As the hit series Gotham airs on Fox Monday night, baseball takes center stage on TBS with a pitcher known as The Dark Knight taking the hill for the New York Mets. The first postseason game in the history of Citi Field, sure to draw plenty of viewers anyway, becomes must-see-TV to thousands more thanks to a new villain—at least for Mets fans.
Dodgers reserve infielder Chase Utley broke Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s leg in Game 2 of the series with a dirty play at second base. Anyone who doesn’t think it was dirty is either a Phillies fan, blind, or both. Utley has been slapped with a two game suspension for his actions, something that initially looked to save him from facing the New York crowd and more importantly a ticked off bunch of Mets. However, there’s a new wrinkle in all of this.
Utley plans on appealing the two game penalty. Since his appeal won’t be heard before the 8:37 first pitch, the aging player is actually eligible to play against Harvey and company in Queens. Would Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly have the nerve to actually play Utley at some point if indeed he is active? Don’t put it past an erratic manager who actually chose to have Pedro Baez instead of Clayton Kershaw face David Wright in Game 1.
There’s plenty of intrigue whether Utley plays or not. Harvey has been quoted as saying he plans to do “what’s right.” Does that mean a high 90s fastball in between the numbers of a Dodger hitter? Does that mean pitching a great game, getting the win, and dealing with Utley in 2016? We will soon find out.
Another thing Harvey and the Mets need to worry about is the bumbling inconsistency of Major League Baseball, its awful replay system, and the men in charge of our national pastime. This whole Utley-Tejada thing shows us just how all over the place MLB can be. Consider that Utley has been suspended for two games for a play that was deemed legal! So what is he suspended for? Several officials looked at the replay of the bush-league tackle at second and even though Utley never touched the base he was ruled safe. Joe Torre’s presser after the game was cringe worthy. He talked on and on without saying anything. Imagine if Derek Jeter were the shortstop and not a light hitting Tejada? Utley would’ve been charged with rape and murder.
So, with such unstableness coming from those in charge how can the Mets even be sure that Harvey wouldn’t be ejected if he beans someone Monday night? They can’t.
The best-case scenario for the Mets may be to try and build a nice lead and then let a high heater fly into a Dodger’s back. Any appearance by Utley could result in a bench clearer. Did you see the genuine anger and disgust in the eyes of mild-mannered David Wright on Saturday? If Wright is this angry, you know it is serious.
One thing the Mets don’t want is bad aim. Remember what happened in 2001 the next season after the Mets and Yankees Subway Series? Roger Clemens played the role of Utley back then. In the 2000 regular season, the Rocket drilled New York superstar catcher Mike Piazza in the head. In the World Series Clemens threw a piece of a broken bat toward Piazza. The Mets regretfully didn’t do a thing. Very un-Bobby Valentine-like…but they just didn’t. The next season, pitcher Shawn Estes was in charge of payback. When Clemens came to bat at Shea, Estes threw a pitch at Clemens’ backside and missed! How can you miss a backside of that size? But he did. Estes went on to hit a homer and the Mets won the ball game. But to this day most Mets fans feel Clemens got away with everything.
The vibes from the Mets today strongly indicate that Utley and friends will not be so fortunate. We shall see. Long story short, DVR Gotham, folks. You don’t want to miss The Dark Knight taking on this gallery of rogues regardless of whether the clown prince of “sliding” is on hand or not.