Chase Utley's Injury Causing Panic Amongst Phillies Fans

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, March 08, 2011
The Philadelphia Phillies organization has tried to minimize the severity of the injury to second baseman Chase Utley and his right knee, and in doing so have helped to start a panic amongst the fans.

No one was too worried when it came out that he was having soreness in his knee again because it's only Spring Training. He'd sit the bench for a few games, work it out, and be fine.

But when the Phillies were forced to come out and admit they had found tendinitis, the talking started. Would Utley be ready for Opening Day? Would he even be the same this season?

Then when the Phillies informed everyone Utley had a cortisone shot in his knee because the tendinitis wasn't clearing itself up, the Philadelphia police department had to talk a couple people off some very high ledges.

Throughout the entire process the Phillies have played it cool, as they always do, but they appear to be going out of their way to show a calm demeanor when discussing Utley and his knee. They keep giving "the glass is half full" reports and acting as if they're not worried.

But instead of assuming that's because they're covering up some horrible career-threatening injury for Utley, maybe we should all just assume it's because it's only Spring Training, it's only tendinitis, the season doesn't started for another three weeks or so, and they just plain aren't that worried.

It seems like ever since Jayson Werth left for Washington and Cliff Lee signed on most fans have been at one spectrum or the other: the Phillies are either the greatest team ever assembled, or the pitching rotation isn't going to be enough because Ben Francisco isn't good enough, Utley's going to get hurt, Ryan Howard is overrated, and so on and so forth.

You know the fans I mean. Hell, maybe you're one of them.

The first reaction is natural, at least. On paper, this team looks unstoppable. However, there are some question marks that will need to be answered and winning even the NL East is not a foregone conclusion.

The second group I have a hard time stomaching. Attention second group who thinks the Phillies will completely tank and win 70 games: you sound like Yankees fans. There, I said it. I've had enough of you.

Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of Philadelphia sports writers are in this second group. It could be for any number of reasons, but there are two that are most likely.

First of all, the "what if" sells and people will read the article talking about what in the world the Phillies will do to replace Utley over the one that is a 500-word love-fest for the rotation. And secondly, the writers are just flat-out morons.

The second one is a disease that infects nearly all Philly writers, not just the ones that write about the Phillies.

If Utley still hasn't gotten better by the end of this month, then it might be time to panic a little bit because there really are no great options behind Utley, and he's a guy the team is really going to need if they're going to avoid the hitting funk they got themselves into last season.

But until then, let's take it one day at a time, try to remain reasonable, and don't forget to slip on that Lee jersey-shirt if you're feeling a little down.

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