Chase Utley is a hard nosed player and a guy who plays the game the right way (I know some of you hate that cliche, so I brought it out just for you). He has no track record of dirty play in his past, which is what makes this strange. David Wright has a problem with the way Utley slid into second base to break up a potential double play ball. Wright, the unofficial leader of the Mets, said it was unwarranted and borderline. Disagree? Me too.
I’ll preface this argument by saying I respect the hell out of Wright – more than most other MLB players, too. He’s one of those guys you wish you had, even though he resides in a city you may loathe during baseball season. This is seemingly out of character for him. If Wright hadn’t been so outspoken about the hard slide, it would have gone down as just another play. Yes, the Phillies announcers took note of it, but in my opinion, it looked like a good hard slide. Utley was well within the basepath and slid just as he got to the base, a more than legal play.
The Mets seem to want to “handle” this situation tonight, whatever that means. They’ll likely hit Utley, which has happened several times before. But it makes little sense.
Ruben Tejada, the Mets second baseman that took the brunt of the hit, seemed OK with it after last night’s game, which should tell you something. Perhaps Wright is teeming from his teams inability to win games. Frustration may have boiled over, which is understandable. But to call out Utley on a play that is well within the rules of the game is absurd.
I will ask this: if you were on the other side, would it have looked clean to you? Try to approach it as a Mets fan or player. Would you stand for that if it was the other way around? Tough call, but in the end no one was injured, so chalk it up as a gritty play by a guy that just want to win, and will at any cost.
So, as he usually does, Chase Utley will take first base after being hit by a pitch. He’ll run up the first base line and if the situation occurs again, you’d better believe he’ll take out the second baseman just as he was taught to.