MLB sends message with Utley suspension

Will Harvey throw at Dodgers batters in retaliation?

ESPN's Buster Olney joins Mike & Mike to explain whether it's likely that Mets pitcher Matt Harvey will throw at Dodgers players in retaliation for Chase Utley's slide.

Major League Baseball wants to expedite the appeal process for Chase Utley, but presumably the player's representatives and the union will want more time to gather what will seem like overwhelming evidence that the decision on Utley has very little precedent. If they pore over all the videotape of all the regular-season games from the 2015 season, they could probably find dozens of examples of players going into second base in a similar fashion without being penalized.

That'll take time, maybe a lot of time, and it wouldn't be surprising if Utley played without interruption as long as the Dodgers continue through the postseason.

But practically speaking, Major League Baseball's decision was less about taking Utley off the field than about a declaration of war on plays in which baserunners go out of their way to crash into fielders -- mostly middle infielders, like Ruben Tejada, the Mets' shortstop, whose season was ended when Utley wrecked his right leg.

As Joe Torre acknowledged in his statement, MLB has been working to adjust the rule for baserunners so that it specifies that their slides must aim for the base, not target the defender, which is what Utley appeared to be doing in Game 2.

But just as with MLB's push to eliminate home-plate collisions, there has been pushback from the union, which is composed of a lot of veteran players who were taught throughout their professional careers that standard operating procedure is that baserunners should attempt a takeout slide -- and middle infielders should expect it. A lot of players don't want the rule to be interpreted differently than it has been for decades. Yes, an interference rule is already on the books decreeing that a runner should not go after the fielder instead of the base. But it's like a 55 mph highway speed limit: Nobody really expects hard enforcement. That's not what the culture of the takeout slide has been.