In Praise of Chase "F'in" Utley
"World Champions." "World F***ing" Champions."
So it was said by Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley last Friday at Citizens Bank Park, as the town of Philadelphia celebrated its victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series.
Oh, OK. Already you are sick of the scenes of the Phillies clinching the World Series, piling atop closer Brad Lidge. The SI offers and the 2008 Phillies vs. Rays DVD.
One last visit, though, and one last argument of why the Phillies won the World Series. Being a Phillies fan, I am going to give you the Phillies reason, but as a Rays fan, you have to wonder about the use of fireballer David Price and the difference he could have made to the Rays. Especially in Game Five.
Nope, I am going to tell you that Chase "F'in" Utley is the reason the Phils sit atop the baseball world.
Hey, he only hit .167 in the World Series and a bit over .200 all postseason. In addition to hitting the first half of the back-to-back home runs in Game Four of the World Series in a 10-2 Phillies win, it is two postseason plays on the field that stand out.
To preface, I got thinking how tough it is to repeat as World Series champions, therefore realizing that to win it, everything has to fall into place and players have to perform championship hits and championship plays. Nobody, I mean, nobody embodies this like Chase "F'ing" Utley.
In Game Four of the NLCS, probably my favorite game of the postseason, the Dodgers took a 5-3 lead and had the bases loaded with one out, ready to break open the game. Russell Martin hit a shot towards second base. Utley grabbed it in the air, dove toward second to tag with ball in glove to complete the double play. Bang, bang, inning over. Pure instincts that few other players possess.
In Game Five of the World Series, part deux, in the top of the seventh, Rocco Baldelli tied the game 3-3 with a solo home run. Jason Bartlett then singled, and after a sacrifice by J.P. Howell, Akinori Iwamura hit a ball deep in the hole past second base. Utley fielded the ball and faked a throw to first, then gunned out Bartlett at home on a one bouncer to preserve the tie.
Chase "F'ing" Utley.
Forget Shane Victorino. If you have Utley on your team, you love him. If he is on the other team, you hate him. Or wished you had him.
World "F'ing" Champions."
Thank you, Chase.
It is the second time Utley has uttered the word. The other time while miked at the All-Star Game introductions: "Boo? F You."
This time, though, he said it, then left town and went back to his home in California.
Timing is everything, right Chase?
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