Thoughts on Thor’s Ejection
After some time has passed, I’ve had some time to think about this play:
Here are some quick thoughts:
1. This Is What MLB Wants
Despite, the 1986 team being there, it’s no longer 1986. For those of us who grew up with that style of ball, Noah Syndergaard getting tossed was an absolute joke. With that said, baseball supposedly wants this out of the sport, and as such, maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised at the ejection.
2. Thor’s Ejection Was Still Unusual
With that said, as Ken Rosenthal pointed out, throwing at someone, absent warnings, does not lead to ejections even in today’s modern game. There are many examples where Syndergaard’s pitch doesn’t lead to a quick hook. Syndergaard’s ejection was the outlier.
3. Thor Is to Blame for the Ejection
Syndergaard threw the ball in an area where it wouldn’t hit or injure Chase Utley. In many ways, that’s more responsible than drilling someone. However, it’s also proof that Syndergaard was unequivocally throwing at Utley. He put a minor league umpire in a position where he could eject Syndergaard. So yes, as absurd as it sounds, the better course of action would’ve been to hit Utley where there could have been some ambiguity.
4. Thor’s Pitch Was Weak
This was shades of Shawn Estes. Utley broke Ruben Tejada‘s leg, so you make sure you don’t hit him? This isn’t some 22 year old rookie who pimped a homerun. You’re not looking to send a message. No, you’re looking to get your pound of flesh as retaliation. You either plunk Utley, or you don’t bother. Instead, Utley knew that not even the enforcer of the Mets rotation wouldn’t hit him, and he went off with a two homerun (one grandslam) five RBI game.
5. The Timing Was Odd
This was the sixth and penultimate game between these two teams. This was Syndergaard’s second start against the Dodgers. There were plenty of chances to hit Utley. Why now? Did a member of the 86 Mets get in Syndergaard’s ear? Was Syndergaard waiting to do it in front of the home crowd? Did Terry Collins finally give the go-ahead? Perhaps, we will never know.
At this point, the only thing we know is nothing was accomplished. Nothing was resolved. Bad blood still remains. Utley is laughing at the Mets. Despite the feeble attempt to intimidate Utley, Syndergaard most likely maintains his mystique as a pitcher who will not be afraid to knock you down. The umpires in baseball still think we pay to watch them instead of players like Syndergaard.