Phillies

Former Phillie Chase Utley to join Dodgers broadcast team for select games

Former Phillie Chase Utley to join Dodgers broadcast team for select games

Chase Utley wasn't the biggest or fastest player.

He always found advantages, though, through preparation and guile, outsmarting the opposition and capitalizing on the finest of details.

Phillies fans will never forget the fake throw to first to then nab Jason Bartlett at the plate during Game 5 of the 2008 Fall Classic, such an Utley-type play on the night the city was crowned world champions of baseball.

And how about the moment in 2006 when Utley was bestowed his famous nickname? "Chase Utley, you are the man!" the great Harry Kalas said after No. 26 raced home from second base on a high chopper to the mound.

Everyone knew Utley's smarts would make him a great coach.

They would also make him a hell of an analyst.

Fans will get the pleasure of hearing Utley provide his insight this season out in Los Angeles. It was announced Wednesday night that the retired second baseman will join SportsNet LA in studio for a few Dodgers games.

Utley joked that he'll need some pointers from retired Dodgers Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully.

Imagine putting those two together in the broadcast booth?

Now that's talkin' ball.

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The best Philly products we've gotten home delivered during self-quarantine

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The best Philly products we've gotten home delivered during self-quarantine

This would have been the weekend many of us visited Citizens Bank Park to get our first fill of spring baseball of the season. There’s nothing quite like strolling Ashburn Alley and smelling the sausages grilling and seeing that bright green grass for the first time in months.

I’m really missing a classic hot dog and cold beer at the ball park. But with the absence of some pleasures, many of us around town have had a little extra cash in our pockets and have been getting some of our favorite things delivered right to our homes.

Here’s a list of some of the best things I and a few of my NBC Sports Philadelphia coworkers have gotten delivered over the past few weeks from some of our favorite Philly spots. All caveats about tipping extremely generously and handling your goods in a responsible manner apply.

1. Rival Bros. coffee — listen, I could have put beer first, but honestly a good cup a coffee in the morning is the start to what kind of day we’re going to have. Rival Bros. happens to be my local coffee shop and they ship which I am incredibly thankful for. ReAnimator and Ultimo are two other great local options.

2. Tired Hands beer (or Forest and Main on Saturdays) — Delicious craft beer delivered to your door. Not everything about being stuck at home is so bad. There are obviously dozens of local craft beer spots around town you can hit up, I just happen to go with these two to start. At the end of these long days, a nice heady pint can do wonders.

3. Fresh meat from Reading Terminal Market — I’m honestly not sure how this works, but my wife ordered some fantastic meat from a service called Mercato where they’ll shop the market for you. You can even get cookies or a nice baguette delivered. Guess who is making short ribs tonight?

4. Cheese from Di Bruno Bros. — Again, you can get a ton of stuff delivered from Di Brunos online shop. Treat yourself to some Piave or aged Gouda this weekend and you’ll be a little happier at home. They’ll even ship pretty far, so you can also send people you’re thinking about a nice gift basket. My parents out in the burbs are going to enjoy a nice cheese plate this weekend.

5. Federal Donuts -- Fresh donuts at your door will not only cheer up anyone you're stuck in a house with but you can eat as many as you like because it's a sin to let a donut go to waste.

6. Philadelphia Distilling -- With PA Wine and Spirits shops closed and their website barely usable, go direct to the distiller who will ship to your home in Pennsylvania for $10. A dirty martini can cheer the wife up pretty quickly. Also good for helping you fall asleep during these stressful times.

7. A new hoodie and sweatpants — Gotta be comfy 24-7 and this is the time for elastic waistbands to truly shine. If you’re looking for a local shop, give Lapstone & Hammer a visit. Ben Simmons rocks it.

Here are some of the best things my NBC Sports Philadelphia coworkers have had delivered:

Anthony’s Coffee and Chocolates -- If you’ve ever walked through the Italian Market and followed your heart, as well as nose, in to the glorious place that is Anthony’s, you know that going into that store physically is a religious experience. They have some of the best chocolate in the city, and luckily they deliver, so I’ve still gotten my fix. The bad part is now being trapped inside with an overwhelming amount of chocolate and no one to eat it but myself. -Erin Dunne

Famous 4th Street Deli -- What's better than corned beef piled highonrye bread slathered in swiss cheese, thousand island, and cole slaw? Nothing. So support local business  and get a Famous 4th St. "super reuben." -Ashley Hall

Termini Bros. -- We placed an order from Termini Brothers Bakery for ourselves and also as a gift to send our family. Zeppole for us and assorted Italian cookies for my family. Everybody is a bit happier when they have Italian pastries. -Amy Fadool

Barcelona Wine Bar -- Without the ability to drink cocktails on their gorgeous Passyunk patio, I have turned to getting their extremely convenient cocktail kits, loaves of fresh baked bread, and cheese selection to go, which you can pair with the half-priced bottles of wine deal they are offering. I sat very close to a house plant while enjoying my “Guns n’ Roses” cocktail kit. -Erin Dunne

Art Supplies -- Like many, I’ve had a bunch of extra time on my hands — and when I get bored — I get crafty. I’ve ordered so much art supplies, a small elementary school could probably be stocked for a month. From new paints and brushes to markers and even 2,000 popsicle sticks. Why do I need 2,000 popsicle sticks? I’m still trying to figure that out … I’ll just say I saw a concept on TikTok and want to attempt to execute it. It’s been fun tapping back into this side of my life, since I’m normally too busy for it. I’m excited to see what I can create next, including some Philly-teams-inspired art. -Brooke Destra

Bryce Harper seems confident that he and J.T. Realmuto will be Phillies teammates for a long time

Bryce Harper seems confident that he and J.T. Realmuto will be Phillies teammates for a long time

At first, Bryce Harper thought about remaining in Florida and continuing his workouts.

Many Phillies did.

"Our main thing was to stay and stay as a group," Harper said over the weekend. "We were all going to try to stay there. We were going to try to work out and hit and things like that. 

"But the more and more that we figured out it was going to be this serious ...

"We figured out this was bigger than baseball and bigger than all of us."

So, Harper, wife Kayla and seven-month-old son Krew headed home to Las Vegas, where they could be surrounded by family and friends.

At a safe social distance, of course.

The coronavirus health crisis has brought the sporting world to a standstill and Harper, like everyone else, is just waiting it out, trying to stay safe. He makes quick trips to the grocery store and helps his wife cook dinner. He even tried his hand at grilling steaks for the first time last week. Apparently, they were good enough that he may be enlisted to man the grill again someday.

Harper and his wife last week made a donation of $500,000 to charities in Las Vegas and Philadelphia that help those in need.

"Just being able to look out for our neighbor and help out here in Vegas and Philly," he said. "I grew up here in Vegas. I love this place more than anything. Then being able to come to Philly last year and have the fans and city open their arms to me, I just wanted to give back to them a little bit. We're just very fortunate to be able to do that.

"Hopefully it helps a lot of people out, helps them through a hard time and puts a smile on their face. Give them a little bit of happiness and less stress in their life with what's going on right now."

Harper is not sure when baseball will be played again. He hopes that there will be a season in some form, wants to play as many games as possible and is willing to play into the winter, in warm-weather cities, to make it happen. He has continued his intense physical workouts back home in Vegas.

Harper signed a 13-year, $330-million contract with the Phillies a year ago. He arrived in the Phillies clubhouse with a superstar reputation but doesn't project that in the clubhouse. He is very down-to-earth. He loves mixing with his teammates. He keeps up with their doings at home via group text. (Maybe it's called Bryce Updates. Who knows?)

While Harper and his mates hope for a season in some form, there is a real possibility that there will be no season at all. Baseball, like the rest of the world, is at the mercy of this beast known as coronavirus. If there's no season at all, J.T. Realmuto would hit the free-agent market next offseason without playing a game in 2020. The Phils had hoped to sign him to an extension before opening day, but the sport was shuttered two weeks before the scheduled opener and there is now a freeze on negotiations.

At some point, the Phillies will have their chance to retain Realmuto.
 
Harper is confident his teammate will be around for a while.

"I think the Phillies organization absolutely loves J.T. and our team absolutely loves him as well," Harper said. "He's the best catcher in baseball. He's a great person. He's a great family man. He's a guy that we need in our clubhouse. I think the Phillies fans understand that as well. Us as an organization, we have to understand that he's going to help us in the years to come and if you want the best catcher in baseball then we'll make that happen.

"But at this time, of course, it's shut down, but I don't think anybody should fear us not getting J.T. back. I want him more than anything, so I mean it's something we need to make happen as an organization. But you know when that time comes, then (GM Matt) Klentak and (managing partner John) Middleton will make that decision and hopefully, he's back in Phillies red."

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