Chase Utley torturing the Mets — a tradition unlike any other.
It’s like Philly’s favorite pastime.
There will be no more of it after the 2018 campaign as the 39-year-old Utley announced Friday night that he will retire at season’s end (see story).
Mets fans haven’t cheered this hard all season.
Good riddance, Chase Utley.
The man who tormented the Mets as a Phillie and broke Ruben Tejada’s leg with a filthy ‘slide’ as a Dodger, will reportedly be retiring at the end of the season. https://t.co/dbHby3xseH pic.twitter.com/UrkaorwKyz
— SportsNet New York (@SNYtv) July 13, 2018
Think the Phillies’ ticket office is a little busy right now? In 10 days, the club welcomes the Dodgers to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game series July 23-25. And while those are the hottest dates right now among the Utley devotees, don’t forget Sept. 3-5 — his final, sweet goodbye to the Mets. That series will be played at Dodger Stadium. Man, if only it was at Citi Field — Utley’s home away from home.
Still, it should be fun. Would anyone be surprised if Utley scripted one last memory into his Mets scrapbook?
No way, not when the guy has a résumé (let’s assume baseball players have these) that likely states “proficient in making life miserable for the Mets’ organization and its fans.”
Some of the job’s details …
• Hitting 39 career home runs vs. the Mets, most against any opponent.
• Hitting 14 career home runs at Citi Field, most at any ballpark outside of CBP and Dodger Stadium, obviously. In fact, No. 26 has put so many baseballs into the right-field porch of Citi Field that the section has earned the nickname “Utley’s Corner.”
• Delivering one of the biggest knockout blows during the Mets’ epic 2007 collapse, which beautifully coincided with the start of the Phillies’ greatest era in franchise history, featuring five straight NL East titles, two NL pennants, a World Series crown and a club-record 102-win season. Utley’s pump of the fist on that late August day was special considering his uncanny go-about-your-business persona seldom slipped.
• Tying Willie Mays for eighth all-time in dominance of the Mets.
• Oh, and driving then-Mets manager Terry Collins up a wall. That was a delight.
Let’s provide the context:
Remember when Noah Syndergaard whizzed a 99-mph pitch behind Utley’s back during a May regular-season game in 2016? It was obvious retaliation stemming from Utley’s hard takeout slide in the 2015 playoffs that resulted in a broken leg for Ruben Tejada. For those that know Utley, there was no malicious intent. He simply plays hard.
But anyway, Syndergaard was ejected and Collins went bonkers. You can watch here, but a warning that the video contains profane language. It also shows just how much Utley was in the heads of those Mets.
When it looked like things would escalate, Utley, cool as a cucumber, signaled to his bench as if to say: Stay back, I’m good.
He was better than good.
Utley went on to smack two homers, one being a grand slam, and the Dodgers rolled the Mets, 9-1.
It was just another day of Utley owning the Mets.
We’ll miss it.