In a few minutes, the Phillies will play the Dodgers for the final time this season. The game will be the final regular season game Chase Utley plays in Philadelphia. The greatest Phillies second baseman in club history will retire at the end of the season, and the Dodgers won’t be back in town.
For the first time since 2012, the Phillies are playing important games, and fittingly Utley is back in town. The fan favorite from the 2008 team is now a bench piece on the first-place Dodgers, the reigning NL Champions. The Phillies fan base is showing Utley the love, giving him standing ovations before and during both games, and it’s well deserved. Not only was Utley a statistically great Phillies player, but he also played the game hard, and never left anything on the field. Oh, and he hated New York.
In just over a week the Phillies will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the 2008 Phillies. Utley will be one of just a hand full of players from that championship team who can’t attend because he’s still playing, joining World Series MVP Cole Hamels in that group. That team snapped a 25 year title drought for the city, reminding us that we can sometimes win too. The title came in the midst of an economic collapse that worried us all, but the Phillies gave us an escape, a reason to be happy. I miss that team.
Yes, I’m going to cheer Chase Utley today. Now excuse me, I’m walking in the park.