigma.

  • Steve D

    The following slide makes Utley look like a little leaguer…again I cannot vilify the guy when this has been going on for years without penalty…at least they are doing something now.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIiYw53nGd0

    • Rob E.

      I think that McRae slide was more obviously interference, but not as dangerous physically. Randolph was facing him and he rolled into his thigh. But that was a BAD CALL also! Less so considering who was victimized, but it was a bad call. What’s the point of “precedence” if your point of reference is going to be bad calls?

      The point isn’t that players shouldn’t play hard — I commend Utley for that — but he crossed the line. Think about this…a fielder on the third base side of second base got a BLUNT FORCE injury from a guy who didn’t even bother to touch the base. He didn’t get his leg twisted or land wrong, it was broken from impact. With all due respect to the old school guys, THAT has NOT been happening for 100 years. Sliding hard is one thing, impacting a fielder who is BEHIND THE BASE, while you are airborne, hard enough to break his leg, is another thing. I’m tired of these “he was told to break up the DP and he did, so there” guys. Why not just take a bat out there and hit shortstops over the head then?!?!? You’re supposed to break up the DP WITHIN THE RULES.

  • eric1973

    Very disturbing, as stated, that TC did not go ballistic when interference was not called.

    Would have done no good, but how about playing the game under protest???? To get Torre on the record with more of his ridiculous comments, regarding ‘judgement’ calls.

    BTW, not the ‘neighborhood play,’ I think, because an errant throw was involved, and it was more than just an average-effort play.

    • Matt in Woodside

      I don’t find anything about Collins’ reaction “disturbing.” I think MLB’s review of that (unreviewable) play, subsequent awarding of second base to Chase Utley, and then telling Collins that this pretzel logic call could not be appealed is disturbing. I think Collins was trying to wrap his brain around what the hell just happened, while worrying about his shortstop getting an air cast fitted on his leg five feet away. Watching Collins deliberately get himself ejected wasn’t going to make the team any more angry or motivated after that sequence of events. Collins was on his best behavior during the press conference afterward too. The last thing any of us want to see tonight would be warnings issued prior to first pitch.

  • Jimbo

    Game 2, the correct call of the umpire at second base would have remained intact (2 out/runner on 1st). It’s a shame that did not happen. We would be allowed to marvel at Reuben’s ability to secure the baseball in his hand through a violent collision and ground impact…oh almost forgot, his leg was breaking and/or broken through it all.

    At the moment of impact, the ball was being transferred for a throw. He then flew through the air with his leg snapped in two. On his mind: securing the second out by not losing control of the ball!!

    He was not thinking of his career or if Chase Utley was late or dirty; only that Utley will be safe if this ball hits the ground.

    On the ground and clearly in shock, Ruben managed to present a ball to the umpire in his right hand. His last contribution to the 2015 Mets this year was a critical second out in a game that needed to remain tied.

    Could go either way from there but he did give his guys a chance to win it with a big hit. Remarkable!

    As he lay there in distress and waiting for help, I’m glad he didn’t know his finest moment was about to be stolen away from him. In a game that big, I doubt there has been a more courageous OUT made in the infield.

    I know he’s not happy to have hurt another player but Chase Utley keeps talking about himself and how hard he plays the game…but….Tell us why you didn’t bother touching second…

    The F***ing guy still had the ball. MLB took it away, someone should give it back!