Tonight is the first time Chase Utley will step foot inside Citizens Bank Park since he was traded to the Dodgers nearly one year ago, almost to the day. Since then he’s become part of Dodgers’ lore – for better or worse – but he’ll always be a Phillie. When he returns tonight, the very least the Phillies could do is play his theme song.

Chase Utley doesn’t play here anymore. I don’t care. Not only is he an arguable Hall of Famer and a generational player for the Phillies, he was able to play his whole career here without controversy. He was never benched for not running a ball out. Never complained about the fans. Never had people pile all over him because of injuries. Never said he wished the season was over. By keeping the real Chase Utley close to the vest, he allowed us all to fall in love with the flawless Chase Utley in our minds. The only man in Philadelphia who could get away with wearing a soul patch for so long. Chase Utley is the Philadelphia Phillies.

Forget all the numbers*. Here’s the thing that makes Utley a true Phillie through and through: He’s been a better player against the Mets than he was for the Phillies. Look at the breakdown:

  • Batting Average
    • .282 as a Phillie
    • .282 vs. Mets
  • OPS
    • .847 as a Phillie
    • .904 vs. the Mets
  • At-bats per HR
    • 24.67 as a Phillie
    • 17.89 vs. the Mets
  • At-bats per RBI
    • 6.28 as a Phillie
    • 6.02 vs. the Mets
  • 9th most HR all-time against the Mets (38)
  • 9th most Doubles all-time against the Mets (45)
  • 16th most RBI all-time against the Mets (113)

For chrissakes, the man has a corner of the Mets ballpark named after him. For that reason alone he deserves a dozen statues.

And then there are those chords. Those Page-strummed opening chords that accompanied Utley up to the very home plate he’ll step to tonight– 3,185 times, to be exact. The chords that immediately identify that it’s Chase Utley time to any Philadelphian. It’s a small gesture, but the Phillies must hit play for the 3,186th time tonight.


*The numbers in Phillies history are, by the way: 1st in HBP (by a long shot), 1st in stolen base percentage, 2nd in season and career WAR, 5th in doubles, 6th in home runs, 6th in runs scored, 7th in RBIs, 7th in runs created, 7th in plate appearances, 8th in games played, 9th in at bats, and 9th in hits, just to name a few.