In the bottom of the seventh inning of tonight's 5-2 Mets loss to the Dodgers, Chase Utley took out Ruben Tejada with a slide that we can charitably describe as having questionable intent. Tejada was crashed into violently and left the game on a stretcher with his leg in a stabilizing cast. We quickly learned that x-rays were positive and that Tejada would miss the rest of the postseason with a broken fibula.
The resulting play was confusing to all involved. Utley was originally ruled out, but an umpire replay overturned the call on the field and Utley returned to second base, soon to score the go-ahead run. Here's the play in case you haven't seen it yet.
Whether or not this was a neighborhood play, or whether Tejada touched the bag, is not really what's at stake. The salient question is whether baseball wants to continue allowing—or in some cases encouraging—deliberately injurious slides like this to continue. Current and former players reflexively adjudicated the matter on Twitter.
Pedro Martinez nails it.
It bothered me to see Utley's slide and the way he went after Tejada. Being a 2nd base man he needed to think how to break the DP not hisleg— Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez) October 11, 2015
Current Mets Anthony Recker and Logan Verrett are not at all pleased.
I'm very angry about that brutal dirty slide and confused as to how someone can be ruled safe without touching a base????— Anthony Recker (@Anthony_Recker) October 11, 2015
When you start your slide after your whole body has passed the bag....you should be out. We protect catchers from collisions, why not SS/2B?— Logan Verrett (@lverrett4) October 11, 2015
And former SNY field reporter Kevin Burkhardt agrees.
So to recap, a catcher (with gear on) can't block the plate on a close play, but a middle infielder can get absolutely destroyed. Logical.— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) October 11, 2015
Jose Reyes, a shortstop who has seen his share of dirty slides, thought it was a weak slide.
that was a really weak attempt at a slide by utley— Jose Reyes (@lamelaza_7) October 11, 2015
Ditto former Mets infielder Alex Cora.
When your back leg lands pass the bag, it's dirty.— Alex Cora (@ac13alex) October 11, 2015
Former big league catcher Jose Molina didn't like the play.
Dirty play by utley— JOSE MOLINA (@Joeycatch8) October 11, 2015
A's pitcher Sean Doolittle thinks the rulebook needs to be amended.
here's the issue: under current interpretation of rules, slide was legal. for player safety, rule needs to change. https://t.co/oB4DHt3Iy7— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) October 11, 2015
Justin Upton had the tweet of the night. Home plate collisions were banned because of what happened to Buster Posey.
If that was a superstar shortstop we would have a Tulo Rule being enforced tomorrow— Justin Upton (@JUST_JUP) October 11, 2015
Meanwhile, Jerry Hairston thought it was "clean" and "hard nosed."
Tony Gwynn Jr. thought it was fine.
That's good baseball by Mr. Utley right there...— Tony Gwynn Jr. (@tonygwynnjr) October 11, 2015
And for the capper, naturally, Shane Victorino thinks it's a great play.
Always called him one of my toughest teammates...Utley showing why I always called him a winner!!! #MLBPlayoffs— Shane Victorino (@ShaneVictorino) October 11, 2015