Utley’s Return Could Be The Phillies’ Turning Point

“There’s no doubt in my mind that there’s plenty of time. I know some people have given up on me and there’s some people that have given up on this team but I’ll be the first one to tell you that I definitely haven’t given up on myself and I know our guys haven’t given up on this year. We have strong-willed guys on this team.”

The above quote isn’t from a hockey captain, a head coach, or even a member of a team’s front office.

The above quote can be attributed to Phillies’ All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, whose Wednesday return to the big league club may finally be the turning point in what has so far been a painfully mundane and inconsistent 2012 baseball season in Philadelphia.

There have been a number of potential turning points for the Phillies over the past month or so. There was a six-game winning streak in mid-May. Then there was the dramatic two-out, ninth-inning rally against Colorado last week. We also had Jim Thome’s walk-off bomb to beat Tampa Bay this past weekend.

The problem with those potential turning points is that they were followed with more erratic play that resulted in bad losses and missed opportunities.

Utley’s return is an entirely different story. Why?

The answer is very simple. It has to do with the intangibles he brings to the team.

Sure, Utley’s numbers have been in steady decline since the team’s 2008 championship season. So what? Sometimes in sports, especially in baseball, stats aren’t everything and that’s the case here.

Chase proved that when he met with the media in a Citizens Bank Park dugout Monday afternoon.

Utley is usually cool, calm, and reserved when talking to the media. Monday was much to the contrary. He was fiery when talking about his doubters and his team’s doubters.

He knows his team needs its swagger and arrogance back, and his return to the lineup is the first step in that direction. He’s a leader by example with his play on the field and the way he carries himself in the clubhouse. He’s the ultimate injection of confidence, something the Phillies have noticeably lacked all season.

If you think he only fires up his teammates, wait until you see and hear the crowd Wednesday night at The Bank.

The usually rowdy and raucous yard has resembled the flat-line of a medical heart monitor way too often this season. For the most part, there just hasn’t been any life in the stands because there hasn’t been any reason to be vibrant due to injuries and the team’s performance. When Utley takes the field in the top of the first inning on Wednesday, you better be tuned in to see and hear the crowd’s reaction. It will be something you’re used to hearing.

Utley also said his legs have “felt better than they have in years and that he’s in a much better place than he was a month ago.” Additionally, he noted “he feels he can be the same hitter he was three or four years ago.”

If that happens, fantastic. But his presence in the lineup, his fire, and his confidence are enough for the Phillies to get the ball rolling again.

As of Tuesday, June 26th, the Phillies are eight games out of first in the NL East and four and a half games out of first in the NL Wild Card standings.

So then, if the Phillies turn it around and are still playing baseball in October, don’t look at a specific game or stretch of games as the turning point. Look at Wednesday, June 27th when Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” blasted throughout Citizens Bank Park and #26 walked to the plate for the first time in 2012.

45 thoughts on “Utley’s Return Could Be The Phillies’ Turning Point

  1. Yep, we are World Series bound now! The ALL MIGHTY SAVIOR IS BACK! He can stop blowing leads, giving up HR’s, prevent errors, make his teammates at bats, more patient & selective, revive our lost power, make Lee go on a winning steak. & he can also stop the aging & injury processes too! HE CAN ALSO TURN WATER INTO WINE, FEED A 10,000 PEOPLE WITH A SINGLE PEACE OF BREAD, & CURE THE ILL! ALL HAIL!!!!

  2. It’s all puppy dogs, kittens, roses, rainbows, unicorns & all beautiful women, now! All problems are solved! WOOO HOOO!!!

  3. D…your post lacks insight and depth.Say something worth reading…you usually do..step your game up.

    This is a good thing for the club. He’ll get some respect that the other guys in the line-up dont get from the ptichers. Added power as it looks like hes kept his upper body in good shape. Welcome back Chutley.Go Phills.

  4. I am so excited this baseball warrior finally decided it is time to lace up the cleats and start earning some of his $15,000,000 2012 salary. I know his .156 batting average was just a disguise, he was intentionally getting out so the big leaguers think he can’t play anymore. I fully expect us to play .700 ball from here on it. Highhhhhhhhhhhhhh (on chronic smoke) hopes!

  5. Erock don’t waste your time! I don’t know what he has left.. I don’t know if he is just a shell of his former self… See I’m not a doc, or with him everyday…neither is dcar. But I am a fan of the Phil’s And it will be great to see him in there. It may be too little late he may be done but when we signed him to a 7 year contact at 28 some said it was too long for an aging playr but we’ve already determined that poster is a bandwagon guy…
    Get chase back, get the piece back and doc… Chip away at this thing.. Maybe have some fun ball in us later in the summer. We may not win it all, or we may. See its easy to predict doom because you are right all the time as only one teams season doesnt end in doom!

  6. Paulman’s Projected Chase Utley’s Stats for 2012

    65 Games played 228 Offical At-Bats

    64 Hits for a .263 Average ( 8 HR’s 15 Doubles and 29 RBI’s)

  7. I am a fan of Utley and I am happy to see him back in the lineup. I don’t know what will happen.

    Now that I have said that though, DCAR and Birdo think that I think that Utley is gonna mash 25 HRs and have 80 RBI because I hope that he does well. No in between for these guys.

    I don’t think that he will turn the season around, but I hope that he plays a part in it. There I said it. So now I am a Stepford, rose-colored, kool aid drinking or whatever other BS names they come up with.

  8. For the Record,
    This Phillie 2012 Season was over on June 2nd 2012, when Phils and Pitcher Cole Hamels blew a 3-0 Lead to the Marlins after winning 5 Games in a row..
    They have been up and down all season and are just not a Playoff Caliber team with or without Chase Utley.. Just my opinion which means nothing of course.. I do wish him well and if nothing else, Utley’s return should mean a more stable line-up with Pence and Victorino maybe being slotted where they belong..

  9. We know nothing…its all speculation. Im sure a medical staff that went to school to get athletes ready to play and trainers who have conditioned athletes before after injuries have misdiagnosed him and he’ll blow his hip and acl running up the line. No need to even think he will do anything to help the team.Go Phills….q the Led Zep….least its something to believe in.

  10. why do you have to be a constant jerk and predict anything, I get dcar’s frustration, all fans are frustrated but you are just a jerk, go pop a viagra paulman, maybe you will have a different perspective on things

  11. What would he possibly do after popping a Viagra? Hes too busy with his buddy dcar saying ‘ I would have signed him to 3 years instead of 7’… Not understanding it takes two to sign a contract

    Oh now I understand why those two would take a Viagra… It’s 2012 and absolutely nothing wrong with it

  12. No bugsyhawk you idiot, Utley is my favorite player and I’ve been saying for weeks that when we get our captain back, we will have our swagger back. The takeover begins NOW.

  13. Hey, haveaclue, you haven’t established, $#!T about me! I’m no bandwagon fan. AS I’VE STATED, MANY TIMES, JUST BECAUSE YOU BLINDLY WAVE YOUR POM-POMS, LIKE A SCHOOL GIRL, DOESN’T MAKE YOU A BETTER FAN THAN ME, OR ANYONE ELSE! Who the f^#@ are you, to tell a fan how they should act, what to say, or how to criticise OUR teams?!? Just because you don’t have any brain cells, nor can see through your pinstripe glasses, & think as a reasonable fan, it’s not my fault! Also don’t be salty, over me schooling your imbecilic @$$ about this team. AGAIN YOU ARE PATHETICALLY, PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL, with your blind faith, for a dead team! Hey, I would love nothing more than us to make a miraculous comback, & win a WS! Getting back a player with 2 bad knees & hip, who hasn’t played in 8 months, who is a shell of himself, ain’t going to cure, everyone of this teams ills. Is he going to cure the blackhole BP? Can he make this entire roster of strike out & error machines, play better? Can he stop the aging process, & inevitable health break downs, of the entire AARP roster? Can he make payroll flexibility, or boost up the trade value, OF ANYONE, in our organization? Can he make Howards healing achilles, anywhere near 100% this year? Can he get Lee’s head out of his @$$ so he can finally win a game? Can he heal our ace, & make his pitch velocity & movement, pick right back up to prior dominance? If you can’t think reasonably, & rationally, your a blind, stepford, with ZERO common sense. AGAIN, you think you know it all, about sports & business, because in your own mind, you are “SUPERFAN!” Let’s see how good we are, after the adrenaline wears off, from Utley’s return, after 2, or 3 games. WE ARE WHAT WE ARE! WE DUG OURSELVES, TOO BIG OF A HOLE, WITH A SEVERELY FLAWED ROSTER! IMHO, this year is a wash. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it!

  14. haveaclue, again with your delusional, idiotic, baseless, comments. Where & when, did I say ANYTHING, about a 3 or 7 year contract, to anyone?!? I only ever commented on, the unnecessary, ill-timed, contract that Howard got, with 2 years left on his last contract, & commented on Amaro’s love for giving over-inflated, ill-advised, contracts, to AARP members, has-beens & journeymen. JUST STFU, YOU EMBARRASSING IMBECILE!

  15. OPEN, & USE YOUR EYES, FOR WHAT GOD GAVE THEM TO YOU FOR! Stop living in your world of delusions, pipe-dreams & fantasies, because you will be severely disappointed!

  16. Typically Philly Fans perspectives.. They all like to overrate their Teams and Players.. Sorry guys, I just refuse to do that..

  17. Schiller sorry I am new to this gcobb game. Never saw this pud post where he is from, but I have seen him rip every organization with the exception of the iggles. Boone NC is some beautiful country on the outskirts of the smokeys. Paul must be pretty bored down there.

  18. Amaro avoided arbitration, locked him up for what amounts to only an additional 3 years nimrod… Howard would have gotten huge bucks in arbitration and then demanded a huge contract after those years… It was a win win for both… Howard got relative security (by baseball standards) and the Phil’s got him for the first two years at his arb price and then 3 years at the bigger cost… Learn the market and the business

  19. If you are new to this gcobb game stick around you’ll figure out the lay of the land but you are off to a good start in referring to paulman as pud, lol, good stuff

  20. mhenski – yeah, uh, 98% of the acrchives on this site have his name on them. and 99.9% of that content is either shit pulled out of his ass, or just irritating for other reasons.

  21. Philly fans over value our teams? Which ones…the ones who live up the block in NC? Or the ones who post on gcobb? Or on other sites? Most Philly fans i know and hang with are real talk down to earth people. Who are honest about the teams performances. And critic when with an honest eye. The problem with your assesmnet of Philly fans is who are they Paul? Look at some of the stuff you spew….23 game stretch garbage…Eagles front office angles….every post has”as ive stated “…jsut like some of the other no it alls on this site.

    Some of you dudes need to remember you know as much as me..and i as you…but the angle you come at is off.or you spit tirades laced with insults that make you look like a teenager. And not a grown man haven an intelligent convo about sports.

    If we were in a bar and i made a statment about the phills and some of you started talking the way you do on here…you really think it would be cool? Your friends or the people around you wouldnt tell you to shut up.

    Start posting with that in mind.Some of you dudes get to personal and its a joke.You lack substance and you sound like a child.

  22. Paul and car GM with no rules and only from one side of the table when I’ve pointed this out they go back to their argument of what they would have done… Not mentioning the other party in the negotiating

  23. haha, welcome to the phillies side of things rev, stick around, things may get interesting

  24. Same old Bullpen, Same old result.. Why is Chad Qualls still on the Roster..Meanwhile the Nats,Braves,Mets and even the Marlins Wi sending the Phitin’s depper into their Abyss..

  25. By the way, congrats to Chase Utley for a great game back.. He hit the ball hard all night and appeared tobe seeing the ball real well and had nice At-Bats all game long.. Now they need about 3 arms in hat Bullpen to start winning and playing about .600 Ball which they need to do to get back intot the Divisional Race.. Next 7 Games vs Pirates, Marlins and Braves can be a real boost to end a horrible 1st half on positive note and come out strong and heopefully more healthy in the 2nd half… They have to fix the Bullpen.. …

  26. haveaclue, WTF, ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?! YOU NUT-JOB!!!!! YOU ARE INCOHERENTLY RAMBLING ABOUT $#!T, THAT I DON’T HAVE THE FOGGIEST, OF WTF, YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! DUDE, PUT THE CRACK-PIPE DOWN! AGAIN, there was ZERO, reason, to give Howard, that contract, with 2 years left on his contract, while he was on the decline. ZERO! Spin it anyway you like. It was a bad decision. Giving out contracts, for past accomplishments, & with your heart, instead of baseball reasons, IS STUUUUPIIIID, business!!!!!! END OF STORY!!!!!

  27. Actually things should change when your MVP comes back. Howard is the game changer. Everything falls into place when your stud big dawg puts fear into opposing pitchers, For all the good things the Ugglas and Utleys do from the 2nd base prospective. Its the Howards, Fielders and Pujols of the world that change the games.

  28. Good point dagg. Ain’t much he is going to do this year, though. Too soon to be close to 100%. I don’t expect much from him, until at least next Spring training.

  29. with utley and howard in the lineup the whole complexion changes, especially with howard as dag points out,even if they do not hit on a given night their presence changes the pitcher’s attitude, others will benefit, feel more comfortable in their natural roles, watch for more production from pence, victorino, for those who have given up on this team already you will be in for a surprise

  30. dcar, with howard, there’s more to it than just production, see my post above, but he is the slugger, the game changer, i have no problem with that contract, he is the stud ala richie allen, go phils

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