Being famous often comes with perks. Other than the money that usually comes with fame, celebrities get to live out some of their fantasies and do stuff that they’ve have always wanted to do that regular people don’t necessarily get a chance to do.
Chase Utley’s retirement
In July 2018, Chase Utley announced that he would be retiring at the end of that season, despite having another year left on his two-year contract with the Dodgers.
He told reporters at the time that he had “transitioned to a part-time player,” which was a new role for him that he took in stride. But he had a more difficult time with “being a part-time dad. So that’s really the reason I’m shutting it down. I’m ready to be a full-time dad.”
Utley has two children with wife Jennifer. In order to facilitate Utley’s retirement with a season left on his contract, the Dodgers released Utley so that he could make the end of his career official.
“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor’s dream
Actor Rob McElhenney stars as Mac on the long-running comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which he also co-created and is a writer on.
Mac idolizes Utley on the show and wrote a letter to the major leaguer in a season 5 episode of the series, titled “The World Series Defense.”
In the letter Mac hoped Utley would reply to him because, as Mac wrote, they “can become good friends. I am sure our relationship would be a real home run!” Utley later guest-starred in a season 10 episode of the series in which the letter was read to him.
Chase Utley plays catch with Rob McElhenney
During Utley’s retirement ceremony at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park, the longtime Phillie played catch with McElhenney to fulfill the lifelong dream of the actor’s Always Sunny character.
The two played catch in front of 40,000 fans before a Phillies-Marlins game. While Mac was a big Utley fan on the show, McElhenney also enjoyed himself during the catch session with Utley.
He posted on Instagram, calling it “an amazing night” and thanking the Phillies for “making a dream come true for a little boy (trapped in a grown man’s body).” He also thanked Utley and congratulated him on “an amazing career.” McElhenney’s post even referenced Mac, referring to the character as a “despicable and sad onscreen persona.”
Chase Utley’s playing career
Utley played 16 seasons in the majors, the first 12-and-a-half with the Phillies before being traded to the Dodgers during the 2015 season. He was a .275 career hitter who hit 259 home runs and drove in 1,025 RBI.
Utley was a six-time all-star who won four Silver Slugger awards and was a member of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series championship team. While he had a good career, it probably wasn’t good enough to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
The players he is most similar to, according to Baseball Reference, are the likes of Ian Kinsler, Bret Boone, and Travis Fryman, who aren’t Hall of Fame-caliber players. Among the 10 players who Utley is most similar to, only two — Bobby Doerr and Joe Gordon — are in the Hall of Fame.
As with many retired players, Utley didn’t leave baseball completely after he was done playing. He joined SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ local broadcast partner, as a studio analyst for select games starting with the 2019 season.
Even though Utley played most of his career with the Phillies, working Dodgers broadcasts makes more sense for him because he lives in Southern California.