A day after Chase Utley, in an attempt to break up a double play, barreled over New York’s rookie second basemen Ruben Tejada, Carlos Beltran responded. In the seventh inning of Saturday night’s contest Beltran took off from first base on a softly hit grounder back to the pitcher off the bat of David Wright. Anthony DiComo of MLB.com did a great job of describing what happened next:
Beltran waited longer than usual before entering his slide, attempting to upend whomever he could find. It didn’t work; Valdez managed to avoid the rush and Utley never inched close enough to the bag, prompting Beltran to bemoan, “I wish I would have hit somebody.”
The video replay and the rest of DiComo’s recap can be seen by clicking here and we have put together a few stills to try and recapture the moment (see below).
In the end this felt more like a flick of the ear in response to a slap in the face, but at least that ear was flicked! Ever since Shawn Estes threw an 87 mph fastball several inches behind Roger Clemens in 2002 fans have questioned the team’s concept of retaliation. Heading into tonight’s game many wondered how/if New York would respond to an event which they, despite what anyone else might think, perceived as something that warranted action. Regarding his slide, Beltran later said “It was a message that needed to be sent.” Indeed it was and New York seemed to respond, going on to score 5 runs in the 7th inning. There’s no way to know just how much Beltran getting down and dirty sparked his team’s rally but his teammates, such as Josh Thole, seemed to think it did just that:
I guess you can say we got our pride back a little bit. It’s tough you get knocked down like we did yesterday a little bit. We understand it’s part of the game but if your gonna go in hard expect us to too. When Carlos went in there and got both of them it kinda got a little fire going in us”, said Thole.
According to Beltran, he was just operating according to plan:
Our plan today was to every time we got on first base, we wanted to break up a double play. That’s what I did.”
As I said yesterday, I thought Utley’s slide was a bit excessive but it could be because, as a Mets, I’m simply not used to seeing the game played like that. When Jerry Manuel addressed the slide after the game he didn’t praise it because he felt it was retaliatory, he praised it because it was a hard nosed play, saying:
I’m satisfied with the way guys went [into second base], it brings a level of intensity. That’s the way the game should be played all the time.”
Wow, really Jerry? Whose fault is it that the team DOESN’T play the game with intensity like that all the time? The style of play that drives Philadelphia may in fact be something that should be emulated but at the same time, it’s the job of the manager to lay down the groundwork to do just that. Why did it take a Chase Utley slide, a team meeting, and 154 games for the team to show this level of intensity? Plenty of fingers to point around and I’m not sure I’d argue where any of them landed, but at least one has to be in Manuel’s direction.
Powered by Facebook Comments