Simply put, I adore Chase Utley. His name and number are on the back of my jersey. His walk-up song—Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”—is my ringtone. Sometimes, I even catch myself playing that celeb-name mash-up game in my head: “Would we be known as Phase—or maybe Utgrrl?—in the Philly media?” (Don’t judge me. It’s a good way to take my mind off the guy smelling of piss and Mad Dog who just sat next to me on the Broad Street line.)
With all due respect to Mrs. Utley, her husband is the female Viagra that scientists have been wasting time trying to concoct in a lab. And his strange and wonderful powers are not limited to chicks. Chase has ignited more bromances in this city than Twitter has flash mobs. Come on ladies, you know that dreamy-eyed look that washes over your man when No. 26 comes up to bat.
Our second baseman reminds me of the quiet, unassuming guy in the corner of the bar who after a few drinks is suddenly on top of a table slurring out the chorus to “Sweet Caroline.” Or who, after humbly helping his team win a World Series, drops the “F” bomb on live TV (silly us, here we thought that incident at the ’08 All-Star Game was just a fluke). Or who steps up to the plate with that child-like smirk that seems to say, “I just farted in the dugout and blamed Dobbsy,” and murders the ball straight back to Ashburn Alley.
If you’re a Phillies fan, you know the stats. You know what Chase has contributed to this team and to this city. As a worshipper at the altar of Utley, for me, the pinnacle of his career thus far came last fall during the World Series. While the general media was consumed with how far they could crawl up the Yankees’ collective ass, Chase was—again, quietly and humbly—tying and breaking records. In game one, he set a postseason record by reaching base in 26 straight games. Utley also joined Babe Ruth that night as the second left-handed batter to hit two home runs in a World Series game against a left-handed pitcher. In Game Five, his two home runs gave him a series total of five, tying him with Reggie Jackson for the most home runs in a World Series.
Suddenly, it was as if people were discovering him for the first time. “Joined Babe Ruth? Tied Reggie Jackson? Wow, this guy must be good!” Us loyal Phillies fans knew all along. Like they say, it’s always the quiet ones.
This season, Utley is back, and his strong performance out of the gate already is re-igniting that cult-like adoration, like these impassioned tweets I read after Chase homered in the April 14 game against the Nationals: “Chase Utley is God!” and “I want Chase Utley to get my girlfriend pregnant.” Yep, the love affair begins again.
That’s our second baseman. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present you, Chase Fucking Utley.