By: Beasley Reece
CLEARWATER, Florida (CBS) – My final day at Phillies Spring Training was a blur. We chased down Chase Utley for an extended chat then headed to the airport to fly home to Philly. It was all done with the urgency of a Blue Heron taking flight after stepping on the back of an Alligator while hunting. Just not enough time in the day. Chase was as accommodating as he gets, which is to say, less so than anyone else on the team. Still, he did stop and showed respect for the process of connecting with his adoring fans via the press.
Speaking of fans, Utley called you the tenth man and said he is expecting you to be at your best all season. He deflected all questions concerning his less productive than usual season, his injuries, and the down year over all for the batters last season. Chase also reminded us that this questionable hitting staff helped win the most regular season games in baseball and finished second in run production as if to say crunch on those numbers silly media.
He is working his tail off. He will do anything to help his team win. I personally watched Chase swing the bat for three hours per day in one way or another. He was in camp early and worked long hours like a man in need of overtime to buy enough beans to feed his family.
Chase is wise beyond his years in many ways. He constantly warned us not to get ahead of ourselves with World Series talk in February. He’s right. There’s a lot of water to pass under the Ben Franklin between now and October.
We have a great young man at second base. I just wish he didn’t see himself as a caged animal forced to endure the focus of the Zoo visitors. Chase is one of those pros who will realize how cool this all is after it’s over.
The full squad reports on Friday. Practice for the season of promise is underway.