PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the postseason, one win away from advancing to the National League Championship Series.
Philadelphia normally wouldn’t care about the Dodgers — a team the Phillies defeated en route to that 2008 World Series title — if it wasn’t for Chase Utley.
But the 38-year-old legendary Philadelphia athlete is in his third season with the Dodgers and although his performance on-the-field has naturally decline, Utley continues to lead.
In an ESPN.com story by Jerry Crasnick, the Dodgers explained Utley’s impact and how you do not want to disappoint The Man.
Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow told the story of how Utley caught him changing his grips ever so slightly, as an indicator to hitters, on film.
“Five percent of people might pick that up, but he wanted to share it because it might help me from telegraphing a pitch down the road,” Morrow told ESPN.com. “He makes everybody else bear down on the finer details that he pays attention to, and he’s enlightened people on what those details can mean.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts admits he relays plenty of messages to his team through Utley.
“There are messages that I want to get to the team, to certain players, and Chase handles a lot of it. Sometimes a certain message should be delivered by the manager. But in another context, it can be more powerful coming from a guy like Chase.”
Corey Seager, an Utley mentee, said, “You don’t ever want to disappoint Chase. That’s a good word for it. He sees everything, even when you don’t think he’s looking.”
And Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw admits Utley is the quiet leader of the Dodgers.
“I think everybody looks up to him and wants to play the right way to please him,” Kershaw said. “There’s a level of accountability he creates within the team, just by doing what he does, that’s huge. He’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around.”
Utley does not have a plate appearance in two postseason games this season, but at 38, he continues to help his team win — his ultimate goal.