What in the blue and orange fuck went on last night?
What started as a wonderful tribute to the last Mets team to win a World Series championship devolved into a sideshow of rulebook quoting, chest pounding, embarrassing baseball that will taint the great moment of seeing such an awesome 1986 team reunion beforehand and turn last night into “The Utley Game, Part 2: Electric Boogaloo”.
If you’re reading this, you know the deal. Last season, professional douchenozzle, Chase Utley, broke the leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during the NLDS with what wasn’t so much of a slide as much as it was some kind of rolling tackle that had plenty of intent to injure and was beyond dirty.
MLB ended up changing a rule regarding the process of sliding into the bag during the offseason to help protect middle infielders largely because of the blowback of the Utley slide. The rule is even commonly known as “The Utley Rule”. For his part, Chase Utley received a suspension that was later rescinded by MLB which meant that for doing his part in deliberately injuring another player to the point that they were forced to modify a rule, Utley received zero punishment.
Fast-forward to last night where Noah Syndergaard threw behind Utley and was immediately ejected by home plate umpire, Adam Hamari which directly led to an embarrassing Mets loss by the score of 9-1 to the Dodgers on the strength of two homers (including a grand slam) from Utley, of course.
Twitter and the baseball media erupted in the immediate aftermath that featured the hottest of takes from all angles that way anybody with any blog ever (hey, boo 😉 ) could pump their clicks and get in on the action as quick as possible.
Look, you can get facts and quotes from any number of bloggers and actual reporters. If you’re here, you are interested in what I have to say. Obviously, Thor is my guy. He’s my favorite current player on the team so I’m not without bias, but I have a really hard time believing that pitch “just got away” as he says. His control is far too good to just uncork a fastball that wildly.
So, figuring the pitch was purposeful, I like the fact that it was thrown behind Utley. It was away from him enough to never put him in danger, but sent a message at the same time. That’s fine. Nobody gets hurt and we move on. It certainly seemed like Utley understood (as he really always does, credit where its due) and was preparing himself for the next pitch as Thor was being ejected.
I have a problem with the ejection. As Utley’s slide was done with purpose and reckless intent to injure (nowhere near the bag and didn’t even slide so much as crouching chopblock), this pitch didn’t hit or injure. A warning would have sufficed and everybody could have been done with this. The ejection just further reinforces the small portion of people’s beliefs that the league is out to fuck the Mets (which I disagree with, but people say what they say). Ejection without warning basically just poured lighter fluid on a fire almost ready to expire.
Finally, and this needs to be said, the Mets came off completely bush league last night. Utley is a dick and always has been. Yeah, I get it. But if you were going to retaliate, why the fuck did you wait so goddamn long?
I understand not doing anything in the remainder of the NLDS. Stakes are too high. But if you wanted to do something, it should have been in LA last week where you played a four-game series and not wait until you had the coziness of a sellout crowd in your home park to try to impress the group of fiery brawlers from yesteryear who were being honored.
The 86 Mets pissed off everybody and for good reason, but the times and game have changed. Whether Collins called for this or if it was something Syndergaard did on his own, the fact is that it makes the Mets look like a group of whiners who then – poetically – got their shit pushed in by Utley anyway.
Noah Syndergaard is too talented – and too important to this team – to risk putting in a situation where someone can charge the mound seeking retribution and rip his right arm clear out of the shoulder socket. There is no reason to create an issue when the time has passed.
The Mets are a team that could and should be competing for a playoff spot and giving away games because of some misguided grudge isn’t going to do anybody any favors.
If this was on Syndergaard, then he needs to be pulled aside immediately. We love his talent, his personality and the way he’s able to project the aura of warrior one minute and fun-loving fan of life the next. But this episode makes him look less like Thor the future king and more like the petulant child who attacks Jotunheim and the Frost Giants in a fit of misplaced pride.
We can argue all day about the ejection being warranted or not, but the sad truth is that the Mets and Noah Syndergaard put themselves in a situation they didn’t need to be in and got son’d for it.
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