Because no umpire seems to ever call it, the Mets were pretty much assured of a loss in yesterday’s game against the Dodgers, pretty much assured of having little chance of advancing in the playoffs and definitively assured of having had their shortstop’s leg broken by a completely illegal “slide”.
Somehow the illegally sliding player, Chase Utley of the Dodgers, though called out, though having never touched second base, was awarded second base anyway. The umpires obviously, and incredibly, had decided upon further review that shortstop Ruben Tejada had not touched the bag for the force out.
First, there simply wasn’t conclusive video to overrule the original call on the field. All that was visible was a blurred magnification that was hardly conclusive. But what was extremely evident from the video is that Utley was both past the bag and outside the base path when he barreled into Tejada. That should have been an automatic out and other runners would not have been able to advance. (The Dodgers scored on the play.) But the complacency of Major League Baseball has created the environment where certain rules are not enforced. You couldn’t get a much clearer example of that than yesterday’s debacle at second.
Because a leg was broken on this illegal play, MLB will finally do something revolutionary like enforce the rule. Small solace for Ruben Tejada and the New York Mets.