Watching Chase Utley lately I reminded myself for the umpteenth time to never take him for granted. I don't want to look back ten years from now and not have a clear image of him doing what he does better than virtually any other player of his generation -- play the game in every facet with astonishing determination, concentration, commitment and achievement.
They say the great players never take an at-bat off. I recall this notion every time he comes to the plate.
Utley arrived in the big leagues with an excellent reputation for his bat but a lot of question marks about his fielding. No one knew this better than he did so, naturally, he set out to make himself a fine fielder. While he may never be the most graceful or acrobatic fielder, he will always be a smart one who makes every play.
We are very lucky to see him play every day.
* * * * * * * *
Before the rest of the baseball world draws itself up in collective indignation over Charlie Manuel's naming Jayson Werth to the NL All Star roster, just remember many of those carping the loudest probably took advantage of MLB's offer to vote early and often. End of story.
* * * * * * * *
I know absolutely nothing about the strategies and intricacies of professional bike racing...nor do I want to. How can one ever hope to understand an event such as the Tour de France, which takes over two weeks to complete and covers several thousand miles, when a contender begins the day a split second behind the leader then "loses ground" according to all newspaper reports when he falls eight seconds behind the leader. EIGHT seconds, two weeks, thousands of miles. Why doesn't that seem to compute to losing a lot of ground in my untutored estimation??? [Please, no emails from those of you who know. It was a rhetorical question and I don't really want an answer.]