Update (12:18 PM EDT): Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. That, certainly, will end Tejada’s season.
Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada had to be carted off the field in the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Dodgers. With Enrique Hernandez on third base and Chase Utley on first and one out, Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball up the middle. Daniel Murphy, ranging to his right, corralled the ball and flipped to Tejada, who had to whip around to fire to first. Utley slid late and took out Tejada, who couldn’t make a throw. The Dodgers scored the tying run on the play.
Tejada was tended to by team trainers, who applied to a brace around his right knee before carting him off. The umpires ruled Utley safe because Tejada never touched the bag. The only problem is that Utley also never touched second base. Utley and Kendrick would come around to score when Adrian Gonzalez ripped a two-run double, breaking a 2-2 tie.
Utley’s slide was clearly dirty and hopefully Major League Baseball works to create a rule that keeps middle infielders out of harms way on these types of plays. Utley didn’t start his slide until he was parallel to the second base bag, and he never touched the base. The umpires could have justifiably called Utley for interference, which would have resulted in two outs (ending the inning) instead of zero.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark met the press late this morning and covered a wide array of topics.
One of them: free agency, which he referred to as being “under attack” based on the slow market for free agents last offseason.
“What the players saw last offseason was that their free-agent rights were under attack on what has been the bedrock of our system,” Clark said. He added that they “have some very difficult decisions to make.” Presumably in the form of grievances and, down the road, a negotiating strategy that seeks to claw back some of the many concessions the union has given owners in the past few Collective Bargaining Agreements. CBAs, it’s worth noting, that Clark negotiated. We’ve covered that territory in detail in the past.
Of more immediate interest was Clark’s comment that the idea of a universal designated hitter is, among players, “gaining momentum.” Clark says “players are talking about it more than they have in the past.” We’ve talked a lot about that as well.
Given that hating or loving the DH is the closest thing baseball has to a religion, no one’s mind is going to be changed by any of this, but I think, practically speaking, it’s inevitable that the National League will have the DH and I think it happens relatively soon. Perhaps in the next five years. The opposition to it at this point is solely subjective and based on tradition. People like pitchers batting and they like double switches and they like the leagues being different because they, well, like it. If the system were being set up today, however, they’d never have it this way and I think even the DH-haters know that well. That doesn’t mean that you can’t dislike a universal DH, but it does mean that you can’t expect the people who run the game to cater to that preference when it makes little sense for them to do it for their own purposes.
Anyway: enjoy convincing each other in the comments about how the side of that argument you dislike is wrong.