Chase Utley’s suspension for his slide into the New York Mets’ Ruben Tejada has been overturned. MLB’s decision reeks of contradiction.
Yes, Utley will not be reprimanded for his near tackle that broke the leg of New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.
MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre made this contradictory statement to the Los Angeles Time’s Bill Shaikin,
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 6, 2016
So Utley violated no rules? That’s certainly ironic, given the new set of rules the MLB has created regarding slides last month. Some of which state,
“A runner sliding into second has to make “a bona fide attempt” not just to slide into the base, but also to “remain on the base”
“Baserunners can no longer use a “roll block” on an infielder to break up a double play.”
It seems “bona fide attempt” will be at the discretion of the umpiring crew because MLB does not define the rule further than that. Anyways, you can’t possibly argue that Utley’s slide was a “bona fide attempt” to slide into and stay on the bag. And for what its worth, Utely did initiate a “roll block” which violates the rules now in place.
If he appealed the suspension and won, then why was the suspension given anyways? While pressure from media and fans was strong, these rules should have been in place years ago to clean up one of baseball’s biggest grey areas.
Technically, these rules weren’t in place at the time of the incident. However, if MLB wanted to enforce the rules they made, Utley’s suspension should have been upheld.
It’s not the two games that’s the issue here, it’s the principle. Why are a set of rules created to protect middle infielders and reprimand illegal baserunners, only for them to be overturned via an appeal?
Does this mean that when a suspension is issued next season and a utility infielder breaks his leg, the length of the suspension won’t matter because it can be overturned by an appeal? Enforce the rules in place, don’t just create them to appease those who are angered by the outcome of a play.
Tejada had has fifteen minutes of fame for a rather unfortunate reason. His leg has healed and he’s expected to compete for a roster spot this spring. But what if it wasn’t Ruben Tejada?
MLB loves to protect its stars. Home plate collisions are now nonexistent after Buster Posey‘s ankle injury. Imagine if Utely broke Troy Tulowitzki‘s leg? Utley’s suspension likely would have been much longer and the new rules regarding sliding would have been much stricter, and in place sooner.
According to MLB, Chase Utley did nothing wrong. MLB’s interpretations of what is and isn’t a legal slide this coming season should be interesting to say the least.