Seven months after Chase Utley broke Rubén Tejada’s leg with a vicious takeout slide in the NLDS and changed the MLB rulebook forever, Mets fans are finally getting what they want: the opportunity to boo Utley mercilessly. Because Utley didn’t play in Games 3 and 4 of the NLDS in New York, this weekend’s series between the Dodgers and the Mets will mark his first appearance at Citi Field since he became persona non grata in Queens. Besides Matt Harvey, there probably isn’t a current player Mets fans loathe more than L.A.’s second baseman.
But is booing enough? Rougned Odor and José Bautista set a high standard for baseball-feud sequels, and with Tejada now playing in St. Louis, it’ll be up to the Mets crowd to avenge Utley’s transgression. Violence is never the answer (no, we do not condone pitcher-on-batter crime), but these five strategies might be:
1. The silent treatment
Utley’s preparing for a hostile reception, so silence would be an unexpected twist. Athletes often thrive off of fan vitriol, and you don’t want to give Utley the satisfaction of knowing he got under your skin (Don Draper knows best). Plus, he’d be on edge all weekend waiting for the other shoe to drop.
2. Chant “SCOREBOARD!” during every Utley at-bat
This would remind Utley who ultimately won that series last fall. Sure, it’d be nice to have a World Series banner to point to, but an NL pennant will suffice.
NOTE: Do this only when the Mets are leading.
3. Hotel shenanigans
Find out Utley’s room number — there’s no way he doesn’t use the alias Rough Slider — and go bananas. Pull the fire alarm at 3:30 a.m., order every item on the room-service menu, make a noise complaint to the front desk — the possibilities are endless. He’ll be anticipating retribution during the games, but after-hours high jinks could take him by surprise.
4. Chant “JAY-SON WERTH!” during every Utley at-bat
Google “Jayson Werth Chase Utley” if you’re not sure what I’m referring to here. Yes, I’m a responsible journalist. And no, I won’t provide a link.
5. Shower Utley with shampoo bottles
Well, shower the field with shampoo bottles, as we established that violence is a no-no. But Utley always seems to need a shower, and inundating him with hair-care products is a much more creative taunting method than booing.