But his true self, the one we can only really guess about, clawed its way out from behind his steely outer layer a few times, allowing us all-too brief glimpses of the Chase within. Realizing he'd exposed himself, Chase would retreat back inside, and as the days wore on, we'd be left wondering if the revelation had even occurred.
We are talking, of course, of "lovable scamp" Chase Utley; the one who gained a reputation for playing dirty just because he was willing to throw an open-faced palm into a leaping shortstop's testicles. Look upon these instances from his past in which the Chase we knew was there but didn't know as well snuck into the picture.
Here's how much Philadelphia loved Chase Utley: he had a soul patch for like 12 years and I never heard anyone clown him for it, not once— unrealized potential (@Boobie_Styles) August 20, 2015
Chase Utley the responder
It must be difficult to love a man who has so routinely abused your pitching staff that part of your stadium is named after him. Chase went to Yankee Stadium for the All-Star Game in 2008, where presumably a few Mets fans had managed to squeeze through some of the sewer grates and attend the proceedings in a part of New York with fewer roving packs of stray dogs than Flushing.
Their big plan was to boo the man who had hit .291 with a .955 OPS and 25 HR in the season's first half. "My goodness!" Chase blurted out, fanning himself. "Such humiliation I've never received!"
Nah, he told him to f*** off.
Chase Utley the target
Jonathan Sanchez, a bad pitcher, was having a bad night in the 2010 NLCS. His locations were off and he wasn't getting the calls he wanted, so he quickly resorted to soiling himself and throwing a wretched shit-fit on the mound. Chase Utley came up to bat, and Sanchez, whose shit-fitting hadn't yet gotten him the sympathy he craved, hit Chase in the back with a pitch.
"Heh heh heh," Sanchez thought. "That'll get ‘um!"
Unfortunately, Utley, probably the worst person from whom to try and force an emotional response, started jogging to first base. The pitch - the one that had just hit him in the spine, remember - rolled into his path and he batted it with his hand back to the mound. Sanchez used this as a starting off point for yet another meltdown - sort of indicative of those 2010 Giants, a squad of pathetic humanoids powered by pure luck - and barked at Utley like an idiot while his catcher, Buster Posey, summoned the deepest tone his 14-year-old voice could muster to offer moral support.
Utley, meanwhile, waved Sanchez off, as if he were a worthless gnat buzzing in his ear. In the end, the benches cleared, but Utley stayed cool, while Sanchez was removed from the game by Bruce Bochy, who burped him in the dugout before sending him into the clubhouse, where he obviously had diarrhea all over the place.
Chase Utley the faker
Aroldis Chapman throws hard; sometimes, he throws so hard that the ball fails to hit the batter on a HBP.
That's exactly what happened during the 2010 NLDS, when Utley faced Chapman and a high and inside 102 mph heater came toward him, blinked into another dimension, hit the Chase Utley in that dimension, then blinked back into the original dimension, where it skittered to the back stop and Utley went to first.
Utley explained all of this later.
asked where he got hit by chapman's 102-mph fastball, utley said, "it was pretty close.'' oops, another E on the umps.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) October 9, 2010
Chase Utley the instigator
An uncharacteristically ornery Utley was being interviewed following a dominant 7-2 win over the Giants in 2011. Jonathan Sanchez was long gone, having, as the game's top medical professionals put it, "crapped out of his own mouth to death."
Utley, despite haunting Sanchez's dreams, had long forgotten who Sanchez even was, and that very night had managed to hit an inside-the-park home run on a pair of knees the health of which had been doubted and questioned for months.
Gary Matthews thanked him, wished him continued success, and was trying to throw it back upstairs to the booth when Utley slipped in a joke that caught everyone off guard, including the usually extremely aware Tom McCarthy.
Chase Utley the intimidator
It's so funny how pitchers think hitting Utley with a pitch somehow sends him a message.
"Grrr, I'm gonna get you," they think. "You homered off me last time, but this time I will get the upper hand by purposefully putting you on base."
And Chase, who has probably leaned into more pitches than Matt Harvey has thrown, takes the hit, gets rid of his bat, and jogs to first, now a base runner. The pitcher will then look over, staring.
"I got you," they're saying with their eyes. "I hurt you with the ball, making me the better man."
And Chase just smirks and doesn't care and is thinking about how to best get himself in scoring position. So, uh, yeah. Congrats, Matt Harvey. You sure showed him.
Chase Utley the almost fun-haver
A dark year for Utley had left him even more withdrawn than usual, but when he showed up in a pinch-hitting cameo this season only to knock a game-tying two-run double past first base, the dugout wanted a reaction.
Odubel "El Torito" Herrera had spread his usage of "bull horns" as a celebratory gesture across the team, and it had become customary for Phillies base runners - an oddly consistent concept - to utilize it. They pleaded with Chase to partake, and darn it, did he give it his best shot.
Oh, sweet Chase. You try so hard to be human. Now give us a smile.
"All right Chase you can do this, all eyes on you, just smile, it's fine, just do it like a human would do it, c'mon" pic.twitter.com/zPq3CAxUpc— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) August 1, 2015
Chase Utley the weird father figure
We can pretend there aren't legions of adult men out there who idolize Chase Utley the way that Mac does on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, only in real life. The truth is, there were a lot of people laughing along with this joke just to fend off suspicions that they found its contents completely relatable.
"Ha ha ha, that's funny because it's how no real person actually feels," they all said in unison. "What a good joke we've all had together. Was it so good that Chase could come over to all of our individual houses this fall to carve the Thanksgiving turkey? This is probably worth pursuing."
Chase Utley the protector
Look, we've all wanted to yell at Bob McClure. Chase Utley was simply the one chosen to live out the dream.
It's difficult to pinpoint which moment from the 19-3 atrocity that defines the Phillies' first half of 2015; the revolving door of Orioles home runs, Jeff Francoeur coming in to pitch, the bullpen phone being off the hook, McClure waving a towel in the dugout to get somebody, anybody's attention.
But what stayed with everyone was the way that Utley joined a mound meeting and instantly showed more of an authoritative presence than the coach who was out there to talk everybody down (or the manager in the dugout). People said this was the moment in which Ryne Sandberg's Phillies managing career ended, which if it was the case, we can consider it Utley's parting gift.
Chase Utley the disruptor
As recently as a few days ago, Chase was reminding infielders that he was not above kicking the ball out of their gloves in order to be called safe. You see, a player like Chase thrives off of being on base; you might even say he needs to get on base to stay alive. Things get a little hairy in the offseason, sure; during the regular season it means he is going to get on base more than other players, as his very survival depends on it. He's not going to let Jean Segura's flimsy glove get in the way of that.
The better question here is, why doesn't Segura work harder on keeping control of the ball? Why does he rely on trickery to get outs? Is it because he relies on outs at second base to survive? Of course not, that is ridiculous. He's just bad at his job, obviously.
So there you have it. Not only did we have the pleasure of watching a baseball master, those who are born only once every century or so, play here for 13 years, but he was human enough to let us in via a glassy-eyed smirk or that time a reporter asked him what his favorite color was and his jaw like unhinged and his eyes turned black and