For fans of the Philadelphia Phillies, Chase Utley isn’t just an exemplary player, he’s practically an institution. Utley has been with the Phillies for 13 seasons and has never played with another major league team, which makes it surprising that “The Man” is being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As emotional as many of his fans, Chase Utley expressed his gratitude to Philadelphia and the Phillies for 13 great years on Wednesday night.
For years, Utley has been hailed as one of the best Phillies players of all time. Surprisingly, there was a time when Chase Utley wasn’t considered a star player for the team. Utley, who signed to the Phillies in 2000, advanced through the minor leagues fairly slowly and didn’t make an appearance in the major leagues until 2003, when he was 24. He soon established himself as a formidable second baseman and ultimately helped the Phillies to a World Series win in 2008. It remains to be seen where he will fall on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster.
After last night’s game, Chase Utley appeared at a press conference and confirmed his departure before giving a lengthy and emotional goodbye to the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia. Starting out, Utley described the move as difficult.
“Three weeks or so ago, I had a conversation with Ruben. I think everyone knows my love and affection for this city. We put our heads together and we decided it might be best for us to part ways. I gave them a list of handful of teams I would consider playing for and then it was Ruben’s job to try and find the best deal for the organization. Ultimately it came down to the Dodgers… It was a very, very difficult decision for me and my family to go.”
Utley later said that his favorite memory of the city was after his ’08 World Series win.
“I don’t think we’re going to be around all night to go through all the great memories we’ve had here. Obviously winning the World Series in 2008, nothing gets better than that. The way this city reacted to that team was truly special, something that I will never forget. Going down Broad Street after winning the World Series was an amazing feeling.”
Finally, Utley said that the most difficult thing for him would be leaving Philadelphia.
“I think the hardest part is leaving the city of Philadelphia. They’ve been so good to me, so supportive of me over the years that I can’t thank them enough for it, but I’ll try.”
[Image Credit via Getty Images]