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Q&A: Utley reflects on years with Phillies

Retiring 6-time All-Star making final regular-season visit to Philadelphia
July 22, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- If you want to see Chase Utley step to the plate with Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" playing over the Citizens Bank Park sound system, this is the final week to do it.Utley announced a little more than a week ago that he will retire following the 2018 season. It

PHILADELPHIA -- If you want to see Chase Utley step to the plate with Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" playing over the Citizens Bank Park sound system, this is the final week to do it.
Utley announced a little more than a week ago that he will retire following the 2018 season. It is not a coincidence that he made the announcement before he plays in Philadelphia for the final time, when the Dodgers and Phillies open a three-game series Monday night.
Of course, the two teams could meet again in the postseason, right? That would be fun.
Either way, Utley will finish his career as the greatest second baseman and one of the most popular players in Phillies history. chatted with Utley for a few minutes at Dodger Stadium in May. He talked not only about the 10th anniversary of the Phillies' 2008 World Series championship, but the Eagles winning the Super Bowl, Jason Kelce's celebratory speech and where he sees himself in 10 years.
Here are a few highlights: Before the Eagles won the Super Bowl, you appeared in an Instagram video with Rob McElhenney and Kaitlin Olson. You're gliding across the room with Rob, flapping your arms like eagles as the 'Rocky' theme music plays. Philly fans loved it. I think they liked the idea that you were thinking of them. What is the story behind it?
Utley: To be honest with you, it was just a random thing that we did. My wife and I were over at their house for dinner a few weeks before the Super Bowl and we decided to make a video. At first it was just for us as a joke. But we did it a few times. We had a few glasses of wine to go along with it. I talked to Rob and we decided, hey, let's put it out there for the social-media environment, which neither one of us are really too familiar with. And, yeah, it turned out to be a hit. It was cool obviously then that the Eagles won. And then Jason Kelce gives that speech where he drops like 50 expletives. You uttered a couple when you spoke after the Phillies won World Series in 2008. Your speech was tame by comparison.
Utley: So tame. But at the time it was kind of controversial. Did you see the Kelce speech and have any flashbacks to yours?
Utley: Not too many flashbacks. I did watch the [Kelce] speech a few times. I thought it was pretty entertaining to be honest. But playing in Philadelphia, as everyone knows, when they play a sport there the fans are passionate and they're into it, they want to see guys play hard and play the right way and play to win. I know Jason does that. And when you win a championship, it's fairly emotional and some things are said that normally aren't said, but the truth comes out. People still call you guys the WFCs.
Utley: I've signed a few jerseys like that. Not too many. I did get a little flack about it from some people, but at the end of the day, I felt like it was received pretty well. You're on Instagram now. I think if somebody would have asked me in 2010 to name the last two players to embrace social media, I would have said you and Roy Halladay. Roy had fun with it. You seem to have fun with it, too. What changed?
Utley: I think you have to evolve, evolve with the times. Nowadays you see how much stuff is on social media. A lot of people get their information from social media. I'm just trying to fit in, playing here in Los Angeles, especially with a lot of younger guys that are more advanced in that arena than I am. I can't help but get into it. Does it feel like 10 years since you won the World Series?
Utley: Some days it feels like 10 years ago. Some days it feels just like yesterday. Obviously playing again against the Phillies, there's only a handful of guys that I had an opportunity to play with the last few years I was in Philadelphia, so that really resonates and makes you think it was a while back. What immediately comes to your mind when you think about that World Series?
Utley: There's a few things. Obviously, the last out comes to mind first. But overall, it wasn't just the World Series, it was the playoffs in general. Getting to that stage, there are so many great memories. Matt Stairs' home run. Brett Myers' at-bat. What do you remember about that last at-bat in Game 5?
Utley: I remember how loud our fans were, but how calm I felt inside. Normally you don't necessarily have those things correlate, but for some reason I just had that feeling that Brad [Lidge] was going to get it done like he did the whole year, really. Does the thought enter your mind, even for a split second, like, what am I going to do when we get that third out? How am I going to celebrate?
Utley: No, I didn't have any thoughts about how I was going to react. You're kind of in the moment, focusing on what's going on. Maybe some guys did. That's something I did not do. I remember you threw your glove down and charged into the pile.
Utley: Ran right in, dog pile, maybe threw a few punches. I mean, it's pretty surreal. It happened really fast, but in the moment it was kind of like slow motion. Was there a moment in that postseason when you thought you were going to win the whole thing?
Utley: Vic's [Shane Victorino's] grand slam [against Carsten Sabathia in Game 2 of the NLDS] was a pretty surreal moment. Obviously the at-bat by Brett [Myers], which was amazing. There were a few different moments over the course of the playoffs where you felt like things were going our way. The homer Matt [Stairs] hit here at Dodger Stadium was pretty amazing. But yeah, things were clicking on all cylinders and that's what you need to be a world champion. I always think the replay of Stairs' home run does not do it justice. As somebody who plays here regularly, can you explain how high and far that ball went?
Utley: Once in a while in batting practice during the day when it's warm out you will see balls go that far, but at night the ball doesn't travel here nearly as well. He waffled that ball. Your homer in the first inning in Game 1 of the World Series against the Rays was a big moment. I think Phillies fans kind of exhaled because their team got off to a good start and had an early lead.
Utley: It was the same from our perspective. Obviously I'm not trying to hit a home run in that spot. I think I had two strikes on me. I was just trying to hit the ball somewhere. Lucky enough, it ran into my bat in the right spot. Your biggest play in that World Series is the deke and throw home to get Jason Bartlett at the plate. It's 3-3, top of the seventh, two outs. Bartlett is on second. Akinori Iwamura hits a ball up the middle. You fake a throw to first, then get Bartlett by a mile.
Utley: You have the runner on second base and you clearly don't want him to score. J.C. Romero is pitching vs. Iwamura. Typically during the season, J.C. threw a lot of sinkers inside to lefties, so we tended to shift in the four hole, and as soon as he hit it I realized it was going to be a tough play. It was cold outside so your hands are a little stiff. My timeclock in my head, I knew it was taking a lot of time to get to the ball, then I realized at that point it was going to be a bang-bang play at first base if I made the throw. So at the point I figured it was more important that we kept that runner at third then get the out at first base. I faked it just for the hell of it. And he kept going so I just made an easy throw to the plate. Did you think he might keep running?
Utley: You're hoping he keeps going, but obviously you don't know how he's going to react. To be honest with you, it was a good play on their part. As a runner I would have kept going as well and also been out, but you've got to take those chances, especially when runs are at a premium. Do you remember the rubber ducks? Charlie Manuel put one in everybody's locker before the World Series. But that was your saying: 'Get the rubber duck out of your [butt],' right?
Utley: Possibly, possibly. I never heard that expression in my life before then.
Utley: Charlie liked to keep it light and he was a guy that never really panicked. But there were a few times throughout the course of the season where he felt guys got a little uncomfortable and at that point the game can speed up on you and make it more difficult. So you'd say that on the mound or in the dugout?
Utley: I would say it mostly to Charlie. And to some other guys, but mostly Charlie, just to make sure that he wasn't getting uptight. People don't really think of him getting uptight, but he could get ornery a little bit at times, right?
Utley: Of course. I mean, [during] the playoffs you're going to get stressed out in certain situations. To have a saying that can snap you out of it real quick, I think is good. A few of your teammates say the parade was one of the most awesome experiences of their lives. How was it for you?
Utley: Yeah, I would have to agree. Just the support that the city gave us. We didn't really know what we were getting into heading into the parade. We knew there was going to be a lot of people, but I didn't imagine that many people supporting us. It was really incredible. And that day happened pretty fast as well. Madson said he celebrated after Game 5 at a T.G.I. Friday's in South Jersey. How'd you celebrate?
Utley: I think a lot of people ended up at Pat [Burrell's] condo downtown. And that lasted a while. It's a little blurry at that point. But I remember having a good time. What do you think you're going to be doing in 10 years?
Utley: Ten years? Well, in 10 years I'll probably be shuffling my boys back and forth to whatever they want to do. Whether that's sports or whatever it may be. Maybe playing a little golf, maybe flipping on the TV and watching some games here and there. Who knows? There might not even be TV then. It might be all virtual reality. Do you think you'd ever coach?
Utley: I would say no at this point just because coaching takes up so much time. Over the past six years, I've missed out a lot of time with my boys, so I want the opportunity to hang with them a little more.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for since 2009.