Chase Utley angered some people Saturday night with a vicious takeout slide on Ruben Tejada in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 5-2 win over the New York Mets in Game 2 of the teams’ National League Division Series.
Utley slid extremely late while preventing a potential double play, sending Tejada crashing to the ground and breaking the Mets shortstop’s leg. Many former and current major leaguers have since weighed in on the controversial play, with most — not all — being critical.
First, we’ll start with the Mets’ clubhouse, where Tejada’s teammates understandably weren’t happy.
David Wright: “I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels, one being the slide itself. In my opinion, he wasn’t anywhere close to the bag.”
Michael Cuddyer: “That’s not a slide, it was a tackle. It was late and he came down on Ruben’s legs before he hit the ground. So that’s not a slide.”
“It’s up to you to decide if tackling is legal in baseball.”
Kelly Johnson: “If (Utley) hits the ground first I have no problem with it. But he just crushed Ruben in the legs. There has to be a line drawn somewhere.”
The frustration wasn’t limited to the Mets’ clubhouse, of course. Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez criticized the questionable slide on MLB Network after the game.
“That is something that is mind-boggling coming from a second baseman who plays the same position,” Martinez said. “It kind of bothers me to see that, that he went to break up the double play.
“This kid has a family. This kid needs his job. You might jeopardize his career. Who knows?” Martinez added. ” … Why didn’t you slide with a little bit more time. You do have the time to slide a little bit further away from Tejada and still break up the double play.”
As is the case nowadays with most contentious situations, Twitter immediately exploded. Everyone seemed to have an opinion, especially those with big league experience.
It should come as no surprise, but Utley said he didn’t mean to injure Tejada.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley and New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada