World F*cking Champions.
Three words that forever made Phillies second baseman Chase Utley “one of us”.
More so than any other member of that now legendary 2008 team that won it all, Utley was the player fans identified with the most, the one they felt was most like them. But more than anything, even though he came from the West Coast, Utley was always more Philly than anyone on that entire roster.
Chase Utley was, as Harry the K so succinctly said, The Man
And Utley made all of us so proud with those three little words on the day the city celebrated the Phillies winning the 2008 World Series. It was such a … Philadelphia thing to do.
On Wednesday, word broke that Chase Utley, a 13-year veteran of the Phillies and a five-time All-Star, had agreed to be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a pair of mid-level prospects. The deal brings to an end months of speculation about Utley’s future and if the team would try to move him or if he would finish the season with the only team he had ever played for.
Thanks to Utley having 10-and-5 rights (ten years in the league and five years with the same club), any deal would have to be approved by Utley to happen. It would appear the idea of playing for his hometown club and reuniting with shortstop and former Phillie Jimmy Rollins was too good a opportunity to pass up.
With the Dodgers starting 2B Howie Kendrick out with a left hamstring injury, it will give Utley a chance for steady playing time, at least for a while. Even though Utley is currently batting a career-low .217, he has been red-hot as of late, batting .484 since coming off the DL. Now he at least has a chance to show what he can do to the rest of the league if he should decide to continue playing past this season, when he will become a free agent.
The term “end of an era” if thrown around a lot in sports, more so than it really should. But the Phillies trading Chase Utley is one of the few times where it is justified and also very true.
Of the core group that won that title, now only Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz are left. But for some reason the loss of Utley hurts more and cuts deeper than it probably should. That is probably because Utley was always the heart and soul of this franchise and even as fans watched his knees deteriorate and his average slump, that never changed.
With the trade of Utley, the latest Golden Age of Phillies Baseball has come to an official close. Utley leaves the Phillies ranked first in HBP, fifth in RBIs, sixth in home runs and extra base hits, seventh in games played and ninth in hits.
So thanks Chase. Thanks for 13 amazing years of excitement, fun and always being The Man.
But most of all, thanks for making us World F*cking Champions.