No one expected Chase Utley to play like it was 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 or 2009 this year. But, this twelfth-year Philadelphia Phillies' icon has somehow managed to resurrect the young Utley once more. His revitalized lower core continues to enable a classically connected short swing and resulting base paths to be aggressively run.
Philadelphia's fans honored the five-year mark of Harry Kalas' passing (April 13, 2009) this week. Their beloved voice can be heard talking with Richie Ashburn about the Phillies again. Clearly, those eternal friends like what they've seen so far at second base.
'Harry the K' spontaneously dubbed Utley as 'The Man' during a moment that seems like a lifetime ago. But, spring always offers hope for the future, however realistic that may be. And so, an unexpected glimpse of the rising number 26 can be seen on the field right now.
If Utley were still 26-years-old he'd likely be on his way to another torrid red-striped campaign. Barring injury, of course. Yes, jaded observers are currently waiting for the sky to fall on his behalf.
At 35, it isn't realistic for fans to believe that Utley can remain healthy for a full season, is it? His determined face was only seen during 115 games in 2010, 103 games in 2011 and 83 games in 2012. Those facts and his eventually revealed knee issues appeared to sadly confirm that a great career would be truncated. Those three seasons preceded the 131 games Utley played in 2013.
Every step, swing, slide, turn, throw and tumble remain uncertain for this California native. Yet, his heartbeat continues to equal any Little Leaguer. Utley was, is and will always be a classic Philly guy because every ounce of his soul is evident all the time.
Some veteran players are lifted by a second wind during the latter stages of their careers. With legends cheering him on from above, there's no doubt that Utley could be “The Man” one more time, or maybe for a few more years. He's one of the great players of this era and seasoned minds will never count him out.