Jimmy and Chase
They’ve been a double-play combination for quite some time now. They’ve both had excellent careers, the best at their respective positions in Phillies history and now those careers are winding down. However, fans generally regard them differently. Jimmy has felt more heat from fans in his career while Chase seems to get a pass from the fans no matter what. Recently on WIP, Glen Macnow asked the audience why this was. He believes that Jimmy has had a better career, so it doesn’t make sense why the fans give Chase a pass while Jimmy doesn’t. This post will attempt to answer that question.
I think the biggest issue is how fans perceive the efforts of both players. Jimmy has a reputation for not always giving 100% while Chase has the reputation of giving 110%. There is definitely reality to this perception. Jimmy has been benched for not always running out ground balls. I can understand if a veteran player doesn’t run out every single ground ball with vigor in order to save his legs a bit, but Jimmy has been caught in those situations. Has it hurt the team, i.e. does it matter? That’s tough to say, but on the other hand, Utley has never been called out for that sort of thing, and even with his career-threatening knee issues, it does seem like he runs out every ball. Utley has also been known to spend a lot of time in the video room, reviewing tape. Put this all together, and Utley has an excellent reputation inside of baseball. Not that Rollins has a bad reputation on this matter, but Utley is seen as the archtypical “player-you-want-to-have-on-your-team”. A good example is what Roy Halladay recently tweeted after Utley won the “Heart and Hustle Award”. It’s quite a tribute from a guy who was known to be a hard worker.
Another issue is personality. This one is strange because Rollins has a great personality while Chase doesn’t seem to have one. Rollins is very personable and Utley is not. However, Rollins gift of gab has gotten him into some hot water with the fans. Rollins made some comments about the fans being fair-weather sorts, and his comments about staying in Philadelphia were qualified with staying to break records. Now, Jimmy can say anything he wants and what he said really wasn’t that bad, but it obviously bothers fans when their loyalty is questioned. Dealing with the fans is difficult, because it often seems an athlete can’t win by going down that road. Utley, as far as I know, hasn’t said anything negative about the fans whether he feels that way or not. Recently he mentioned how much he loves playing in front of Philadelphia fans whether he believes that or not. He may actually hate the fans, but he hasn’t said that. You may say this is unfair, Rollins is just being honest. That may be so, but that’s irrelevant in to this question.
Lastly, Chase has just been a better player that Jimmy. While Jimmy may have bigger statistic totals than Chase, he’s also played for a longer time in the majors. Chase has better percentages- average, on-base, and slugging. While Utley has probably been given too much of a pass at times, I think these are the reasons why he is better received by the fans.