Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is generally a quiet guy. But, the Phillies' popular player took the media in many forms in the last few days, perhaps because the Phillies forced him to. Utley's media blitz included an interview with Ryan Lawrence of the Daily News, an appearance on 94 WIP, an appearance on 97.5 the Fanatic, and a Twitter takeover from the Phillies official account.
Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News happened to catch Utley in the Phillies clubhouse "as he was passing by". Utley was confident about the Phillies' chances:
"I definitely think we can contend, and I wouldn't have signed back here if I didn't think we had an opportunity....Obviously, we had some key parts of our lineup banged up, and I guess that happens throughout the league, but when you lose your middle-of-the-lineup guys, you lose your-middle-of-the-field guys, they're an important part of your club.
Having those guys back healthy makes us automatically a better team, but we have to continue to improve and continue to do what we have to do to stay healthy. If we do that, I like our chances."
"Everyone was trying to get a feel for everything this past year. Losing Charlie [Manuel], him and Ryan [Howard], there was a lot of awkward things last year, but the bright side is guys had an opportunity to play that hadn’t played at this level before. Guys got their feet wet. Come this year, it’s time to get it rolling now."
Utley also spoke of his charitable foundation, the Chase Utley foundation. Utley said he grew up with animals and was always around them, while his wife, Jen, volunteered at the SPCA, and gained a great appreciation of animals. The mission of Utley Foundation (www.theutleyfoundation.com) is "to bring awareness to the increasing epidemic of animal cruelty" and "to educate the community in the proper treatment of animals and raise funds for the fight against animal neglect, pain and suffering."
On 97.5 the Fanatic with Mike Missanelli (full podcast is available on 97.5 the Fanatic's webpage), Utley spoke about how the team's additions and healthy teammates will make the Phillies contenders.
Missannelli asked about recent reports of leadership issues and asked whether we would see a new, more vocal Utley in 2014:
"We'll see...time will tell. I do have two year-old son now, so things have changed a bit in my household. I'm excited about the team. I know we had a rush year last year. The addition of Marlon Byrd, and having Ryan and Ben Revere healthy I think will help. Some guys in our bullpen reall showed what they could do last year..."
Missanelli seemed to offend Utley by asking why Utley is quiet or "detatched"
"I don't necessarily believe that I am detached...I just like at times if there is nothing good to say, don't say anything at all. I stick to that motto and I like to play that game."
After Missanelli said that he wanted to see a "song and dance every now and then". That comment seemed to offend Utley, who responded,
"I won't listen to your radio show anytime soon."
Finally, Utley took to Twitter on the Phillies' official account to answer fans' questions. He took some serious questions, and some not-so-serious questions. Here are some highlights:
Many of the questions were just about what one would expect from Twitter, but there were a couple of serious tweets, too.
So, that was your rare Chase Utley media blitz. Pitchers and catchers report in less than a month. Soon Utley will be doing what he usually does: shuts up and plays.