Whenever Chase Utley is in Philadelphia, he'll receive a hero's welcome.
But Monday night's standing ovation may go down as the most memorable.
Ten days ago, "The Man" announced he would retire at season's end. Right when he did, Phillies fans across the Delaware Valley circled July 23 on their calendars — the date of the Dodgers' visit to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game series.
Utley's final time gracing the field in Philadelphia as a player (unless these two teams meet in the playoffs … hey, it could happen).
As expected, the salute to No. 26 was a sight to see. Watch it in the video above.
(USA Today Images)
The symbiotic relationship between Utley and the city is special.
What he did for fans goes beyond the accolades.
But Philadelphia left a mark on him, too. He touched on it pregame:
Whether I was going to continue to play another few years or not, this city was an experience that I'll never forget. Obviously we had some great success here, but the way the city supported this team over those years, was pretty remarkable. I've said this a number of times over the years, but the fans in the seats really elevated our game. It made us focus a little bit more, added a little bit of intensity and adrenaline. In my opinion, those are things that can make a team better. I would imagine if you asked a number of guys that played here, they would have the same opinion.
Utley has said the decision to announce his impending retirement was because so many people who helped him along the way — including the Phillies and their fans — deserved to know.
Well, Mr. Utley, you deserved this moment. And thank you for giving it to us.