May 23, 2011, 9:52 PM EST
Chase Utley’s return to Citizens Bank Park on Monday night brought 45,841 fans out to South Philadelphia, the most ever for a regular season game at the new park. No. 26 was greeted to a raucous standing ovation as he walked to the plate in the first inning, with fans on their feet for half of his first at-bat.
“I definitely sensed how loud the crowd was. I tried to tune them out a little bit, but they were a little bit too loud. We’ll take that all day long,” Utley said.
Chase wouldn’t do much else on the field the rest of the night that would be deserving of applause from the usually harsh Philly crowd, but he heard cheers all night long regardless. Utley finished the night 0-5 with one strikeout, but fans were simply elated with the fact that the team put up a 10 spot on the day he returned.
As Charlie Manuel mentioned before the game, Chase’s mere presence and demeanor can take a bit of pressure off of the guys and his quiet leadership can be felt by teammates. I joked on Twitter during the game that “Chase Utley looked at Placido Polanco, so Polly hit a 2-run home run.”
Asked whether he thought his presence had something to do with his fellow teammates lighting up the scoreboard, Chase brushed it off.
“I don’t know, I think definitely the crowd had something to do with it too.”
Utley may not have had a good night at the plate, but he was playing second base for the Phillies. For some fans, that step alone was a welcomed one — a big win certainly helps.
“I put a lot of hard work over the past couple months to get to this point. I was just happy to be out there.”
Now to up that hit total.
US Presswire photo
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