Amelia Parreira is a journalism senior and Mustang News columnist.
With Major League Baseball postseason in play, the competition has cranked into high gear as the top eight teams fight for the 2015 World Series title.
And when I use the word “fight,” I’m not using it in its literal context. Because that’s not what baseball, or any sport, should be about. It’s about the love of the game.
But, when players are constantly put in danger due to other players’ actions, it’s just not as much fun.
In Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Oct. 10, Los Angeles Dodgers’ second baseman Chase Utley made a brutal slide into second base after fellow second baseman Howie Kendrick hit one up the infield. Utley forcefully collided with the New York Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada, leaving Tejada with a fractured right leg.
Sure, mistakes happen and can be forgiven. But can Utley’s actions be categorized as a mistake? Or was the slide an intentional strategy?
If this was Utley’s first time in such a situation, I wouldn’t be as skeptical. However, the former Phillie has put himself in this position multiple times over his career as a major league player.
Not just multiple times overall, but specifically against Tejada.
In a Sept. 2010 game, Utley took a plunge into Tejada at second base without even reaching for the plate itself.
Utley committed a similar play in a 2011 NLDS game against the St. Louis Cardinals, diving into Ryan Theriot’s knee and knocking him to the ground.
Utley continued this streak after he came to the Dodgers and attempted to slide-tackle Jedd Gyorko even though he was nowhere near second base.
You might say that it’s just a way of playing, just a way of preventing a double play. But there comes a point when you must ask yourself: When is it considered going too far?
When it comes to Utley, it has definitely gone too far.
Sure, it’s always great to see an action-packed game. And it’s always important to be assertive and aggressive — because how do you succeed in sports without doing so?
But we have to come to understand that baseball is not supposed to be a contact sport. Players are wearing very minimal gear. It’s just not safe enough to be legal. If you absolutely must have that hard-hitting interaction, then maybe you should try football or hockey.
Keep in mind that I did not choose this standpoint because Utley happens to play for my team’s rival, but because it is important to address the issue of safety for all players.
Every time a player makes a dirty slide, I can’t help but think back to the 2011 season, when the Florida Marlins’ Scott Cousins took out Buster Posey at home plate, leaving the San Franciso Giants’ catcher with a broken leg and three torn ligaments. I can still picture the look of excruciating pain on his face as he lay near the plate.
With that unfortunate event, the league established the “Buster Posey Rule,” which makes it illegal for runners to knock down a catcher at home plate.
What I still don’t understand is why it is not illegal in all parts of the field.
Hopefully Oct. 10 will pose as the beginning of change in Major League Baseball, and eyes will open to the growing problem dirty slides have caused through the years.
While I leave you with that thought, enjoy the rest of the postseason.