Chase Utley

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Oh ick. What happened to my beloved Phillies? They are such a great team, what happened? I was so sure that not only were we going to the World Series this year but that we would win it easily. How could it be over so quickly? I am going through not only my usual end-of-the-season withdrawal but also now dejection over the dashing of my hopes for a 2011 Series win.


Now of course comes the long wait for spring training to begin. Worse yet than the waiting is the knowledge that inevitable changes  are in store for the team.  I like and admire all the Phillies players this year. That hasn’t always been the case. In the past there have been players who made me roll my eyes back in my head and groan loudly whenever they hit the field. But this lineup is outstanding not only in terms of talent but also as really good guys. Committed to the community, to the team and each other.  I don’t want to see anyone of them go. Yet that always seems to be the inevitable postscript to any season. The cautious shuffling of talent to find the best mix. I have to say Amaro totally amazed me by bringing back Cliff Lee. It was a wonderful and triumphant moment when Lee returned to the Phillies fold. I always love watching him pitch. And of course  there is Ruiz and Ibanez and Pence and Rollins and Utley and Howard and Madson and Hamels and Halliday and the list just goes on.

There is something very comforting about baseball. I love hearing it on the radio, watching on TV or best of all, hunkered in a seat at Citizens Park bellowing out a offkey but heartfelt version of  “High Hopes” in honor of Harry K. The mix of fans. I mean I like football too, but right now I feel disenfranchised from the Eagles. The organization has made some changes in the past few years –  letting go of seasoned and talented players, bringing in a quarterback with a dubious past. (The book “The Lost Dogs,” about Vick’s mistreatment of his animals is a heart-rending read for dog-lovers). I have also had some negative experiences when I attended a few games. A far cry from what I have seen at Citizens Park, the vitriol at a football game is shocking at times and toxic. To the point that I felt uneasy with the level of venom being spewed towards the field. I doubt I will go again.

Change has always been tough for me. Paradoxically so since I have throughout my life made a lot of substantial changes both personally and professionally. Yet when I see things change around me I feel anxious. It may be a momentary response or linger longer, but it does affect me on some level. It can be as simple as a  favorite store closing after many years (Wanamaker’s, Strawbridges).Or as complex as the continuing evolution of my chosen profession (PR) as new technologies take hold. The passing of men and women I view as cultural icons is always a shock (Steve Jobs, Paul Newman).

Change jangles me, reminds me that I am not really in control of the world around me. When I was young and frightened I believed if I kept my head down I would be invisible. Invisible to those around me, invisible to violence, invisible to pain.

Life just doesn’t work that way. I used to believe that there were really only two kinds of people in the world: those who view it life as inherently safe and good and who expect to be happy, and those who…well, who fervently keep an eye on the sky waiting for an errant satellite to drop on them. Knowing that even if it doesn’t happen today or tomorrow, eventually something bad will happen to them. Like a frightened turtle they keep their head pulled in and shoulders up.

The only thing is…what if that satellite doesn’t fall out of the sky and hit them.What if they have spent a lifetime hunkered down trying to stay safe, trying to be invisible. When does caution become a cage?