On Tuesday, August, 16, Chase Utley made his first trip back to Citizens Bank Park since being dealt to the team where Phillies' greats go to die-the Los Angeles Dodgers (RIP JRoll). Almost exactly a year removed from the trade that broke Phillies fans hearts, Utley- who leads off for the Dodgers at the ripe old age of 37- received a LONG standing ovation from Philadelphia, and people cannot believe it!
"OMG Philly fans cheering for their opponent?!?! This is blasphemy!! Philly fans are the Devil! These people threw snowballs at Santa Claus for god's sake! How could those wretched drunks from Broad Street possibly cheer for the enemy?!"
And there are so many simple answers to these questions. Let's start with Chase Utley as the focal point of the story. Apparently people forget what Chase Utley did for Philadelphia. While Chase wasn't even the best player on those great Phillies teams from 2007-2012, never had the most incredible numbers, and was playing alongside back to back MVP winners in Jimmy Rollins (the most swag Phillies SS in history) and Ryan Howard, he was never overshadowed. And that's because Chase Utley was a gritty, hustling, play-baseball-the-right-way kind of guy. He was enamored by the city of Philadelphia for his toughness (like breaking his hand on a 95 MPH fastball then staying in the game to run the bases) and his ability to come in day after day and make spectacular plays that helped sell out CBP for 257 straight games.
So to see a player who was universally loved by Phillies fans for 13 years, who was traded at the age of 36 to make room for the dreaded rebuilding process, come back home while playing well for a team we don't care about while we are playing sub .500 baseball, and then hit two home runs to make Phillies fans reminisce about the good ole days of the 2008 World Series, we welcomed Chase home with open arms, just like
And to the people who always say Philly fans have no class (it's true we're assholes), we know how to take care of our own. Chase Utley will eventually be enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame - along with most of the 2008 team- and will remain in Philly lore for eternity. And to the people who love to bring up the "Eagles fans throwing snowballs at Santa Claus" as the number one reason why Philly fans are the worst, that happened in 1968, can we move onto a new topic now? If I can't use the 1960 NFL Championship then you shouldn't be allowed to bring up something that happened 48 years ago. I assume most of the people who were at that game are either senile or dead now.
And as last respect to Chase Utley, here's my favorite moment in sports history from my 20 years of breathing on this earth.