With regard to Chase Utley’s “illegal slide” which happened also to break the leg of Mets’ shortstop Reuben Tejada, I have seen hundreds of slides that were way off second base where the runner could not have touched the bag if he still had a bat in his hand – – and there has been no ruling of an “illegal slide”. Utley’s slide was “violent” in the sense that he intended to make significant contact with Tejada prior to a throw to first base – and indeed he made that contact. However, from every angle of replay that I have seen, it appears to me that Utley can easily touch second base with his left hand as he slides through the play.
Suspending Utley for two games in NY might be a good idea simply from the perspective of maintaining order at those games but I am not so sure it is a good idea from the perspective of baseball history and the baseball rules. As I understand the rule here, an important aspect of the “illegality” is contained in the phrase “away from the base”. I cannot see where Utley was “away from the base” and a suspension here sets a precedent that I doubt baseball wants to set i.e. the violence of a collision or the outcome of a collision has an effect on the determination of “guilt” in the matter.
Utley will appeal the suspension and MLB will make its determination “posthaste”. That by itself is a departure from the normal for MLB which usually would take 8 days to determine if it was raining outside…
Whilst on the subject of baseball, consider the career stats of these two players:
Player A: Played 17 years; BA .273; OPS .891; 5 All-Star Games; Career WAR 2.51
Player B: Played 21 years; BA .297; OPS .937; 14 All-Star Games; Career WAR
“Player A” is Jorge Posada and he has a plaque in centerfield in Yankee Stadium as of this year. “Player B” is Alex Rodriguez. Just saying…
Looking at the final MLB standings for the 2015 season, several things stand out to me:
1. The Phillies had a negative run differential of 155 around the time of the All-Star break and no one else was nearly that bad. However, the Phillies did NOT wind up with the worst run differential for MLB this year. The Braves cratered in the second half of the season to finish at minus-187 while the Phillies staggered home at minus-183. By the way, the next worst to those two were the Tigers and the Reds both at minus-114.
2. The Rangers won their division despite having a run differential of only +18. Compare that with the division winning Blue Jays who had a run differential of +221.
3. The Dodgers and the Giants had identical road records (37-44). The Dodgers run differential was +72 and the Giants run differential was +68. Nevertheless, the Dodgers finished 8 full game ahead of the Giants in the standings.
Here is a stat I ran across somewhere but did not record where I saw it. My guess is that I saw it in a magazine at my doctor’s office because it was hand-written on a piece of paper from a note pad with the logo of a drug company on it.
David Ortiz is one of only 4 players in baseball history to have 3 World Series championships and 500 home runs. The other 3 players are Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.
Moving right along, you have probably read reports about a confrontation between Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher. Here is how Scott Ostler summed it up in the SF Chronicle last weekend:
“Matt Barnes beats up Derek Fisher because Fisher is dating Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Can’t blame Fisher. Since Barnes is dating other women, Fisher assumed Govan had cleared waivers.”
I think there is another angle at work here:
Phil Jackson hired Derek Fisher to coach the Knicks specifically because Fisher was steeped in the triangle offense and could teach the triangle offense to the Knicks.
Perhaps – I said PERHAPS – Fisher was merely finding out how things work in a different sort of “triangle”.
In the past, I have summarized here the futility of the national soccer team of San Marino which always enters the qualifying rounds for the European Cup and, more often than not, exits the qualifying rounds having been demolished by other sides. In this year’s qualifying rounds, the Sammarinese side managed to score a goal in an away game against Lithuania. San Marino did not win the game but this was their first goal in an away game since scoring one against Latvia in 2001. By the way, San Marino did not win that game against Latvia 14 years ago either.
In any event, the “away goal” was such an anomaly that the entire bench for San Marino emptied and ran onto the pitch to join Matteo Vitaioli in his celebration of this rare event. Such a team display on the pitch and away from the team area on the sidelines is not acceptable in soccer but according to reports, the referee did not issue warning cards to any of the celebrants from the sidelines. He probably recognized the rarity of what he had just witnessed and wanted to take in the moment for himself…
Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote in the Miami Herald about the last crop of folks inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame:
“Eleven new members were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame: Dikembe Mutombo, John Calipari and nine people I care about even less.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………