PHILADELPHIA -- It is unlikely Chase Utley will shed a tear as he steps into the batter's box Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.Expressing his feelings is not his style. In fact, standing and chatting inside the Dodgers' dugout last week at Dodger Stadium, Utley only allowed that his first
PHILADELPHIA -- It is unlikely Chase Utley will shed a tear as he steps into the batter's box Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Expressing his feelings is not his style. In fact, standing and chatting inside the Dodgers' dugout last week at Dodger Stadium, Utley only allowed that his first trip to Philadelphia since the Phillies traded him last August "might be a bit emotional."
There should be more than a few standing ovations and a few tips of the cap as the Phillies and Dodgers play a three-game series this week. In preparation for a week of Utley memories, here are eight of Utley's greatest moments with the Phils:
1. Utley's first hit
April 24, 2003
In his first career start in his second career game, Utley hit a grand slam against Colorado's Aaron Cook in the third inning at Veterans Stadium. It was the first of Utley's five grand slams with the Phillies.
2. The Streak
June 23- Aug. 3, 2006
Utley had a 35-game hitting streak, which is tied for the 11th longest in baseball history.
3. The Speech
Oct. 31, 2008
The tightlipped Utley gave one of the most memorable speeches in Philadelphia history following the team's World Series championship parade. He announced to the crowd at Citizens Bank Park that the Phillies were "world champions" -- only he inserted an expletive in the middle to accentuate the exuberance of a fan base that had not enjoyed a championship from one of its professional sports teams in 25 years. Utley still hears the famous line from that famous speech.
"I hear it here at this stadium," Utley said at Dodger Stadium. "There are Phillies fans all over the country. I see at last one or two Phillies jerseys every game, to be honest, and occasionally they say that statement. That was a good time back in 2008, for sure."
4. Beat the Mets, beat the Mets
Aug. 30, 2007
Utley tormented the Mets in his career, but this one sticks out because it contributed to the Mets' collapse as the Phillies won their first National League East title since 1993. The Phils trailed the Mets by one run in the ninth, but with the game tied, Utley ripped a single against Mets closer Billy Wagner to right field to score Tadahito Iguchi from second base. It was the fourth of Utley's five walk-off hits with Philadelphia.
5. Game 1 of 2009 World Series
Oct. 28, 2009
Many Phillies fans remember Game 1 of the 2009 World Series for Cliff Lee's excellence, but Utley hit two home runs in the 6-1 victory. Utley hit five home runs in the series, matching Reggie Jackson for the most in a single Fall Classic.
6. Game 1 of 2008 World Series
Oct. 22, 2008
Utley hit a two-run home run in the first inning against Rays left-hander Scott Kazmir to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was the perfect start to the series for the Phils, who would win their first World Series title in 28 years.
7. "Chase Utley, you are the man!"
Aug. 9, 2006
Utley made plenty of hustle plays in his Phillies career, but this one is immortalized because of Harry Kalas' call. Utley stood on second base when Ryan Howard chopped a ball into the air. Braves pitcher Macay McBride caught the ball and tossed it to first baseman Scott Thorman. Meanwhile, Utley never stopped running and scored from second on a ball that never left the infield. The best part of the play besides Utley's hustle and Kalas' call? Charlie Manuel smiling as he kept looking into the dugout as if to say, "Can you believe he just did that?"
8. Utley outsmarts the Rays
Oct. 29, 2008
In a decisive Game 5, the Phillies and Rays were tied in the seventh inning at 3. Jason Bartlett stood on second base when Akinori Iwamura hit a ground ball up the middle. Utley fielded the ball with his momentum carrying him toward left field. He had no play at first, but he pump-faked a throw there anyway. The fake convinced Rays third-base coach Tom Foley to send Bartlett home. But Utley threw a one-hopper to Carlos Ruiz, who applied the tag for the out to end the inning. It was vintage Utley, always thinking one step ahead of the action on the field.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.