Voila_Capture975 Voila_Capture976The Phillies rolled out Chase Utley yesterday and sent him on a magical media tour around Philly to tell anyone willing to listen that his team will contend in 2014.

For what, exactly, we’re not sure.

It was unusual to see Chase so… accessible. First he stopped by the WIP Morning Show and sat in-studio for half an hour [audio here]. Then there was an unscheduled visit to FOX Good Day, which films right across the street from WIP’s studios. Then he met the assembled media at Citizens Bank Park at that little spot in the Phillies’ clubhouse that has played home to so many media scrums, both memorable and forgettable (Delmon Young). Then he called into Mike Missanelli’s show, also somewhat unexpectedly [audio here]. And today he’ll be taking questions on the Phillies’ Twitter.

That’s… more than Chase does during the course of an entire season. What was the reason? To spread Phillies cheer. Sure, he promoted his charity, the Utley Foundation, and mentioned Phillies single-game ticket sales, but this was a publicity thing during a winter in which the Phillies sorely need positive publicity. Wag that dog!

They announced yesterday that the Phanatic, who took this extraordinarily awkward yet hot photo with Dom Brown in Mexico…


pic via Dom Brown’s Instagram

… would be at all of Spring Training. And then there was Chase: Look, over here, at the great Utley! He smiles, smells nice, wears a cool, World Fucking Champion-esque beanie, and has two knees! Everyone experience the power of the great Chase… just ignore his grey hair.



I love Utley. A lot. Want to squeeze him. Name at least one child after him. Want me and my fiancée to be couples friends and do dinner with him and Jen, and after the meal… who knows? But make no mistake, despite all of Utley’s assurances that he likes the squad this year – one of the first names he thought to cite as a reason why was Jake Diekman – no sane baseball person will tell you that the Phillies should be a good team in 2014. Sure, Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz and, ugh, Marlon Byrd could all remain healthy while Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee dominate, in which case the Phillies would make the playoffs. But that’s highly unlikely, and I actually think the Phils are resigned to the fact that their window has closed and, they’ll never tell you this, that’s why their name rarely came up in discussions about higher-priced free agents this winter. Jacoby Ellsbury and Robinson Cano would’ve been guys the Phillies may have gone after two, three years ago to put them over the edge (a la Hunter Pence). But on this aging team, overpaid stars like that would be a waste of money. So…. we get more Utley, because he’s one of the only things people even like about the Phillies anymore.