When the Dodgers announced there would be a press conference for Chase Utley Friday afternoon, retirement was an immediate conclusion. There would be no surprise when Utley walked into the media room at Dodger Stadium at 3:15 p.m. PT.
“I just want you guys to know that I’ve signed a five-year extension here with the Dodgers,” Utley started with that rarely-seen smile. After the laughter subsided, the 39-year-old confirmed that he will indeed retire at the end of the 2018 season.
Utley came to the conclusion about a month ago that this season would be his last, with the team’s trip to Philadelphia in 10 days playing a factor in the timing of the announcement.
“There’s a lot of different tools, I believe, that kind of help guys perform at this level,” said Utley. “One of those tools in my opinion is confidence. The Philadelphia fans really brought that confidence out in me.”
Utley played 1551 games in a Phillies uniform over 13 seasons, ranking in the top 10 in several categories in the 136-year history of the franchise. The second baseman played in two World Series, winning one — much to the dismay of the Dodgers who lost in back-to-back National League Championship Series for Philadelphia to accomplish that.
Even after coming to Los Angeles in a part-time role, the intensity with which he played the game never stopped. A quality that has made him a beloved member of two organizations now.
What happens from here is unknown as far as baseball is concerned. Utley wants to spend more time with his two sons and wife, saying he was “ready to be a full-time dad.” I’m sure the Dodgers will try to keep him around in some capacity when 2018 is in the rear view. But for now, Utley will enjoy the final two and a half months this season has in store for him.