:::Organ Begins to Play::: Ladies and Gentleman, we are gathered here today to celebrate the career and life of a very special man. He is a beloved husband, dog’s right’s activist and a damn good, eh hem sorry, excellent baseball player. Wearing number 26 for the Philadelphia Phillies, his numbers will never show what he actually has done for this city. Now let’s bow our heads and pray for God’s blessing
:::Screeching of Record can be Heard::: Really, a record, o’well go with it. Hold on everyone. Let’s not jump to conclusions here. Chase Utley starting on the DL is nothing new. With that being said, Ruben Amaro Jr. this week slipped a comment about the beloved second baseman. One word he has used constantly while talking about Utley, except this time he used it in a plural form. Knees. He added an “S” and that changes the outlook on everything. We are aware of his consistent knee (no s) problems. Utley not playing in the Grapefruit League is nothing special. We were excited about him playing on a chair. The plural of knee is where a lot of us sort of get scared. We are talking about a career that never really happened.
Comments about Ruben being shorted on the MRI findings of Utley is bologna. Ruben is respecting what Utley has done to this Phillies organization. Utley needs to do this himself. I have never taken Utley to be a selfish man, which comes to why he is in the situation that he is. There are plenty of examples where Utley has gone out of his way in a blowout win. You got to know where to shut it all off. Utley isn’t known for this. This is the reason why Philadelphia loves him. He works hard. In this case, it just might be his downfall. Diving for a ground ball between him and Howard with a 4 run lead in the top of the ninth now seems ridiculous. We applaud it, but regretfully.
Utley’s injuries have been for the most part, silly. Getting hit on the hand and sliding into second, nothing really unavoidable. Which comes to how silent everyone has been in this situation involving his knees. Are they holding back the fact that it is more serious than it is, or is it really something that just needs a little R and R? This is serious. So serious that no one is talking about it. Chase isn’t even in Florida most of the time. At this point we are not talking about a couple a weeks into the season here, or even a season. Everyone get ready for this, we are talking about his career.
Let’s face it, Chase’s numbers have dwindled. Since 2009, Utley hasn’t hit the hundred RBI mark. Batting average has gone down also since then since peaking in ‘08. The biggest number is the amount of games. He truly makes everyone around him better. I’ve said plenty of times that pitching has to work around Utley. Making Howard worth the 25 million a year. Only if he could find a way to actually hitting the ball. If this was the Kentucky Derby and you were reading the DRF, he peaked.
We are on the verge of talking about a man of what could have been instead of what he was. Before the 2008 season, we would talk about players from the 1993 Phillies team. We are talking about one year. A championship loss. We aren’t talking about the players as much as we are talking about how that team played in one year. Darren Daulton was on the team from the early eighties. We might be hours away from finding out how we talk about number 26. Just like we talk about the ‘93 Phils, we might talk about Utley. If you take away the 1993 season, we would have to go back to 1980. With Utley, it’s a matter of the could have. I think we all can admit that we have our own Utley memories. The new Mr. October, the pump fake to first and the “Chase Utley you are the man” play. We will remember his eye at the plate, the ball toss back to Sanchez in which he waved him off as to say you aren’t even on my level. Utley’s attitude as a pull no punches, hard work ethic has this town embracing what he has to say next.
We all want to see Utley play. We want the form of 2008 again. Question is, will we ever get that? Sadly, I think the answer to that is simple, no. That Chase is gone. Philadelphia has benefitted well from that, as has Ryan Howard. We got our parade. I want Chase to go out on top, not fighting for a starting position. The thing is though, Utley won’t stop. Chase has always put whatever he had on the field. Including a chair. I think in this time, while he sees specialists and possible surgeries, we need to respect that. Give him the time, patience and support considering this might, just might be it. You can’t go out and replace Utley. The professionalism he brings cannot be replaced. So let’s not criticize Ruben for this. It’s hard enough to let a loved one go. I think now, we sit and respect Utley’s time. He has never steered us in the wrong direction, and I doubt he would play knowing he can’t. As to the comments of finding his replacement, well good luck. No matter what, Utley is untradeable and is signed for two more years.
So where does Sunday’s “talk to the media” lead us to? Personally, I feel he will come out and say I am going to have more surgeries done and I will work from there. Chase has peaked, but because of his knees. If that changes then we are talking about something different here. Are we talking about a Peyton Manning situation here? No, not until two years from now at least. Utley isn’t hurting us. He just isn’t helping. We are aggravated because he cannot play. His talents aren’t getting any use. I do think in this case it is worth it for us to pay the 15 million and wait it out a little longer. We are still waiting for Howard. Like I said, he isn’t helping us. Just three years ago we were talking about a Hall of Fame caliber player. I think we are selling him out just a little to soon. I understand that we are very close to what looks like the end, but let’s give him every option possible here. Let him wave the white flag. He deserves that. Let’s give him the support so maybe he can return to form. As much as we want him to play, we want him to be okay. We like the player but we love the person. Because it is Chase Utley, and God dammit, he was, scratch, IS the man.