You can't retire from being great.
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley announced at a news conference that he will retire at the end of the season to become a full-time dad.
"I just want you guys to know that I've signed a five-year extension," joked Utley as he began his retirement announcement press conference on Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.
"On a real note, I think everybody has pretty much figured it out, but at the end of this year, I'm going to retire," said Utley in a room full of reporters, teammates, coaches, and former Dodger greats like Don Newcombe. "I'm excited about that opportunity. I'm glad to be here right now with you guys. I've had a pretty unique career when I look back on it."
Utley, known for his gritty and competitive playing style, was traded from the Phillies to LA in August 2015. He enjoyed some of his best seasons in Philadelphia, where the 16-season veteran achieved legend status and received an emotional standing ovation during his first trip back as a Dodger in 2016.
"I was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies. Got a chance to play in the big leagues with them for a long time and play in front of some amazing fans," said Utley reflecting back on his career. "I Made some all-star teams, won a world series, lost a world series. Came over here [Los Angeles] and transitioned into a part-time player. Something that's new for me, but I took it in stride and I've really enjoyed that time. I'm also a part-time strength coach, part-time pitching coach, occasionally a part-time catching coach, as well as a part-time general manager, but the thing im having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad, and that's really the reason I'm shutting it down. I'm ready to be a full-time dad."
The six-time All-Star was a member of Philadelphia's 2008 World Series team.
"When he played he was one of the best players in the game when I was playing against him," admitted Dodgers' manager Dave Roberts. "But the consistency on how he approaches the game and his teammates, all the great things I heard about him are true."
One of Utley's biggest fans is teammate Enrique Hernandez, who has adopted the nickname of "Dad," for Utley this season. Hernandez frequently wears shirts in pregame devoted to Utley, and has famously used Utley's bat to hit home runs throughout the season, affectionaly calling it his "Dad bat."
"He adopted me," joked Hernandez after the retirement announcment. "One of the reasons he retired is to spend more time with me."
Utley is known as more of recluse in and around the clubhouse, so to hold a press conference to announce his retirement, seemed uncharacteristic, especially for Utley.
"I think Chase did it in an uncharacteristic and uncomfortable way for him," said Roberts. "But I think it was the right thing to do. I think he has some peace and is looking forward to moving on and helping us win baseball games. Great to see his teammates and coaches all there to support him. We have a ways to go, but for him to get ahead of it is a good thing.
"He's the most well respected guy in our clubhouse," continued Roberts. "Just the way he treats people in his career. How consistent he's been. Even the relationships he has or doesn't have, the respect unilaterally is at the top."
Utley admitted after the press conference that the fact the Dodgers were headed to Philadelphia to play the Phillies on July 23-25 was part of his decision to announce his retirement when he did.
As for Utley's future, it's been rumored and joked that Dodgers' President of Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman would "stalk" Utley after his retirement to remain with the Dodgers in an advisory role. Something Utley hasn't considered (or been offered) yet, but a role Roberts hopes he ultimately decides to do after reitrement.
"I'm hoping he'll still want to be a part of this organization and help us in the player development side or special assistant kind of thing," said Roberts. "I'm hoping he'll assist me as well."