When he comes to town, Mets fans make no secret about their feelings toward Chase Utley.
And with a long, complicated history between Utley and the Mets, it wouldn’t be a stretch to think the second baseman gets extra satisfaction when he performs well against them while being showered with boos. On Friday night, he blasted a two-run home run into the second deck in rightfield in the Dodgers’ 6-0 victory over the Mets at Citi Field.
“There’s got to be some emotion somewhere that obviously he doesn’t show it and it’s not external, but the pulse is as good as I’ve ever seen,” manager Dave Roberts said. “But gosh, I know there’s fire. But as far as emotion, and there’s been some big hits and big highs for him, especially in this ballpark.”
But don’t expect to hear that from Utley.
“Playing for Philadelphia for so long, we had some great games here and at Citizens Bank Park,” said Utley, who played more than 12 seasons with the Phillies. “Like I’ve said before, they let us know when we were in town. They were loud, they were definitely booing. They have a great fan base and I have a lot of respect for them.”
It was Utley’s 39th homer and 115th and 116th RBIs in 189 games against the Mets. He has 14 homers and 49 RBIs in 55 games at Citi Field, plus seven homers and 21 RBIs in 44 games at Shea Stadium.
The boos — and worse — were loud and clear whenever Utley’s name was mentioned Friday night on the public-address system. Utley had his share of devastating hits against the Mets when he was with the Phillies, but his villain persona grew as a member of the Dodgers when his hard slide into second base broke Ruben Tejada’s leg in the 2015 playoffs. Utley was suspended two games for the slide and baseball imposed a new rule regarding hard slides the following season.
“I think that’s the nature of the sport,” Utley said of the boos. “I’ve been playing here for a long time, so I’ve heard boos for probably 12, 15 years now.”
When the series continues this weekend, Utley can be sure to hear even more.
“This stage, where there’s some history obviously with Mets fans,” Roberts said, “but for Chase to rise to the occasion like he always seems to do is a big boost to our ballclub.”