Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Chase Utley suspended for two games — will appeal

By Jon Weisman

Major League Baseball tonight suspended Chase Utley for Games 3 and 4 of the National League Division Series for what it said in a statement was an “illegal slide” in Saturday’s Game 2.

Utley is appealing the suspension. The appeal is expected to be heard before Monday’s Game 3 in New York.

The Dodgers issued the following statement: “The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by Major League Baseball. The club will have no further comment at this time.”

MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre outlined his reasons for the suspension in a statement.

“I recognize that there has been much commentary and many questions regarding the unfortunate play in last night’s game in which Ruben Tejada was injured,” Torre said. “As I said after the game, the determination of whether a baserunner has intentionally interfered with a player attempting to turn a double play is left to the judgment of the umpire on the field, and that judgment call is not subject to review.  I should add that determining where to draw the line between an illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our umpires.

“However, after thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline.  While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a)(13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.

“We have been in discussions with the Players Association throughout the year regarding potential rule changes to better protect middle infielders, and we intend to continue those discussions this offseason.”

If the suspension were upheld, the Dodgers would play a man short on their roster for its duration.


Off-day report: Mattingly addresses Utley-Tejada


Bartolo Colon nearly prevented Utley-Tejada


  1. Not even close to fair, Mr. Torre. Where was justice when St.Louis’s pitcher broke Hanley’s rib? I have posted this on facebook, and I stand by it as a long time fan:

    If Daniel Murphy had made a more accurate throw, so that Tejada was not facing the outfield and could see Utley, he could have reacted to Utley and avoided the slide. Tejada never saw Utley coming at him, because the mechanics of the Murphy- Tejada transfer were TERRIBLE. We see hard nosed slides all of the time- many times the fielder has to forget about the play at first and just get out of the way. Think about it- Murphy’s poorly placed toss meant that Tejada.

    Fine him if you must, Mr. Torre, but you are penalizing the whole Dodger team for a poor play on the Mets’ part.

    • Completely agreed. The only good this does is Mets fans won’t have the opptunity to throw objects at Utley.

  2. So for 150 years that slide is legal and now because Tejada tried to do a perriuete mid air and gets hurt its illegal. Makes sense to me.

  3. A question for St. Joseph of Torre: if Tejada had jogged off the field unhurt, would there have been a suspension? The answer is no, and all of us know it. So whether the slide was illegal matters less than whether someone was injured? I’m not sure that makes a lot of sense.

  4. I disagree with some of the lines written in this article. It does not seem “extremely difficult” to determine where the line is – to me at least. I think the question ought to be what kind of discipline needs to taken and what else needs to be done when it does not seem to be enough.

    How long is he suspended and how come he gets to appeal? Who is replacing him on the team or is he just definitely kicked out?

    • Jon Weisman

      If the suspension is upheld, no one replaces him.

    • Jon Weisman

      He gets to appeal because everyone gets to appeal.

    • You may have misunderstood. “Extremely difficult” comes from the statement made by Mr. Torre, himself, and refers to the challenge for the umps on the field making a judgement. His own judgement comes with the luxury of spending time in deliberating, as he says, after reviewing it from all conceivable angles (some of which might not involve those of the cameras). I would guess that it’s probably easier for you to make an assessment because you are not aware of the issues involved.

  5. I hate but understand the suspension; but, to allow no replacement is to condemn the team also. That’s two penalties, and does not fall under the rule as cited. The Dodgers should appeal independent of Utley’s suspension as well.

    • Jon Weisman

      That’s the way suspensions have always worked. The team loses the player, period. There is no team appeal.

  6. Why would you need to discuss changing the rules, if you are citing a current rule in the decision?

  7. I wonder if the “accident” had happened in, say, Pittsburgh would the thoroughly New-Yorker Joe Torre had even bothered to comment on it

  8. I agree with a lot of these comments that are behind the Dodgers. Utley is getting suspended, OK. Not only is the team suffering but the Dodgers are in the playoffs. This is jeopardizing them moving forward.
    For the Mets. Why was the SS behind 2nd base? He shouldn’t of had his back to the play and he did a complete turnaround before he attempted to throw the ball. Maybe this wouldn’t of happen if he didn’t hesitate. This is a bad suspension for the Dodgers.
    Did anyone see Utley smack his head on the ground after his helmet fell off?

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