Don Mattlingly is apparently sick of the uproar over Chase Utley’s now-infamous NLDS Game 2 slide that broke the leg of Mets infielder Ruben Tejada. Although he isn’t surprised by the villainous reactions from New York folks, especially having spent his playing career in the city, that doesn’t mean he agrees with it.
The Dodgers skipper spoke with Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, saying the slide would’ve been OK had David Wright been the one who went into second base aggressively:
(If) 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. 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.
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’ve got to 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 done it, it wouldn’t have been any problem here in New York.
It’s not an entirely ridiculous assumption by Mattingly, as fans are always more likely to take the side of their players, especially long-tenured star players like Wright, but it comes across as it he’s defending Utley, something that won’t be appreciated by the Mets and something that should add even more fire to an already-intriguing series.
Photo: Los Angeles Times