Dodgers News: Chase Utley Expecting Hostility From Mets Fans At Citi Field
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The prevailing storyline in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first visit to Citi Field since Game 4 of the 2015 National League Division Series is Julio Urias making his Major League debut in Friday’s series opener.

Prior to the Dodgers announcing the young left-hander would take the place of Alex Wood, Chase Utley’s return was largely the most intriguing aspect of the three-game weekend series. Dating back to his tenure with the Philadelphia Phillies, Utley has long drawn the ire of the Mets’ fan base.

That of course multiplied tenfold in Game 2 last year’s NLDS when Utley’s hard slide into second base broke Ruben Tejada’s left leg, ending his season immediately.

Utley’s slide provided a spark and helped the Dodgers tie the series. He received a two-game suspension, but appealed, and remained eligible throughout the NLDS; the suspension was dropped during Spring Training this year.

Utley did not appear in Games 3 or 4 at Citi Field, and was only used as a pinch-hitter in Game 5. The veteran infielder restated his regret over the result of his slide and said he’s expecting a hostile crowd, via Andy McCullough of the LA Times:

“Looking back on it, knowing that he was going to spin, he wasn’t going to get off his feet, I would have done things differently, knowing that he was going to get hurt,” Utley said earlier this week. “But I can’t take that back. So I imagine the fans will let me have it.”

Utley was booed mercilessly during pregame introductions and fans chanted “We want Utley!” on multiple occasions as the Mets cruised to a victory during Game 3. Animosity between the clubs appears to have since subsided, presumably explained by the fact Tejada is now with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Mets didn’t seek retribution, nor did the Cardinals, when the Dodgers hosted both teams in back-to-back series earlier this month. Though at the time, Mets manager Terry Collins said there was only so much he could control.