Torre interview after Mets-Dodgers Game 2

Torre interview after Mets-Dodgers Game 2

Excerpts of a Q&A featuring Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer, and Randy Marsh, director, Major League umpires. They addressed the overturned call in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 2 of the NLDS between the Mets and Dodgers, which the Dodgers won 5-2.

Q. Joe, can you explain on what basis umpires viewed the slide as legal and not constituting illegal interference?

JOE TORRE: Yeah, well, I mean, that's a judgment play. We get a chance to watch it. I'm still watching replays of it. They get a chance, one shot to look at it. Especially with the fact that they've got to see if the guy touches the bag or touches the runner. So there are a lot of things they're looking for. So obviously Chris Guccione didn't think it was a violation. That's a judgment. It saddens me and I think everybody else that Tejada gets hurt here. There is no question. The runner, just from my experience, situation, ball hit on the ground, trying to break up a double play. I'd hate to think that Utley tried to hurt somebody. It certainly was late. That concerns me. The lateness of the slide. But we're still basically talking about it. But the umpire, just one shot. I certainly can't fault the umpire for everything he had to look at.

Q. You said you're still talking about it. In what regard?

JOE TORRE: We still -- I'm still in charge of determining if it's something that shouldn't -- like the slide was over-the-top type of thing. As I say, it was a hard slide. I thought it was -- looking at it a number of times -- I thought it was a little late. So that's what I'm digesting right now.

Q. So there is a possibility of discipline depending on what you see?

JOE TORRE: There was what?

Q. You would review it to see if you need to impose any discipline?

JOE TORRE: Again, I'm looking at it just to see if there's anything we feel should be done.

Q. Just curious in that case, what recourse would you have under the rules to impose discipline on a play like that after the fact?

JOE TORRE: What recourse would I have?

Q. Yeah, how would you ...

JOE TORRE: Well, I have to determine if I thought it was "excessive," I guess, is the word, on the slide. Not that you shouldn't slide hard, but as I said, just the late slide is probably the only thing that's in question right now.

Q. Does it help that Chase used his arm to try to grab the bag, trying to sort of sell the play, "I'm trying to get the bag and not try to hurt anybody?"

JOE TORRE: I sure hope that Chase Utley -- I mean, he's been a great player for a long time, and he's played hard. I certainly don't feel that he was trying to hurt somebody. I think his goal was breaking up a double play, and in doing that someone broke their leg. He was, I agree, he was within range of the bag, yeah. It wasn't like the fielder was over here and he went right at him and couldn't reach the bag. Yeah, that's where it becomes not cut and dry. So it's all this stuff that we're going to look at and digest.

Q. This came from Justin Upton a few moments ago. If that was a superstar shortstop, we'd have a Tulo Rule enforced tomorrow?

JOE TORRE: A what? A Tulo Rule?

Q. Do you agree?

JOE TORRE: No, I think every player's important. Because someone's not an All-Star player, that to me is not part of the circumstance here. God forbid it should ever be.

Q. Just to follow up on that, can the rule be made better than it is right now to protect infielders?

JOE TORRE: The interesting part is we have the neighborhood play that we have in effect in a lot of ways to protect the infielders, having to stay at the base. This wasn't a neighborhood play, because spinning around and the reaching for the ball and stuff like that. So this wasn't a neighborhood play. We're certainly aware of the health of the players, so that's why the neighborhood play is part of what we decide on as far as replay or no replay. We're always looking to protect players. I mean, we have the crash rule at the plate and stuff like that. It's a concern. If there's something -- and what we're doing in the Fall League, and I don't know if I'm supposed to say this -- but in the Fall League we're having the players work on sliding directly into the bag, just to see how that works and stuff.

Q. Requiring them to?

JOE TORRE: Yes, in the Fall League. This is where we can experiment with stuff. That's where we put the clocks in and stuff for speeding the game up. I just want to be sure. Everybody knew why the play was overturned, right?

Q. No, can you explain that, please.

JOE TORRE: Tejada showed that he didn't touch the bag, and Utley never touched second base. The fact that he was called out meant he didn't -- he's not required to touch second base once he's called out. So when the play was overturned, he gets awarded second base on that. Correct me if I'm wrong, if they had tagged Utley just before he went off the field, would that have changed that situation?

RANDY MARSH: Yeah, he would have been out.

Q. And they could challenge because it wasn't a neighborhood play?

JOE TORRE: It wasn't a neighborhood play. That's judged on the field. Once it goes to replay, that's not a neighborhood play.

Q. If he went off the field because he was told he was out and then they tagged him because he had been told he was out?

JOE TORRE: No, I mean, if the player had had the ball and happened to tag him.

Q. Before he was told?

JOE TORRE: Well, he heard he was out and he was leaving the field. But I'm saying before he left the field, right?

RANDY MARSH: Right, he was called out.

JOE TORRE: Because the act of tagging somebody, the fact that he didn't touch the bag and now you're tagging him, OK? But once he's off the field and we go to replay, everything stops, so he's awarded second base because he wasn't tagged. But he left the field based on the fact that the umpire called him out.

Q. So he never needed to touch the base?

JOE TORRE: He never needed to touch the base because the umpire called him out. You're correcting an umpire's mistake. In that situation by going to replay and they see the runner never touched the base, but the umpire called him out, by replay rules we can correct the situation and put the runner on the bag.