If you’ve been following the news recently — and let’s face it, if you’re the kind of person who reads the Shea Bridge Report, you’ve more likely than not been following the news recently — you’ll know that Chase Utley’s suspension, issued for the, for want of a better word, slide that broke Ruben Tejada’s leg, was, earlier today, revoked by the MLB. Joe Torre, MLB’s secretary of emergency press conferences that seem somber and official, stood up and gave a long, tiresome explanation that basically boiled down to John Kasich saying we needed some common sense.
Me, I’m fine with it. Let bygones be bygones, I say. I’m sure Utley is sorry about what he did: now let’s move on.
That’s what I would say if I was lying. I’m not fine with it: I don’t plan to ever be fine with it. Utley deserves a suspension: he deserves a helluva lot more than a two game suspension. But, it is what it is.
In his explanation, Torre cited the fact that there was no rule against what Utley did. Most people seemed to see this as a damn good reason that he shouldn’t be suspended. Sure, it seems logical. But it should raise a few red flags.
For one, the reason there’s no rule against it: Chase Utley committed a slide so terrible that no one had even imagined it realistically enough to make a rule against it. And as soon as it happened, there was immediately a rule introduced against it, with the caveat that hey, the guy who did it before, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He didn’t endanger an opposing player: if he had, there would have been a rule against it!
But as I say, it is what it is. Utley won’t be suspended, and he will, in all likelihood, be on the Dodgers roster when they visit Citi Field from May 27th-29th.
You know what that is? 1986 weekend.
Can you think of a better time for an absolute hoedown of a brawl?
I’m sure someone will plunk Utley a good one for what he did eventually, but I don’t know exactly who it will be. I’m hoping it’s Thor, because he seems to have the temperament, not to mention the velocity, for this kind of job. Also, watching an aging and physically decrepit Chase Utley attempt to charge the mound against Thor, in all his 6’6’’ Texan glory, will be a lot of fun for us Mets fans, while tough to watch for Chase Utley’s family and friends.
Here’s what I’d really like to see: Utley gets hit, and goes down. He charges towards the mound. Then all of a sudden, something crazy happens. Lucas Duda grabs a water balloon from the dugout and puts Utley on his back. Thor pulls a can of pepper spray from his back pocket and puts him down. d’Arnaud, having secretly attached a bungee cord to the back of Utley’s uniform, gives a hearty pull, and Utley goes sprawling.
Then, as the offending party is approached by umpires intent on ejection, they shout to the world, for the TV cameras to see and hear, that the MLB rulebook does not currently contain a rule that specifically prohibits pepper spray, water balloons, or bungee cords.
Utley, this season, will be a bench player, maybe even less. He can’t play anymore. He’s a shadow of his former self, at least in terms of talent – in terms of smugly irritating nastiness, he’s everything he ever was and then some. But on the field, he’s no use to anyone any more. Maybe he’ll be that “clubhouse leader” that everyone hears about. Maybe he’ll teach the Dodgers about the aging curve of a former superstar. But somehow, I don’t see him having much value.
What I’m trying to say is, the Dodgers haven’t got much to lose from a 99 MPH fastball to Utley’s ribs.
I’m sure, after the whole fiasco settles down, that there will be some reflexive team loyalty, some Dodgers blindly claiming to be in Utley’s camp through the whole affair. They’re lying. It’s so blindingly obvious to everyone, even Dodgers fans who still think that they’re sincere in believing Utley not to have done anything wrong, that Utley deserves a good solid plunking, a suspension, and more, that we, the fans, are already debating, almost planning, his plunking, detail for detail. That it’s deserved is beyond doubt.
I can’t help but wonder what Utley himself thinks of this, sitting at home surrounded by Bruce Springsteen merchandise that he bought to help prop up the charade of an All-America, stand-up guy. I don’t think he’s sorry: his interviews after the slide showed that clearly enough. I don’t think he’s scared either: to me, he’s sitting there laughing at us, convinced we’re not tough enough or serious enough to follow through on our big talk of high, hard, fastballs.
Oh, but we’re serious: what we did to his team in the NLDS should be proof enough of that. We’ll welcome Utley into our home in May; maybe we’ll even cheer when we see him, anticipating the show we’re about to get.
Well, that part I doubt. But it will be on our minds.
So we’ll watch, and as Thor or Harvey or deGrom or Matz — all of whom can hit 95+ MPH on the gun relatively easily — rears back and fires, we’ll be ecstatic, almost giddy with glee, because you’ll be just about to get what you’ve deserved for so long.
And then see the pitch coming from our pitcher, who will be 10-14 years younger than you, in substantially better shape, and much more invested in the situation. And you’ll anticipate a pain in your side, or your ribs, or wherever you get hit. And right about then, I hope the following question comes to your mind.
Are you still upset about being, as your agent said today, “unfairly demonized”? Because it so, you’ll need to get ready in a hurry for the hurt that’s coming next.