The next person who tells me (in person, online, in a text…) that what Chase Utley did to Ruben Tejada last night was okay by the rules of MLB so we shouldn’t blame him for what ended up happening is going to make my head explode.
Utley didn’t just come in with a hard slide and knock out the shortstop. He waited until he was practically on second base, ran out of the base path and then decided to slide and wipe out Tejada. (As Ron Darling puts it in the video clip below, “(He) Didn’t even start sliding until he was even with the bag.”)
You can watch it here because this is apparently a video no one wants us to embed.
There’s a questionable slide and Tejada ends up with a broken leg. As if that wasn’t devastating enough, the icing on this cupcake is that eventually the umpires ruled that Tejada didn’t touch the bag, the neighborhood play wasn’t in effect and even though he was originally called out, Utley was safe. After the game the umps said that Utley would have been out had any of the Mets tagged him as he left the field, leading David Wright to say:
“Once obviously the player is called out, you don’t go tag him, especially when you’re lying there with a broken leg.”
The Dodgers ended up taking the lead in this inning and the Mets didn’t come back so they head to Flushing with the NLDS tied at 1-1.
What everyone who is a Dodgers fan or who just wants to annoy Mets fans will tell you is that what Utley did is perfectly legitimate under MLB’s rules. What I (and many other people) will tell you is that is utter bullshit.
It isn’t bullshit that it’s allowed in MLB. OBVIOUSLY it is. It’s bullshit that MLB allows it and that a player like Utley (who has done this before, just not with such horrible results) feels perfectly fine going in that way with the knowledge (regardless of what he says) that someone could get seriously hurt.
“We’re going to have to reevaluate the way we go into second base.”
That was five years ago. No reevaluation. No admission from MLB last night that something needs to be done. Just a young player in the playoffs for the first time in the hospital with what could very well be a career-ending injury. Joe Torre tried to sound concerned but if you read this transcript from last night his concern sounds more for saving Chase Utley’s reputation and defending the umpires than worrying about Tejada or any other infielders getting hurt.
So I’m angry and I have no solutions except to stop allowing players to tackle other players. We hear all the time how bat flips or watching a home run disrespects the game. None of those things will end up with a player being broken. How do you not believe going at someone with no protection and usually no way to avoid you is a legitimately clean play? Maybe it IS finally time that Major League Baseball does some evaluating? I’m not holding my breath.
I was never really a fan of Josh Beckett’s. Young and cocky is definitely not the way to my heart. But that changed on the evening of Saturday, October 25, 2003 when I got a phone call from my sister demanding that I put on Fox to watch the end of Game 6 of the World Series.
Up to that point, I hadn’t watched on second of the World Series or any coverage around it. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you know I’m not exaggerating. 2003 almost made me give up baseball altogether and I knew if I actually watched the Yankees play in another World Series, let alone win it, I might never watch another game.
It was the seventh inning when my sister called and Beckett was cruising. The Yankees starter Andy Pettitte pitched seven innings and closer Mariano Rivera pitched two…but Beckett pitched all nine. By the seventh inning my sister was convinced no one was beating Beckett and she wanted me to watch the Marlins beat the Yankees right there on the field at Yankee Stadium.
I wasn’t as confidant as my sister. While she decided to spite watch the World Series in the hope that the ALCS had worn out the Yankees, I couldn’t bear it. But she finally wore me down and in the 8th inning I put on the game and it was the most glorious patch of baseball I had seen since the final inning of the 2001 World Series. (A joy that also was shared with my sister over the phone…we have a history of enjoying memorable sports moments that way even though we don’t live that far away from each other.) And after that game, Josh Beckett was a hero to me. A flawed hero, certainly, but a hero nonetheless right up there with Luis Gonzalez.
So when the Red Sox traded for him in 2005, I was overjoyed. Hmmm…that could be a little bit of revisionist history. Let’s go look at the archives* and see how I felt:
I am so ready for this Dodgers series. I’m not ready for the rehashing of all the stuff from 2011 and “the trade” but putting the drama aside I’m just ready to see the Red Sox kick it back up.
Regardless of the gut-wrenching extra-innings, one-thirty in the freaking morning, my God why did I stay up for that loss against the Giants, that series was fun and successful and hopefully will help this team get back on track. Right now the Red Sox are 10-10 in the month of August. Not terrible but still too many L’s for my liking. I want more W’s and I want them to come courtesy of the Dodgers.
The Sox won’t be facing Zack Greinke or Clayton Kershaw in this series, although they’ll be facing pretty damn good pitching in at least two of the three games, so at least the Red Sox have a sporting chance here, right? I mean it should be easy to beat the team that is 19 games out of first place (hello, reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants) but the team leading that division by 9.5 games is going to be a bit tougher.
Regardless of how this season turns out, the fact that on August 23rd they are in first place when last year on this date they were 13 games out of first should make us all deliriously happy about this season. I keep telling people this and, for the most part, I believe it myself. But, dammit, these bastards have made me greedy and I want it to keep on going.
If nothing else comes of this season I am absolutely convinced that John Farrell should win the AL Manager of the Year. Given what he has to work with (at the very least with his pitchers), that he’s brought the last place losers of 2012 to first place for the better part of the season in 2013 is damn impressive.
The only things I’m not looking forward to this weekend? 10pm game tonight (which isn’t horrible, at least it isn’t a school night!) and national games both Saturday and Sunday. (Suddenly everyone wants the Red Sox again – although there’s probably that whole blowback from last season where the networks thought the Red Sox would be sucking and they could mock “the trade” all weekend. Sucks to have to look for another storyline, huh?)
Now seems like a good time to remind local folks that you can listen to the Red Sox on WEEI instead of watching it on Fox or ESPN.
…is the major league debut of Felix Doubront ending with his getting his first “W” in the bigs! Felix pitched his five innings to be in line for the win and gave up six hits and five runs (three earned thanks to an error by, of all players, Felix Doubront!) in his debut. He matched his walks and strike outs with two each. Those strike outs? Andre Ethier (he of the .330 average) and Matt Kemp. Not too shabby, Felix.
As impressive was the work Scott Atchison did in relief. (A brief side note: Boof Bonser, we hardly knew ye.) Last night, Atchison threw three perfect innings and struck out a career-high five batters (including, yes, Manny Ramirez watching strike three go by to end the 7th inning). Atchison came up big for the team on national television last week when he was the literal last-minute starter replacing Daisuke Matsuzaka and I’m sure more than a few fans expected to be in the hole 10-0 when his work was done. They weren’t. Against Philly, he pitched the first three innings, struck out two and gave up two runs on two hits (the Sox went on to with the game 10-2). Lately, he’s been a solid, go-to guy out of the bullpen and it pleases me to see the Sox using him like they did last night.
Another home run from Papi, the third of the “hitting the knee” homers from Adrian Beltre and a Green Monster home run that was originally called a double but overturned after watching the replay for JD Drew. These things also made the game a fabulous one to behold. There’s no word yet on JD Drew and his hammie (pulled while making a catch to put out Manny) but all in all not a whole lot to complain about is there?
The Yankees and the Rays both cooperated last night by getting beaten by the Mets and the Marlins, respectively. This means………wait for it…………that the Red Sox are one game out of first place. The Red Sox have the exact amount of wins that both the Rays and Yanks do and have two more losses. Exactly a month ago today the Sox were 8.5 games out of first place (with not only the Yankees and Rays ahead of them but the, currently, 4.5 games out of first place Toronto Blue Jays ahead as well.
Back then, I posted a quote on my Tumblr page from Mitch Williams (currently working on the MLB Network) as told to Dan Patrick for Sports Illustrated:
You cannot win the division in April but at the end of the year the Red Sox are going to be able to testify that you can dang sure lose it in April because I think their season is over.
That a former baseball player could so easily fall into the trap of becoming a knee-jerk reacting talking head is sad. The Red Sox certainly haven’t won the division in June but they ‘dang sure’ didn’t lose it in April did they, Mitch. Say goodbye to your credibility.
Sox go at it again at 4:10pm ET today. Yankees play at 1:10pm and Rays at 7:10pm. Today could be the day the Sox sit atop the division after so many said it was over in May. Make them all eat their words, BoSox.
The last two days have been fabulous baseball days. While the Red Sox were sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Braves and Phillies were taking it to the Rays and Yankees. This morning, with both the Rays and Yanks losing their series, the Red Sox sit two games out of first place. Two games. All of you who called the season over in early May can go jump in a lake now, thank you.
Daniel Nava has 18 major league at-bats and is hitting .444 with a .474 OBP and a slugging percentage of .833. His OPS is 1.307 and he has six RBI, four doubles and a home run under his belt. THIS is the way you make your major league debut. Tonight, Red Sox fans get to enjoy another MLB debut, that of starting pitcher Felix Doubront. Felix is a 22 year-old, left-handed pitcher from Venezuela who has been in the Red Sox organization since he was 17 years old. He started this season in Double A Portland and worked his way up from Pawtucket to Boston tonight. Much luck being sent out Felix’ way and here’s hoping he gets a K or two against Manny Ramirez!
This season hasn’t been easy on the Sox. Currently they’re playing without two of their three starting outfielders (well, Cameron is back but, really only part-time) and without two of their five starting pitchers. For them to be in the position they’re in (two games out of first…have I mentioned that?) with all they’ve had to deal with is a testament to their talent and will. If they can be successful with their starters hurting and bringing in some young blood that makes it all the more enjoyable to watch them.
I am full of mixed emotions over Manny’s return tonight. There is no doubt I want him to fail but I am still not comfortable with the idea of booing him. I’m also extremely uncomfortable with his getting an ovation the likes of Pedro Martinez or Nomar Garciaparra. I wish for silence but know that won’t happen either. All I really know is that I want this weekend to be over quickly and I want the Red Sox to sweep the damn Dodgers.
Compelled to rant a little today:
The “sad” news out of L.A. today is that Frank and Jamie McCourt have separated. I can’t remember ever reading about the breakdown of a marriage between two people I don’t know and being happy about it. My first thought after reading about the separation, though, was “I hope this means she’s leaving the Dodgers too!”.
See, I don’t like Mrs. McCourt. Sure, you could argue that I don’t know her, but what I do know of her makes me want to track her down and ask her why she thinks women are stupid. It’s hard enough for women to be taken seriously in the world, let alone in MLB, without the likes of her making sure that we’re still seen as accessories to the sport and not intelligent fans. I don’t usually do this but it’s a slow Sox day and I’m still not entirely ready to discuss the upcoming LCS games, so I’m going to re-post something I wrote about Jamie McCourt from July of 2006 just to give folks an understanding of why I hope this woman gets as far away from baseball as humanly possible.
Woot! I get George Grande and Chris Welsh calling the game tonight! I love these guys. Also means I’ll probably get to see Bronson’s JTM commercials tonight.
I’m easily amused. 🙂
Yankees are in rain delay and there is a chance of showers in Cincinnati. Here’s hoping I don’t end up having to watch the Rays all night.
7:06 – Chris Welsh just said that Arroyo and Lowe work out together “every day during the off-season”. This explains a lot.
7:07 – George Grande just called them both “former Red Soxers”. Oh my.
7:08 – Bronson is “trotting out to the mound”. This is going to be fun. 😆
7:09 – Bronson’s planning on “taking Derek Lowe deep tonight”. I think my brain just exploded.
7:11 – First pitch strike. So far, no cramp. Yet, Pierre just hit a single off him on his second pitch.
7:12 – 2-0 count on Blake DeWitt. How many times will you have to Google players’ names tonight? 😆
7:13 – 1-3 and there’s one out. DeWitt moved Pierre over to second. Jeff Kent, everyone’s pal, is up. He’s hitting .252 and he’s looking, let’s say a little ‘thick’ these days. What’s he 54 now?
7:15 – Sports for girls who don’t watch sports: Bronson’s hair is looking a little unkempt and sweaty. 😦
7:16 – Upset by my criticism of his hair, Bronson plunks Kent and puts him on base – which brings up Russell Martin.
7:16b – I can’t remember the last time I saw the Reds execute an ‘easy’ double play. And they don’t tonight. We have two outs and men on first and third.
7:17 – James Loney is up and hitting .296. For those keeping score at home, Bronson has adjusted himself seven times so far.
7:18 – Bronson practically picks Loney’s nose with a pitch that Grande calls “a little high”. He then throws a wild pitch that bounces off of David Ross and brings a run in. 1-0, Dodgers.
7:19 – Loney hits it right to second and Bronson is out of the inning. 1-0…could have been worse.
So I figured I’d do a live blog tonight since I’m home and settled in. But the Sox played at 1:05pm today (and won – woo!!!) so what would I live blog? The Cubs/Rays game? What’s the point? It’s on ESPN. So then I looked more closely at the schedule and saw that the Dodgers @ Reds game had two members of the 2004 team starting the games. Derek Lowe and Bronson Arroyo.
How could I NOT live blog that?
I’m wiped from yesterday, cranky about Youk and wanting to not fall asleep at 7pm…so this will keep ME awake and hopefully keep those of you who join me entertained. 🙂
See you at 7:10pm EST!
Okay, so it’s Nationals/Braves, but still REAL baseball!
And it’s on ESPN, so we get to start our Morgan hate right off. All in all, I’m quite looking forward to 8:05pm.
Watching the Sox/Dodgers at the Coliseum last night I was struck by how special it was – unique and all for charity – yet how ridiculous it was at the same time. Sox play the Dodgers today at 4est and then we’re done. No more exhibition games. No more trotting out the Red Sox like some kind of novelty act. The team gets to play for real and we can get back to relatively-normal sleeping habits. 😆
When I started typing this, the Sox game hadn’t started yet. Now, we’re in the 4th inning and Buchholz stunk up the place like cheese. Kyle Snyder is in now to clean up the mess he left. (Fingers crossed as Kyle throws a wild pitch.)
I just want the meaningless games to be over.
And all I did was get up at 4am two days in a row to watch a baseball game.
So how the hell do the Red Sox and A’s players feel this morning?
Exhibition game versus the Dodgers is on MLBtv tonight at 10:40. I had considered live-blogging it, but I truly don’t know if I’ll even be awake when it
beings begins. (to illustrate how tired I was – I didn’t notice that typo until a day later!)
We get through these next three days and are rewarded with real baseball in Oakland. I might just sleep the weekend away!