As Matt pointed out in our Z-Cap last night (click here to read) the Mets were downed by the Phillies to lose their 6th game in a row last night. During the 5th inning of a then 1-run game Philadelphia’s second basemen Chase Utley made an aggressive slide into second base in an attempt to break up a would be double play (click here to see the video replay). At the time I don’t think I got an appreciation for how hard and high Utley went in, but in looking at the replay and putting together the stills I feel it was excessive.
I understand that being aggressive and going in hard in a close game like that, especially in the heat of a pennant race, is part of the game. Maybe, as a Mets fan, I’m simply just not used to seeing guys play the game with the tenacity of Utley and so perhaps my lack of exposure to this ‘aggressiveness’ is why I thought the slide was excessive. With that being said, I’ve played baseball and watch a ton of it and I have no doubt that if Tejada had not been so agile and were actually hurt on the play, this would not be blowing over as smoothly as it has. Would the Mets have then retaliated? Who knows! Matt had a great quote from Bobby Ojeda that I felt was quite telling:
…the Mets do not protect their own, they are just passive about it…there’s not a lot of fight in this club.”
Here’s a guy from the ’86 team, which was hard nosed and didn’t take crap from anyone (in fact they were routinely dishing it out) all but saying these guys are the last word in the song O.P.P. (just needed an excuse to check out this old school video). As far as retaliation goes, it needs to happen, clean play or not. If the clubhouse felt it was within the rules of the game then so be it, there are ways to retaliate within the rules of the game. Michael Baron of Metsblog.com did a great job recapping the players reaction to the slide (click here to read) and as Andy McCullough of the NJ Star Ledger pointed out last night:
At the time, the Mets bench was upset. But the team did not immediately respond. Starter R.A. Dickey pitched one more inning, and Utley did not come up to bat. So the responsibility falls to Dillon Gee, today’s starter. Or, of course, anyone who chooses to slide into second.”
While Gee has been earning his stripes based on his fine pitching over the past few weeks, today he steps into a situation in which he can prove himself as a teammate and I hope he, or anyone that needs to get dirty while going into second base, make the appropriate decision.
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