This one hurts.
Many of you know how much of a baseball fanatic I am. Closer friends know my love of the Philadelphia Phillies.
As things have gone for the worse the past few years, I always knew players could be traded, though I thought one or two were basically untouchable. They’d been here for their careers … they won’t be leaving, right?
Baseball is a business, though. And it’s times like this when I question many things about the game.
For you Yankee fans, imagine a non-playoff year a couple of years ago … and imagine them trading Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera. How would you have felt?
It’s how I feel with Chase Utley.
Utley was traded to the Dodgers last Wednesday night in a move that feels like somebody kicked me in the gut.
Utley personified Philadelphia. He was a blue-collar player, hard-nosed and played the game the right way. He wasn’t afraid to do what he had to do to win. Needless to say, he was by far one of the most popular players in Philly.
He was definitely my favorite player. Still is. Even if he’s been cast off by an inept general manager who shouldn’t be making any moves at this point. This team doesn’t get better until he’s gone. This is a GM who took over for a Hall of Fame front office person and destroyed it.
And now, this is what happens. In the span of eight months, two franchise players (Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) have been cast off. By franchise players I mean two who looked to play their careers with the team. Cole Hamels – another franchise face signed for a few more years – was traded in July.
Yet, Ruben Amaro is still making moves. Makes me shake my head.
But this isn’t about a GM who has destroyed something that took a while to build, this is about a 36-year-old second baseman who wanted to remain in Philly and is now being sent to the west coast. Yes, he had to approve the trade. But as I’ve noted to others – when your name comes up in the talks all the time, eventually you are going to look at the writing on the wall and agree to go somewhere, as long as it’s a spot where you would like to be. It’s not like he forced his hand to be traded here, by all accounts anyway.
Chase Utley gave Phillies fans a lot of memories. It’s going to be disgusting seeing him wear blue and white. I’ve seen him once since the trade — his final at-bat in his first game with the Dodgers, when they were no-hit by the Astros.
The game is a business and this proves it. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure.
Thanks for the memories, Chase.
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