Hoo boy. MLB’s suspension of Chase Utley was announced after 9:00 last night, fewer than 24 hours before tonight’s Mets-Dodgers Game 3. Utley has the right to appeal, and he’s exercising it—but he and the MLBPA want more time to prepare than MLB has given him. If Utley’s appeal isn’t heard today, his suspension won’t kick in—and he’ll be at Citi Field for the game.
Utley’s camp does deserve more time to prepare an appeal, and not just because he’s probably got a pretty decent case that he’s the victim of unequally applied discipline. Utley’s likely defense, citing precedent, the CBA, and bringing in historical examples of similar slides that went unpunished, would take more than the handful of hours he’s got if MLB has its way and holds the hearing this afternoon.
If Utley is available tonight, there’s absolutely no way the Dodgers would ever put him in the lineup...right? In part, he’s being suspended for his own safety—if he comes to bat, he will be hit in the head.
I can see it now. Matt Harvey goes after Utley, gets ejected, the Mets bullpen blows up, the Mets lose the game and the series. It’s the most Mets outcome imaginable. And there are some fans who would be more thrilled by getting revenge on Utley than they would by winning a championship.