On Sunday it was revealed that Chase Utley's two-game suspension would be lifted. In Game 2 of the National League Divisional Series against the LA Dodgers, Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada was a victim of a particularly hard slide from the former arch-nemesis Phillies second baseman turned Dodgers' second baseman. In an almost fitting way the Philadelphia Phillies through the actions of the now Dodgers second baseman was able to get one back on the Mets in 2015.
Originally it was set for Utley to serve a two-game suspension for intentionally sliding past the bag into the shortstop, a violationb that was already in the rulebook as noted by Brian Kenny on MLB network only hours after the incident occurred only for Major League aseball to change the rule and make it more specific even though it didn't need to. The new rule was set so that both the second baseman or shortstop would have to step on the bag instead of the neighborhood play and that baserunners would not be able to slide past the bag in any event. So now it looks like the takeout slide at second base has been 100 percent outlawed.
Utley has been playing baseball longer than most fans have been watching, all while playing for the Phillies. For many Met fans, Utley was an actual redeeming quality of the Philadelphia Phillies in the mid to late 2000's. A mid to late 2000's Phillies that consisted of everybody's "favorite" shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, the pitcher that called the Mets "a bunch of choke artists", Cole Hamels, the Met killer himself, Pat Burrell, along with players like Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Howard, and of course Jayson Werth just to name a few.
Was he a fan favorite in Philadelphia?
Absolutely and he still is today.
Did he play the game the right way?
Does this one slide tarnish his image around major-league baseball?
I personally don't think so; but some may say that it will. I believe that Utley is still a classy player and was just trying to help his team win a ballgame. As a fan of the opposing team in that situation, of course you're going to be upset when the result is your what would be now, with the exception of David Wright, your longest tenured player on the team, Tejada, breaking his leg. But now looking back on it, his career should not be judged based on this one play.
Utley was a baseball player that kids in the Philadelphia area could grow up and watch play and strive to be like him on and off the field. I know one player that definitely was influenced by Utley and he's a pretty damn good ballplayer now and his name is tMike Trout. Utley is a six-time All-Star and a four-time Silver slugger award winner at second base.
A career .281 hitter, Utley is sitting currently at 236 home runs and 925 RBIs.
When you look at what major-league baseball was trying to do, ultimately I believe that it's not fair to Utley to have that suspension stand especially since it was a slap on the wrist two-game suspension meant for the postseason. Utley is looking for one more milestone as he is only 75 RBIs short of 1000. With Corey Seager in the mix now in the middle infield for the Dodgers along with Howie Kendrick, it will be interesting to see if Utley, now 37 years old, will be able to stick around long enough and get enough opportunities to reach that mark. And more importantly does Utley get considerations for the Hall of Fame?
The latter seems very unlikely but all I can say is--stay tuned.