There’s no doubt if the Phillies were in the postseason and Chase Utley was still a Phillie and Charlie Manuel was still managing the team, plays like the one Saturday night would be that much more in the public eye. All the venom coming out of New York to Chase is fantastic, and all the silence coming from the LA side is deafening, likely because they’re scared to death. But at least two people on the Dodgers’ roster aren’t, and that’s Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins.
Part of that fearlessness may have rubbed off on their World Series-winning manager, good ol’ Uncle Charlie. Manuel went on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM and took up for his former player, which is awesome because Utley’s current manager doesn’t have the balls to.
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Transcript below via Crossing Broad:
“That’s the way he plays. The first time I ever seen him was in Rochester playing triple-A baseball, that’s the first game I’ve even seen him and he hit a catcher, and the catcher was big, and he threw Chase up in the air about three or four feet over his back, and he landed and it hurt him. And I said to him after the game I said “way to go” and he looked at me and he said “I don’t know, Charlie.”
And in Utley’s career, Utley’s been hit a lot at second. He’s also a guy when he catches a ball, he stays there … he stays in too long sometimes. And I seen times like Lasting Milledge in Warshington one night spiked him real high, basically just jumped up on his knee, and he slid high and he cut him, and they were showing a replay of it and they had a recording in Warshington’s clubhouse at the time, and Milledge is sitting there bragging about doing it, saying he meant to do it …
And then in Cincinnati he got cut (physically), and he would never tell me. He wouldn’t even say something to a trainer unless another player, Jimmy Rollins or somebody, would say something to him. And that’s who he is …
I knew he did not slide to hurt Tejada, but he had the intention to take him out on the double play. He slid late, but he definitely did not mean to hurt him in no way.”
After Charlie’s comments yesterday, Larry Bowa went on the same program and basically said Ruben Tejada was the one to blame. Audio below, transcript after.
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It wasn’t a double play ball. Once you expose your back like that – if you’ve played shorstop for any amount of time, you get the out and you get out of the way.
People ask me about the slide. I don’t think it was dirty – I thought it was a late slide. I try to put myself on the other side. If you’re the Mets and you’re going into second, and you’re down one game to none and the tying run is on third, are you gonna try to break up the double play? The answer’s yeah.
I know Utley, I know he didn’t try to hurt anybody. But I do know he plays the game hard. If he had to do everything over again, I think he would probably slide a little bit earlier. But the shortstop put himself in harm’s way. You have to be pretty smart to play out there and that was not a double play ball and once you turned your body completely around and your back was to the runner, obviously you gotta get one and get out of there.
His intent was to try and get that run at third home any way he could. He did not try to hurt the guy. I’ve seen him get knocked down and pat the guy on the back and say that’s a good, hard slide.
If this happened in the 70’s, that happened every night. So, you’re probably asking the wrong guy. When you had runners coming down your throat, there was no ‘oh, you have to be at arm’s length.’ You could roll block, you can do whatever you wanted to do.
When I see a play like that, the only thing I can say because the game has definitely changed, was the slide was very late. His intent was to try to get that guy to score from third base and he accomplished that. Again, if the Met guy slid into the Dodger second baseman, he’d be getting a trophy tonight before Game 3.
I do know Utley. He’s not a dirty player. He plays the game extremely hard. Again, if he had his druthers, he probably would have slid a little bit earlier.
Love it. I don’t care that the team, the Phillies, aren’t in the playoffs. Our Phillies are and it’s turning out to be awesome.