PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chase Utley will forever have a place in Phillies fans’ hearts, and he’ll forever own space in Mets fans’ heads rent free. Utley joined WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” Wednesday to discuss everything from breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg to Phillies-Mets to bat flips.
Utley, arguably the face of the Phillies’ golden era from 2007 to 2011, tortured the Mets throughout his career both in Philadelphia and in Los Angeles. The Phillies-Mets rivalry was as intense as any during those years, and Utley was very much at the front of it all.
The six-time All-Star, in particular, recalled one incident that occurred in Flushing, New York, involving a young boy.
“I remember coming off the field one time and there was a boy. He was 10 years old, maybe,” Utley told Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti. “As I’m walking to the dugout, he looks me right in the eyes and he goes, ‘I hope you blanking die.’
“I looked right at his dad. I’m like, I can’t believe this. He’s 10 years old, he said this,” Utley added. “Maybe his dad is going to say it, and his dad repeated the same thing as he’s going at me.”
To Mets fans, Utley was very much a Thanos-like figure. He slugged 39 home runs against the Mets, the most against any opponent in his career, with a .281/.374/.526 slash line in 194 career regular-season games.
Most of it had been brewing long before Utley’s famous slide that broke Tejada’s leg in the 2015 NLDS when he was with the Dodgers.
“Looking back on it, knowing that his leg was going to break, I would have changed it a bit,” Utley said of the slide.
Utley, now retired and serving as a special adviser with the Dodgers, also fielded phone calls from Mets fans.
Some called him a villain, while others praised how hard Utley played. One even named his kid “Chase Harper,” after Utley and Bryce Harper.
The final caller – Cali from Connecticut – berated Utley for his slide.
“When you took out my shortstop in the playoffs,” Cali said, “that wasn’t about talent. That was just being dirty. I don’t care how much you tell me that was you being old school, that was just you being dirty because that’s what you do.”
To that Utley responded, “Thank you, Cali. I appreciate it. See ya, sweetheart.”
Among other topics discussed was how Harper will fare in Philadelphia and the Mets’ famous collapse in 2007, when the Phillies overcame a seven-game deficit with 17 games left in the regular season to win the NL East.
“Listen, Bryce is a hard-nosed player. All the games we played against him, he played really hard, and there’s one place you need to do that, it’s Philadelphia,” Utley said of Harper. “So far the fans are really loving what he’s doing. Obviously he’s very passionate and a great talent. If that continues, I see that relationship going great.”
The Phillies will honor Utley with a retirement ceremony on June 21 against the Miami Marlins.
You can listen to Utley’s full interview below.