I get it. The Dodgers have not sniffed the World Series since 1988. In 2008 and 2009 they were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS and in 2013 & 2014 bounced from the playoffs by the St. Louis Cardinals. I can talk about 1995, 1996, 2004. and 2006, which were all NL Division Series losses. Despite all of the failures, they have had really good teams and have been very fortunate to see years of playoff runs since 1988 (unlike the Mets). This year was set to be different. They have amassed the largest payroll in 2015 and wanted to set a tone for this year’s playoffs. That is why they signed Chase Utley.
They have two of the best pitchers in the game and yet they have so much difficulty getting these post season wins that is it so frustrating to their fan base and to ownership. Of course, Mets fans can understand this. 2006 was set to the year they came back into the lime light. They had the tools and they had the talent and yet we are still waiting for Carlos Beltran to swing at that pitch. Back to back collapses in 2007 & 2008 drained all hope that the Mets would ever be a contender again. Then the Wilpons get caught in the Bernie Madoff scam and money becomes so tight that the Mets have to spend years rebuilding through their farm system.
Two teams on two different paths meet up in the 2015 NL Divisions Series. It is a dream season for the New York Mets and it’s back to business for the Los Angeles Dodgers who are determined to get back to the World Series.
Chase Utley is a guy that you love or hate. I get this whole thing people say about him being hard nosed, hard working, and an old school type of player. That is the way he was brought up and that is the way the game should be played. Interesting. You know who else gets described like this? Cal Ripken Jr. comes to mind. I would also say Ken Griffey Jr. as well. I would even go so far as saying Derek Jeter. These three (just as an example, I can name more) were truly the last of a dying breed of baseball players that have always played the game right while maintaining that old school grittiness in a era of baseball filled with primadonnas. I would never put Chase Utley in the same breathe with them.
The slide was late. The slide was dirty. The slide is nothing new to Chase Utley. He has done this before. You can Google a video from a few weeks ago against the San Diego Padres or you can Google 2010 when (as a member of the Phillies) he took out Tejada in a similar fashion. Old school right? Are we talking Pete Rose via Bud Harrelson 1973 old school? Or are we talking Hal McRae via Willie Randolph 1977 old school? Are we also calling the Brett Lawrie slide into Alcides Escobar injuring his knee earlier this year a hard nosed play too? I think people need to take a real cold hard look at how they categorize players and their style of play.
I can easily say that Ruben Tejada is a hard working, hard nosed player that busted his ass to win his spot at short stop back from Wilmer Flores. That kid has had to live in the shadow of Jose Reyes and battled back to be a player that can take pitches when needed and give you some offense when least expected. He is one the best middle infielders in the system and never complained. He showed up everyday to play. Fractured Fibula.
I know, It’s just baseball right? There are other world issues more pressing so I commend you for staying with me this far but I laugh when I see people saying that Mets fans are being juvenile in their reaction or that perhaps Major League Baseball over reacted by suspending Utley for a play they deemed legal on the field. But let me just make this point, had this been Troy Tulowitzki, a superstar player, that makes millions instead of a guy is making just over the league minimum, I think there would be different reaction.
Don’t believe me? Ask every catcher after the Buster Posey injury.
But, hey, the
tackle slide was legal right? Major League Baseball thought so (at the time). Yet, just about every middle infielder who has commented on this has said the slide was illegal. So by saying people are being juvenile about this is absurd. But hey, a win is win right? Enjoy Dodger fans, while it lasts.