MLB and the Players Association could ridiculously not get their act together to hear the appeal of Chase Utley’s suspension, so he is eligible to play in Monday night’s Game 3 of the NLDS. But he’s been benched by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly in favor of Howie Kendrick anyway.
“Howie’s been swinging the bat good, and we feel like he gives us the best chance to win today,” Mattingly said.
Mets manager Terry Collins was happy with the development.
“I’m a little surprised. But Donnie knows his team better than I,” Collins said, “but I got the same stats he’s got and I know he swings the bat pretty good against Matt Harvey. He has a knack of beating us, so let him sit over on the bench for eight innings.”
But the fact that this could not have been settled earlier Monday is just asinine. Under terms of the Collective Bargaining agreement, an appeal of a suspension must be heard within 14 days. Until then, the player can take the field. This happens all the time during the season.
But this is different. Punishment needs to be decided much faster in the post-season. It would not be fair if Chase Utley helps his team win when he should have been suspended. And even if the Mets win the series (God willing) and the appeal is heard after the Dodgers are eliminated, the worst that would happen is that Utley would miss the first two games of next season. Big deal. That’s like no punishment at all.
Being forced to sit out playoff games is the worst thing that could happen to a baseball player; oh, except for having you leg broken by a dirty slide and also missing games.
MLB and the MLBPA need to expedite this thing. They are already a day too late.