After years of being tortured by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, the New York Mets finally edged their long time rivals during the NLDS.
By Greg Cambareri
The New York Mets game five victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers meant more than just moving on to the NLCS for the first time since 2006. Their passionate and loyal fanbase was rewarded for their patience. David Wright gets another crack at reaching the World Series.
It’s about time the tables turned.
Before the NLDS started, any Mets fan would have cringed at the thought of Utley or Rollins making a key play to sink the Mets season. After game two, the nightmare was real. Utley not only knocked Ruben Tejada out of the playoffs, but helped his team essentially win game two.
Why did it have to be him that broke Mets hearts? Why couldn’t it have been any of the other 24 players?
Well, revenge is a dish best served cold.
Utley, who has blasted 35 homers and driven in 103 runs over his career against the Mets, finally gets to feel some of the heartbreak that he caused Met fans and players over the past decade. No, he isn’t nearly as dangerous as he once was. Yes, he’s well past his prime. However, he was in a position to beat the Mets like he seemingly has always found a way to do, and came up short. Down a run in the ninth inning of a series deciding game, he flew out to lead off the inning.
The Utley story doesn’t end with just a series clinching loss. While the Mets intelligently chose not to throw at Utley, they will have their chance for retaliation next year, with one of the hardest throwing staffs in the league.
Utley is also 36, so he could choose to retire. At this stage of his career, he’s a bench player and carries a long injury history. If Chase decides to hang up spikes for the last time, he can do it knowing the last game he ever played was a loss to the Mets in a series deciding game. Pick your poison.
As for Mr. Rollins, who has homered 33 times and driven in 122 runs lifetime against the Mets, went just 1-7 in the NLDS. He didn’t make nearly the impact Utley did with his game deciding slide (tackle), but seemingly faded away.
Like Utley, Rollins is not half the player he used to be at age 36, but Mets fans aren’t going to feel any sorrow for a player who has hurt them time and time again.
Surely the memories of 2007 and 2008 still sting. To some extent, those wounds might not ever heal. However, this series win was finally a way of exorcising some of those past demons.
You knew Utley or Rollins were going to make some sort of impact this series, one way or another. Sure enough, Utley’s game two slide did just that. Unlike 2007/08, the Mets didn’t fold afterwards. They answered in the best way they could: winning.
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