On July 13, the Los Angeles Dodgers held a press conference for Poly alum Chase Utley to announce that he will be retiring from Major League Baseball after the season.
To be honest, I didn’t get it…why would he announce that he’s going to retire at some point? I mean we all are.
It’s because Chase Utley is a genius. Here’s what’s happening:
Utley and the Dodgers will travel to JP Crawford and the Philadelphia Phillies on July 23-25 where he will get his GIGANTIC curtain call from Philadelphia fans. He won a World Series title in 2008 with the Phillies and holds the record for most hit-by-pitches in franchise history with 173 (85 more than the next person on the list. GRIT).
For now, Utley isn’t a “dead red” Hall of Famer, but this move sure helps his case. Anybody who has a farewell tour, which Utley is about to get for the rest of the season, is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, David Ortiz, and Kobe Bryant all enjoyed gifts and praises from opposing teams and fans and all are headed to the Hall.
In Utley’s 16-year career, he hit .276 with 259 home runs and a WAR (wins above replacement) of 65.6, which is higher than Craig Biggio, who is currently in the Hall of Fame. And Utley will finish his career with exactly one farewell tour, so it should be a no-brainer (if you ask me.)
It was also a great call announcing his retirement early because Utley, 39, knows that running hard on ground ball outs is a thing of the past. Nobody’s doing it anymore. He was the last one of his generation and was probably getting sick of looking like a nerd. Honestly, it was tough to watch. Good on him, because now, his excuse for not running hard can be, “Well he’s retiring so we’ll let it slide (But not like a dirty slide. Just a regular slide right into the bag).”
In all seriousness though, this generation may look like it doesn’t care because nobody runs hard anymore, but in reality, this generation is just smarter than the last. Nowadays, guys are so good that if you hit a ball on the ground, you’re out. Save your legs for the other 162 games you have to play. Work smarter, not harder. It’s like the invention of the TV remote. Utley changes the channel by walking to the TV still and Mike Trout doesn’t. That’s why Trout’s numbers are so high.
I think all MLB fans can agree that we’ll miss Chase Utley after he retires, a guy who exuded toughness and a winning mentality. Except for maybe Mets fans who absolutely HATE him for the number of times that he’s torched the Mets.
Utley SHOULD and WILL be a Hall of Famer when he officially hangs it up, and you heard it here first. Congrats on an unbelievable career.