Back in 2005, when Chase Utley was still coming into his own for the Phillies, then-manager Charlie Manuel described him as “fitting the Philly mentality, and that’s outstanding.” Why? Well, because Utley was said to be a player who routinely got the extra base and was always frantically running around.
Basically doing what he did on Saturday night. Utley, now with the Dodgers, slid hard into Mets second basemen Ruben Tejada and broke Tejada’s leg. He was suspended for two games but because of an appeal might be allowed to play in today’s game.
Anyone who watched him play for more than a decade with the Phillies should not have been surprised by the slide, though. He’s always had the reputation of someone who “plays hard;” for opponents, that can often be considered playing dirty. And he’s crafted that reputation by doing what he did on Saturday night several times throughout his career.
Here are five plays in which Utley collided with an opponent while sliding or running into a base.
April 25, 2005
According to the Daily News article from this game against the Nationals, Utley toppled second baseman Jose Vidro on a hard slide, causing Vidro to misfire on a throw to first base and not make a double play. Vidro was not hurt, and Utley said of the slide: “That’s definitely satisfying when it works.”
May 30, 2007
He slid hard into second base and collided with Stephen Drew. Drew twisted his ankle and had to miss the next game. Later, in the same game, Utley slid out of the baseline while being forced out at third by a mile, nearly colliding with third basemen Alberto Callaspo. Drew called the play at third “kind of uncalled for.” Phillies third base coach Steve Smith even told Utley “that was too far.”
September 1, 2008
Utley collided with Washington Nationals catcher Jesus Flores while attempting to steal home. Flores held onto the ball ball and got Utley out but had to be taken out of the game on a stretcher. The Nationals’ manager did not consider the play to be dirty, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel loved Utley’s play. He said, “That’s the way you play the game. Unless you want to put rouge and makeup and lipstick on you.”
September 24, 2010
This play was almost exactly like the infamous slide from Saturday night. Utley slid hard into Ruben Tejada of the Mets during this game but didn’t injure him. The slide still bothered Mets players and the team’s manager. Shortstop Jose Reyes said to the Inquirer, “I don’t think it was clean at all. You can hurt a guy’s knee in that situation.”
Utley slid hard into Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot. He was not able to make the play at first but wasn’t injured.