In Case You Missed It: Chase Utley’s Dirty Play Breaks Ruben Tejada’s Leg In NLDS
October 11 / Tanya Ray Fox / SportsGrid
We are smack dab in the middle of one of the best times of the year for sports fans. College football is in full swing on Saturdays, we've got our precious NFL Sundays and the MLB playoffs have begun. Plus this Saturday, Americans were particularly blessed by the sports gods by even getting a huge Mexico vs. USA showdown for the CONCACAF Cup, played in front of an absolutely epic crowd at the Rose Bowl.
Needless to say, there was a lot of channel flipping going on. That's why you can hardly be blamed if you missed the dirtiest play of the weekend go down in the least likely of places; the baseball diamond.
That's right, while there was a goddamn Mexico vs. USA soccer match happening a few miles away packed with 100 thousand people in Pasadena, it was at Dodger Stadium that an athlete had their femur broken.
In the bottom of the seventh inning of the Dodgers' 5-2 win over the Mets in Game 2 of the NLDS, baserunner Chase Utley knocked full speed into Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada at second base in an attempt to break up a double play. In an even more curious twist to the play, Utley was originally called out; but upon the replay review he was ruled safe because Tejada never touched second base.
Yet if you watch the video below, you will see that Utley didn't touch second base either. Everything about his slide appears to be targeted at only one spot; Tejada's legs. See for yourself:
If you're seeing any base touching in that video then god bless you, because I definitely don't. Not only was Utley never safe, but he demolished the guy with the ball that could've tagged him. According to this Jared Diamond tweet quoting the MLB rule, the result should have been a double play.
There is a lot of bad, game-changing refereeing going around in prime time these days, and each one seems to be worse than the last. It's one thing to make that call on a bang-bang play that happens in real time just once. But when you have time to see that on replay, it's impossible to defend. Former professional baseball player and current ESPN analyst Alex Cora summed it up best:
Yup, it's as simple as that. It's really not that difficult. There are people trying to defend the play as a clean "hard-nosed" play and blaming Tejada for not "protecting himself around the bag," but anyone with even a general grasp of how baseball works can see that it would have been impossible for Tejada to do his job by catching the ball and attempting to make the out while simultaneously avoiding Utley's clearly intentional collision.
Hopefully the Mets can bounce back from this unnecessary loss of an important player and continue to play well in a so-far competitive series. The Dodgers were not exactly national fan favorites heading into the playoffs, and it looks like they have just earned a few more haters.
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