The 2012 season was one that the Philadelphia Phillies don't want to forget. While their .500 record was hardly memorable, important lessons were learned that hopefully enlightened everyone's mind.
Chase Utley's chronic knee condition was documented during spring training last year and apparently is now under control. But, everyone understands that the aging process can't be suspended, or reversed. Until this 34-year-old man crosses the 115 games played line this year, “progress” will be nothing more than a cliche.
It was encouraging that number 26 hardly missed a game after making his season debut on June 27. Utley did average more home runs per at bat and generated a higher OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) than he did during the 2011 season.
However, he only made 83 appearances last season. That number represented the lowest total of major league games that the Phillies second baseman made since he became an official major league baseball player in 2003.
The grind of every season can wear down the strongest of men. In consideration of Utley's rapid physical decline, which began in earnest during the 2010 season, there's no logical reason to believe that he will truly reverse that traceable trend.
The mark of a fan is to link emotional feelings to future projections. It's also off base when people choose to put their full faith into sabermetrics, because failing to calculate human determination is a flaw found within many statistical seams.
Utley is the only person who actually knows what he's physically and mentally capable of achieving in 2013. Every supporter and digital detractor should agree on that sharp baseball point.