The Mets Are Sissies

From Wikipedia:

Sissy is a pejorative for a boy or man to indicate that he fails to behave according to the traditional male gender role. Generally, it implies a lack of the courage and stoicism which are thought important to the male role. It might also imply interests seen as strikingly un-masculine. This pejorative may be given to anyone as an insult. Several variations, such as “sissy boy” or “sissy baby”, exist and any term can become pejorative or insulting if preceded by “sissy” and applied to a boy or a man.

Sounds about right for a team that is offended by Chase Utley making an aggressive but clean slide. Utley was (and is) playing the game the way it was meant to be played. There was no malice in his slide, nothing “dirty” about it — other than the fact he soiled his uniform pants. Why people are even focusing on “the slide” as if Utley did something wrong is preposterous — if anything, it should be an example of instruction on how one is to slide hard but cleanly in an attempt to break up a double play.

The press has turned this slide into an event, probably because the Mets are so damn boring and uninspiring that they’re hoping to artificially create excitement. They cajoled lame duck manager Jerry Manuel into suggesting that his team will “take care of it” by sliding hard into Utley. Um … how about sliding hard into Utley ANYWAY, since that’s what a player is supposed to do on a DP attempt? David Wright’s response was similarly off-base:

“We’ll reevaluate the way that we go into second base. … He’s a second baseman. If he wants guys sliding like that into him then it’s perfectly fine. … It’s a legal slide. It’s within the rules. But somebody’s going to get hurt. … He knows the difference between a good, clean slide and a slide that’s late. … Chase plays the game hard. He plays the game passionately. But there’s a thin line between going out there and playing the game hard and going out there and trying to get somebody hurt. That’s a thin line. Nobody’s going to go and push us around. We’re going to have our teammates’ back. I think cooler heads prevailed, but we’ve got to let them know that over on our side, we didn’t appreciate it, and we’re going to go out there and have our teammates’ backs. … If he doesn’t mind guys coming like that after him, then everything’s good.”

Bad move, David. Because Utley did not cross that line. But more importantly, Wright has more or less promised that Utley will get taken out — possibly by crossing that “thin line”. Which means that if Utley does not get upended or knocked down at the plate, the Mets will transform from simply sissies to “sissy marys”; from Urban Dictionary:

Someone who chickens out of doing something after promising to do it.

It’s a lose-lose situation — if they don’t do something, then they’ve publicly cowered to the Phillies based on an imaginary issue. But if they do initiate something against Utley this weekend, they’ll look like whiny sore losers to everyone except the most blindly diehard Mets fans. It would not be unlike the situation we saw in Game 161 of 2007, when Miguel Olivo charged Jose Reyes. The Marlins were at the end of a long, frustrating, disappointing season, were down 10 runs in the ballgame, and thus Olivo’s act was pathetic desperation — not any kind of “grit” or “toughness”. The Mets are in a similar place right now, and knocking Utley on his backside will not turn the team into something they haven’t been for several years. Let’s face it — in addition to underperforming and lacking the talent to reach the postseason, the Mets would not have been described as a “hard nosed” team for a long, long time.

Though, if the Mets and Phillies do get into some kind of rhubarb, I’m liking the Mets chances — particularly with beasts such as Lucas Duda, Mike Hessman, and Chris Carter jumping off the bench.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. CatchDog September 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm
    At least this issue will provide something for some of us to look forward to in the last two games against the Phillies.

    And although it might have been a “clean” play, the Phils have a whole lot more to lose right now than the Mets. If Utley winds up with bruised ribs, a broken wrist from an errant Manny Acosta heater or worse; a bent knee as a result of getting Dan Murphy’d, it may just serve as some type of cosmic revenge as well as payback for the last four years of Met incompetence.

    Not saying this would make it right but the line has now been drawn in the sand.

    Any predictions?

  2. tee September 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm
    Very good commentary. I’m perplexed by the fact that these players are complaining over someone who actually plays the game the right way!!! For years I’ve seen Met players slow down or turn away from second base rather than slide right into the player and break-up the double-play. This team hasn’t had grit since the days of Ray Knight and Keith Hernandez. Remember how Clemens threw a bat towards Piazza and they did nothing to retaliate…When was the last time a Mets player ran over a catcher rather than slide around the tag? The only player in the last ten years that I remember played that way was Ty Wigginton and he as traded way
    • Ceetar September 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm
      John Maine once beaned Utley twice in the same game. Wasn’t afraid to pitch inside to the bugger.

      I don’t think the slide was perfectly ‘clean’ either, but it was certainly within his rights to make that slide. Same way it was within A-Rod’s rights to fake-call off the SS while running the bases. Same way it was within Jeter’s rights to roll around like a baby when he fake got hit, or whine about every called third strike ever. or Wright ‘helping’ Rollins (i think it was him) slide into second base so that he overslid and was out.

      Who knows, maybe Wright was suggesting so much that Utley was wrong, but was using it as a reason why they should reevaluate how they themselves go into second base, and maybe do so a little more violently.

      However, that fine line is very fine. Marlon Anderson’s slide in 2007 against the Phlilies was probably on the other side of it, but had he not been called out on it, the Mets likely would’ve won that game, and the division in ’07.

    • Joe Janish September 25, 2010 at 3:50 pm
      Knock over the catcher? I thought that was only allowed in PONY League. Next you’re going to tell me that tobacco chewing is OK in the bigs.
  3. micalpalyn September 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm
    brilliant comment ceetar! Oh and DW has a point too.
  4. Dave in Jersey September 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm
    As I’ve been saying for years, the Phils hate the Mets, the Marlins hate the Mets, the Braves hate the Mets, and the Mets don’t have it in ’em to hate anyone. Once upon a time this team had pitchers who would have put Utley in a horizontal position his next time up, if not plunking him squarely in the ribcage. Instead we get Wright, summonsing up all of his passion and leadership skills, saying “gee, if you happen upon Mr. Utley, who we respect enormously, wouldn’t you please convey to him that we found his maneuver to be just slightly distasteful?”

    Like the t-shirt ads over to the side say, “WWWBD?” He’d draw blood from Utley’s nose, that’s what he’d do.

    • CatchDog September 26, 2010 at 9:24 am