Perhaps out of a fear on Major League Baseball's part to make sure they didn't have a brawl on their hands at Citi Field, they suspended Chase Utley from playing in both Game 3 and 4, but, as it turned out it didn’t matter after the Dodgers infielder appealed the suspension and was allowed to take the field regardless.
While on the surface a suspension would have been nice, it is too little too late, because it fails to accomplish what should have been done on Saturday, which is getting the correct call. What does a suspension of Utley for just the games in New York, and not the series really say about what Baseball thinks of the slide? What does it really accomplish? What about the umpires who made the horrible ruling to begin with? And how about reviewing the rules of instant replay?
Of course we have no answers to any of those questions and more.
Don’t get me wrong, Utley should be suspended, and fined for his actions. He was reckless, and went out of his way to not only take out a double-play but knock a player into tomorrow with a slide that makes Hal McRae’s slide into Willie Randolph in the 1977 ALCS look tame.
Once baseball suspended Utley, and he appealed, it was only a matter of time before the Player's Union got involved and put a halt to the proceedings. Now Utley will most likely play this series and the playoffs, until a ruling on this is made with an arbitrator during the offseason. And unless Utley retires, any suspension he serves will wait until next year, if at all.
And considering the precedent set in another major sport regarding player suspensions (see Brady vs. the NFL) and the parameters by which a league can go to suspend a player, I wouldn’t put my money on Utley ever serving a suspension.
In addition the fact baseball only suspended Utley for two games and not the rest of the postseason is a joke in itself. It's baseball's way of trying to placate to the Mets, while also acknowledging they had no problem with the slide. If it were Troy Tulowitzki, not Ruben Tejada, who broke his leg, baseball’s response would be far different trust me.
And don’t think this issue ends with just Utley; it will rock the world of Major League Baseball and its institution of instant replay, the way it operates and its affect on the tradition of the game. Instant replay has to be scrutinized this off-season, and the people who run it in New York City should be forced to answer questions as to why and how they botched an obvious interference call.
Then again, Mets fans won on Monday. Why? With Utley’s appeal being delayed, they got the chance to serenade the former Phillies All-Star with a chorus of boos, ‘We want Utley’ and Utley (stinks)!’ That and a 13-4 win was the greatest justice of all.