Chase Utley called a press conference on Friday to officially announce that he plans to retire at the end of this season. While usually only reporters sit in on the pressers, this one also included a bunch of Dodgers players who chose to cram into the room – that alone shows what kind of impact the vet had on the team.
Utley started by saying, “Thanks for coming. Teammates, I didn’t know you were gonna be in here. Very cool of you.”
He followed that up with a joke about signing a five-year contract that had the entire room cracking up. Then, he went into why he’s retiring. The 39-year-old said he wants to be “a full-time dad” instead of a part-time one.
“I’ve had a pretty unique career when I look back on it. Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies, I got a chance to play in the big leagues with them for a long time. I’ve played in front of some amazing fans. I’ve made some All-Star teams. I won a World Series. I lost a World Series.
“I came over here and transitioned into a part-time player, something that was new for me, but I took it in stride. I really enjoyed that time, and also a part-time strength coach, part-time pitching coach, as well as a part-time general manager, but the thing I’m having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad, so that’s really the reason why I’m shutting down because I’m ready to be a full-time dad. It is a difficult decision, but it’s one that I’m comfortable with and I’m confident I’m doing it at the right time.”
Kiké Hernandez posted a thank you to Utley on Instagram shortly afterwards. He wrote:
They don’t call him “The Man” for no reason!! Been thinking about ways to word this and the best way to put it is that I consider myself blessed to have my career touched by one of the best players to ever play this game! The perfect example of professionalism! I’ve been incredibly lucky to get to know a side of the Silver Fox that not a lot of people have been fortunate enough to know! Anyways, that’s it for now cuz I can honestly go on forever! @chaseutley you still have three and a half more months of being “dad” so don’t even think that you’re getting rid of me just yet!! THANK YOU & I LOVE YOU!! #HallOfFamer
The Phillies also showed their appreciation for Utley. Their franchise and fans will get a chance to say thanks in person when the Dodgers fly to Philly for their three-game series from July 23-25.