Although second baseman Chase Utley was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week, it's clear that the love affair between Utley and the Phillies fans will live on for a long time. On Wednesday afternoon, he appeared on WIP's Mike and Ike show to talk about his admiration for the hard-nosed fans that had his back throughout his time in Philadelphia.
Utley was quick to defend the fans, who are often portrayed as some of the worst in sports by national media.
“The fans, I think, bring the most out of players,” he said. "I think sometimes, they can crush some guys, guys that aren't mentally tough, but for the most part, guys that want to win, want to be out there, the fans are right there in your back pocket hoping you continue to succeed."
On Monday, Utley took out a full page ad in the Daily News to thank everyone from David Montgomery, his teammates over the years and the fans for contributing to his time in Philadelphia.
Since joining the Dodgers last Wednesday, Utley has hit 2-for-17 with two doubles and three strikeouts. He has played second base for them over the past week, but it was announced that he could see some time at third base once second baseman Howie Kendrick returns from the disabled list.
During the radio interview, Utley pointed out the role that the fans played in some of his favorite moments as a Phillie, specifically the way the fans went “completely nuts” after the comeback to win the NL East division in 2007 and how special it was to see “how much support was out there” during the World Series parade in 2008.
“The fans in Philly have treated me so well over the years. Ever since after my first at-bat when I struck out, when they booed me back to the dugout — ever since then they've been amazing to me,” Utley said. "Listen, I mean, I feel like I play the game the right way. I play hard all the time. I think the fans appreciate that. They appreciate the effort."
Utley was a fan favorite during his Phillies tenure for his intense style of play and ability to come up with a hit in the clutch. Of course, his memorable World Series parade speech in 2008 was one of the rare moments where Utley has relied on words to make an impression.He also touched upon his reserved nature in the interview.
"As far as being a vocal guy, you pick your spots. Obviously, when you say something you want it to be heard, but I feel like if you're always saying something, guys might not listen much."
The entire interview with Utley is available here: