Defending Chase Utley

Oh please, people; grow up.  What he said was nothing the rest of us haven’t said or at least thought once in our lives.  Especially when it comes to New Yorkers.  Trust me on this.  I was born and raised in NY.  I lived there for 33 years.  I love Philadelphia but I’ll always know that New York City is my home town.  It’s in my DNA, along with stubbornness and thin hair.

For those who don’t know, the All-Star Game Home Run Batting challenge (vociferously sponsored by some conglomerate or another) was held last night at Yankee Stadium.  For whatever reason, when Chase Utley’s name was announced, the people in the stands booed him.  I don’t understand why.  He’s a nice enough guy, he hits like a demon, he’s good to animals and he’s cute as a bug—he’s breathtaking in person!—so what’s not to like?  Why boo Chase?  But there you have it, Noo Yawkas coming out with the boos.  (You want to boo someone?  You got stuck with Bobby Abreu, who hits when he feels like it and he can’t catch a cold.  Boo yourselves!)  Unfortunately Chase forgot he was miked up, so when he took his place in line, he looked up at the crowd and said, “Boo?  F*** you.”  Lightheartedly, of course.  I would’ve thought the same thing if I’d been paying attention as the names were announced. 

Here’s a video of it:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBtkQoeaNCE  Mind you, some of the YouTube tags say it’s Chase saying F you to the Yankee fans, but I don’t think his comments were directed to Yankee fans in particular, but to those booing.

Last week Elton Brand joined the 76ers and someone asked him about Philadelphia sports fans.  He said he loves the fans here because they’re passionate.  Yes, they booed Santa Claus, but Santa shows up in a stadium of 30K people with no gifts.  You’d boo Santa too.

I can only assume that there was a strong Mets contingent in the crowd last night, which is why Chase got booed.  The Mets/Phillies rivalry is just as ugly as it ever was.  (Hey, it’s not the Phillies’ fault the Mets tanked at the end of ’07.  The Phillies almost tanked all of June but I’d rather lose 14 of 17 in June than in September.)  I’m afraid to think what it’s going to sound like tonight when the starting lineups are called.  I can already hear Bald Vinny of the Bleacher Creatures chanting, “F you Utley!” in rhythm.  The stadium’s going to rock, and MLB and the game’s sponsors are going to love it. 

I love the Yankees, I love the Phillies, I love New York (in its own unique way), but come on, people; grow up.  Chase made a mistake and he apologized.  Yankee fans forgave Jason Giambi after he admitted he used steroids and apologized.  Get over it, like you do everything else.  (And I mean that in the nicest way possible, of course.)

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