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Chase Utley saves Christmas

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Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Chase!
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Chase!
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Interior: LOBBY, The Wyndham Philadelphia Hotel (in Mt.Laurel, NJ).

Chase Utley, enters through the main doors. He is dressed in his home pinstripes, with a Phillies Christmas hat on.  Ruben Amaro, enters a moment later. They walk towards the banquet facilities.

Ruben: What are you doing in your stripes?

Utley: Invitation said dress up, Paco. This is dress up for me.

Ruben: Well Merry Christmas.

Utley: If you say so.

Ruben: What's gotten into you?

Utley: You realize the Philadelphia Wyndham is actually in New Jersey, right?

Ruben: Yeah don't know how that happened.

Utley: Fa la la la la.

Ruben: Well this party is gonna be good for morale. I can feel it.

They enter the banquet room. it's sparsley decorated with cheap paper christmas decorations. the majority of the team is there, mingling with each other in a non festive way. A few chairs are set up, and one table sits in the center of the room with a few costco party platters on it.

Ruben: (to all) Merry Christmas everyone!

An unenthusiastic whimper lets out from the peanut gallery.

Utley: You f*&^%$g kidding me Paco?

Ruben: What?

Utley: You really don't see it?

Ruben: See what?

Utley pulls his phone out of his back pocket, and makes a quick call.

Utley: Okay everyone listen up. grab your stuff and follow me. We're moving this shin dig to my place.

45 minutes later.

INTERIOR: CHASE UTLEY'S PLACE. the loft is decorated immaculately. There's a first class spread. The mood is much more festive. Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz sit on the sofa.

Jimmy: Yo Chooch, you remember when Burrell used to throw the Christmas party?

Chooch: No, Yeemy. No one remember nauting about Meester Pat parties.

Howard: All I remember is getting there before Christmas and waking up on his couch after New Years.

Jimmy: Ya'll don't remember Werth drinking champagne out of the trophy in '08?

Chooch: I remember Chain seenging karaoke weet Harry dat tinge.

Jimmy: Aw yeah. that was the bomb.

In a corner, Dom Brown and Ben Revere are sipping egg nog, In another corner Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee look to be comparing change up grips. Both look dejected. Amaro comes over to them.

Ruben: Merry Christmas guys.

They both just stare. Ruben moves on to Dom and Ben.

Ruben: Merry...


Ruben: What?

Dom: He thinks you gonna trade him.

Ruben: Why would you think that?

Ben: Well, we all think that.

Ruben: You think that too Dom?

Dom: Don't much matter what I think, does it?

Ruben  stops what he's doing and speaks to the team as a whole

Ruben: Hey guys listen up. No one's getting traded. It's Christmas, and we're built to win. I think we've put together a great. team and... well...

No one buys it.

Ruben: Look, guys, David couldn't be here, but he asked me to give you all a little something. We've got gifts!

A waitress starts passing out boxes to everyone. inside is the teams gift to the players.

Ruben: Merry Christmas!

Cliff Lee: Whatever.

Utley has had enough.

Utley: Hey. snuggies are comfy.

Cole Hamels: They're delusional Chase. And its obvious where things are headed.

Kevin Frandsen: Seriously. Cole is right. I mean just read the blogs. I do. What's the point? Frankly I don't know why we should bother playing at all this year.

Chase: What's the point? WHAT'S THE POINT???

Ruben: No Chase, They're right. What's the point. We're old, we're tired, We're losing fans, My hands are tied... I had to put together a Christmas party with no budget just so I had enough money left in case Hernandez reaches his incentives. There's nothing Merry about Christmas this year. In 2009 I gave you guys Roy...

Cliff: You should have given me a Parka.

Ruben: Sorry about that Cliff. But we gave you Cliff in 2010, and it went downhill from there.

Outside, locked out on the balcony, Jonathan Papelbon knocks on the slider.

Paps: (garbled) You gave them me in 2011!

Chooch: Choo guys here dat?

Ruben: I hear it every night in my nightmares Chooch. Every night. But this year? All you got was a snuggie.

Utley: Dammnit Paco, Christmas isn't over yet. Ryne? Bring out the bags.

Ryne Sandberg comes out with a plethora of Santa sacks, filled with gifts.

Ruben: What's this?

Ryne: Chase and I talked and we came up with a few things to get the guys. We know times are tough but, it's Christmas Ruben. Well, mostly it was Chase.

Utley: Let's see what we've got here. Oh This one's for Ben Revere!

Revere looks like a kid on Christmas as he opens his gift.

Ben: An XBox one??? You can't find these anywhere! How'd you find one?

Utley: I'm Chase F'ing Utley.

Ben: Can I play?

Utley: have at it kid. Play like you've never played before.

Sandberg hands chase another gift.

Utley: Dom Brown! C'mon up.

Brown opens up an envelope and grins.

Utley: There's a star in the sky named Dom Brown. Because You're a star Dom.

Brown: Can I...

Utley: Go play with Ben, Play like a star.

Amaro looks on with the faint glimmer of a tear. A hope shaped tear.

Utley: Chooch!

Chooch opens his.

Chooch: Ees a Halladay Booblehead, and my letter frong the comeeshoner saying I can take dee Aderall in a very nice frame. Thank choo Meester Chase.

Utley: Thank me on the field buddy.  Whats this? Cole Hamels come on down.

Hamels opens his. it's a coupon book with a letter.

Hamels: (reads) This certificate entitles Cole Hamels to 5 personal anger management training classes from Chase Utley, guaranteed to teach how to let his anger burn internally.

Rollins: Like de-P*&&y coupons?

Everyone laughs.

Utley: That fire your feeling lately? We're gonna channel it man.

Hamels: I like it.

The gifts continue for a while until just three players are left.

Utley: J-Roll!

J-roll: Whatcha gonna get the man who got everything?

J-Roll opens his box. inside are a dozen of the most beautifully constructed bats he's ever seen. Handmade. Inscribed on the barrels of each, burnt in is the word "GUARANTEED" surrounded by lightning bolts.

Utley: They're 2 ounces lighter and a half an inch shorter than you've been using. Father time got nothing on Baby New Year, know what I'm saying?

J-Roll: Guaranteed, huh? Damn they're beautiful. Where'd you get em?

Utley: Made em.

J-Roll: Say what?

Utley: Watched the Natural once. it's no big deal. But they're guaranteed. You understand me?

J-Roll: Guaranteed.

Utley smiles.

Utley: Piece! Come on over.

Ryne Sandberg wheels out a seven foot high box, three feet wide.

Utley: I made this for you too.

Howard unwraps the box. Inside, is Cliff Lee.

Howard: You got me Cliff?

Utley: No man, Cliff's over there. That's a robot Cliff. He pitches nothing but outside and away, from the left side, and you're gonna set his ass up and figure it out till your fingers bleed. Go ahead turn him on. Just touch the bill of his cap.

Howard does so. Robot Cliff immediately goes into his mound stance.


Everyone laughs.

Howard: That's awesome. Harry's voice.

Utley: When you get it, he says this.

Utley touches the P on ROBOT CLIFF's Uniform


Everyone laughs again.

Utley: You have to do this. You understand?

Howard: You are the man.

Utley: Merry Christmas buddy. Okay. One more. Phipher?

Cliff Lee comes front and center. He shows no emotion.

Utley: OK. Now this last one was tough. I mean, I had a good idea of what to get everyone else, but this one was tough. Here's the thing. You guys know it ain't gonna be easy. Some people say we need a miracle right? Well this gift is for Cliff, but it's for you guys too.

Utley hands Lee a tiny envelope.

Utley: Proof there is such thing as a Christmas miracle. Open it.

Ruben: What is it?

Utley: Just watch.

Lee opens the envelope. In a split second. he looks up, straight at Utley. Crumples up the paper, tosses it behind him directly into a trash can across the room...

And Smiles.


Ruben: A smile. Cliff Smiled!

the room is silent, save a lone distant faint pounding from a far away sliding glass door.

Chooch: Eet ees a Chreestmas Miracle!

Utley: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Anything that we put our minds to.

Ben Revere: Chase, we didn't get you anything.

J-Roll: yeah man, we got to get you something now.

Utley: You want to get me something guys? Get me back to the postseason.

Everyone cheers.They sing we wish you a merry christmas together. It's joyous. The party goes on for hours. At the end, It's just Ruben and Chase, and Ryne Sandberg.

Ruben: Chase, I don't know what to say.

Chase: Say you get it.

Ruben: Get what?

Chase: What Christmas is all about.

Ruben: Hope? Joy?

Chase: For them. sure. But you?

Sandberg brings out two more bags.

Utley:  For you Paco, Christmas is about presents. Admit it. it's about getting what you want. It's about winning for F*^ks sake, right? What do you REALLY WANT?

Ruben: I don't understand. You just spent hours...

Chase: Spreading hope? F*&k yes I did, cause those guys need that. You don't need hope. I don't need hope, I'm Chase F-in Utley. You need this, and I need you to get off your ass and do something with it.

Ryne: Open it.

Utley brings him two sacks. One is moving around, the other is filled with cash.

Ruben: What the F*&k?

Utley: Screw hope Paco! Christmas is over in a few days and reality sets in, and if Monty won't do it we chipped in. me, Piece, Cliff, Cole, Jimmy, even little Ben.

Ruben: What an I supposed to do with this?

Utley: Go buy yourself something Nice. A Tanaka sounds good. Maybe a Choo, But I swear to all that is righteous and holy if you waste this on Nelson F'in Cruz or spread it out around a bunch of crap I'll hunt you down in your dreams and shit inside your pillow case.

Ruben smiles.

Utley: What are they gonna do, fire you? Spend the god damned money Paco.

Ruben: I don't know what to say.

Utley: Don;'t say anything Just do it.

Ruben: whats in the other bag?

Utley: Gotta have a contingency plan. If you can' get em to sign,  Biddle and Franco are in there. Everyone has a PRICE.  Ruben.

They smile. A faint banging is heard on the sliding glass door. Papelbon's lips are blue. still locked out.

Ryne: You hear something?

Ruben: Not tonight I don't. Merry Christmas Chase.

Utley: Go F*&k yourself, Paco.