McDonald: Mattingly Should Know Better

Oh come on Donny Baseball. You know better.

Less than a day when his pinch hitter/second baseman Chase Utley ended Ruben Tejada’s season with a late and now deemed illegal takeout slide, the Dodgers manager blamed the New York media for the hub-bub.

“So I think on both sides of it, as I think about it, I look at how they got spun around, and their captain, David Wright comes into (Corey) Seager and slides like that, the exact same slide, and let’s say he didn’t get hurt, there would be rumblings, but it goes away,” Mattingly said. “Guys talk and chat, but if nobody got hurt, it wouldn’t even be talked about hardly today. It would have just been a hard slide, and there would have been controversy back and forth if it was hard. But since someone got hurt, now it’s a story. So I mean, that’s just the way I look at it.

“If it would have been their guy, they would be saying, David Wright, hey, he’s a gamer; he went after him. That’s the way you gotta play. But it’s our guy; it’s different. So I know how the kind of the New York media gets a little bit going, and it gets dramatic, but for me you can’t have it both ways. If David would have did it, it wouldn’t have been any problem, here in New York.”

It’s just wrong on so many levels.

First David Wright has never been accused of being a dirty player. He never has gone into second base with a takeout slide. Utley on the other hand has had a history of it. This is not an unfortunate mistake, rather a continuation of how the former Phillie goes about his business.

That’s the problem everyone has with it.

That doesn’t work. So now, when in doubt, blame the media. And yes, Utley has been universally vilified in New York by the media and the Met fanbase.

But let’s look elsewhere.

How about this from Bob Nightengale, who is the national columnist for USA Today and got his start out in LA:

“Now, in a much more aggressive, reckless and perhaps even dirty slide by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Utley, shortstop Tejada’s season is over with a broken leg, perhaps also ruining the New York Mets’ championship dreams.

“The baseball world spent all night debating and arguing and screaming about whether Utley’s slide was simply an old-fashioned aggressive slide or an absolutely sickening dirty slide with baseball men calling for his immediate suspension.

“The slide was high.

“The slide was late.

“And, yes, we agree with Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer: It sure looked more like a tackle than a slide.”

Or how about this from the LA Times – that’s Los Angeles, Don – by columnist Bill Plaschke.

“The slide was late. The slide was high. The slide was questionably legal and arguably dirty.

“Even if you were watching it through blue-colored glasses, you had to admit that the slide was recklessly dangerous, so much that it broke another man’s leg.”

But it’s the New York media’s fault. Pfft…

The bottom line here is Mattingly is in a tough spot. He has to defend his player, who he knows is wrong and his reaching looks just makes him look bad.

Fifteen years ago, Mattingly’s mentor Joe Torre was in a similar situation with Roger Clemens during the World Series.

Torre looked like a fool then and Mattingly looks like one now.

Speaking of Torre, in his current career as MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, he suspended Utley for Games 3 & 4.

“After thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline,” Torre said in a statement. “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.”

Well there you have it. A former Met manager hurting the poor LA Dodgers. Oh yeah, Torre was also a broadcaster, in guess where….

Los Angeles.

So maybe not Donnie.

You should know better.


About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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