It appears that MLB’s lawyers got scared they would lose the appeal of Chase Utley’s suspension for his reckless slide in which he broke Ruben Tejada’s leg and decided to turn tale and drop the matter entirely.
It’s very strange that MLB decided to back down, considering the play was egregious enough that they felt it necessary to create a new rule in an attempt to protect middle infielders.
[Joe] Torre said the suspension “sort of lost its impact” once it became clear that Utley, who signed a one-year, $7-million deal with the Dodgers this winter, would not miss any postseason games.
The initial penalty was severe enough that it would have taken place during the playoffs, however Utley immediately appealed and was able to play anyways, shifting the suspension to the first two games of the season. Apparently MLB has decided that they made a big enough tough guy statement in the initial suspension and didn’t want to appear weak in losing the subsequent appeal, so they cut their losses and called it a win.
“What’s important is that we have a rule and have given these guidelines,” said Torre, citing the elimination of serious injuries to catchers since the league banned home plate collisions two years ago.
“We’ve eliminated guys being carried off the field. That’s the good news. Hopefully the same message will be delivered under this new rule. We certainly want to keep guys on the field.”