Monday, October 12, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 10/12/2015 - Dodger Links - The Utley Slide

Since this is all the rage since the conclusion of Saturday's game I figured I would address it here.  As you all know, Chase Utley attempted an take-out slide on shortstop Ruben Tejada that was clearly overly aggressive and ill-advised.  No doubt, Utley's goal was to disrupt the play and in doing so injured a defenseless ballplayer - who, if I may add, contributed in putting himself in that position.  That's not to say that one act negates the other.  It's just that Tejada's attempt to make a pirouette and throw was also ill-advised.

Still, Utley's act is clearly more egregious and given the severity of the injury is worthy of rebuke.  But is it worthy of suspension?

With everything being equal, yes, Utley's slide is worthy of suspension, but I hesitate because this is a type of penalty that has not been enforced or enacted all season long.  So a suspension would lack any sense of continuity, but maybe that's the point.  Maybe this situation and the ensuing suspension is meant to push the discussion.  Clearly, the league has made moves over the past several years to protect its players from previously accepted "hard plays"; i.e. the Posey rule.  Additionally, they have been wanting to address the differences between an "illegal slide and a legitimate hard play," and impose penalties for the former.  Torre even said the following about this in his statement regarding the 2-game suspension:
“We have been in discussions with the Players Association throughout the year regarding potential rule changes to better protect middle infielders, and we intend to continue those discussions this offseason.”
The game is definitely changing from what I remember as a kid.  The days of "Baseball being something like a war" is dwindling away, and players and fans alike appear to be demanding that it become more gentlemanly.  And in the whole scheme of things, I can learn to accept that.  If there is one good thing this situation creates for Baseball it is that a more defined rule will be enacted over the winter to specifically address and define this.  As it stands, Utley is suspended 2-games, and as you would expect he has appealed Torre's decision.  Since a hearing is unlikely before the start of tonight's game he will be on the bench for the Dodgers.

On a side note, Jon SooHoo shared several photographs from Saturday's game, and one other take-out slide was featured.  As you can see below, Curtis Granderson is attempting his own slide on Howie Kendrick and inadvertently spiked him on the foot.  The old-school fan inside me sees this as more than acceptable, but I wonder if such an action, accidental or not, would fall under the definition of an illegal slide. 

Photos above via Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers 2015.  Below are more links to check out:
During his Sunday off-day press conference at Citi Field, Mattingly said, "We're 100-percent behind" Utley.
  • Via Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider, "There’s life in the left arm of Brett Anderson."
    “It’s another start. I mean, obviously it’s a little more ramifications and more people and a hostile environment … If I woke up and didn’t have anything, I’d be kind of boring,” he said. “So I need to listen to my heavy metal and kind of rage out for a little bit and get some caffeine and Red Bull in me. Once you get out there and start warming up, the playoff adrenaline kind of ramps up. But you try to treat it just like another start. But once you feel the adrenaline, feel the crowd, it’ll kind of kick in and it’ll be fun.”
  • Via Michael Beschloss at the NY Times, "The Pitcher Time Forgot" - Dan Bankhead.
  • An old friend alert:  Via Sports Illustrated, "Report: Kim Ng among Phillies’ top choices for general manager."
  • Via Bodie Dykstra at the Daily Gammons, "Corey Seager: From Prospect to Postseason."

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