The end is near.
For months now we've known that 2018 would mark the final season for Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley.
The 16-year veteran announced his retirement back in July, and after press conferences and farewell stops in both Los Angeles and Philadelphia, the season slowly slugged along, and Utley continued to appear in games with the occasional pinch-hit appearance or spot start.
As of Sunday, there's seven games left in the regular season, but the remaining six games are all on the road. With a deep roster of position players, even if the Dodgers hold on to win their sixth consecutive NL West crown and make the playoffs, it's likely that Chase Utley won't be on the postseason roster. That means that Sunday's game could be the last appearance for Utley at Dodger Stadium in his career.
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Sure, there's a chance Utley could make the postseason roster as a pinch-hitter or injuries could force the front office's hand between now and October, but more than likely, Sunday marks the fans final opportunity to see the six-year All-Star and World Series Champion on the field.
The moment was not lost on Utley though. The soon-to-be 40-year-old posted a picture of an empty Dodger Stadium from behind home plate before the game, with a heartfelt caption.
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"I watched my first Major League game at this stadium 32 years ago. Today will be the last time I get to play here during the regular season. #bittersweet #dodgers"
The post received a reply from super-utility player and "adopted son" of Utley, Kiké Hernandez who simply put a crying emoji.
The future Hall-of-Famer hit .276 with 259 home runs, 1,025 RBIs, and four silver slugger awards in his career and will likely be remembered as one of the top second baseman in the big leagues.
The moment will probably go unnoticed amongst most Dodger fans until the end of the season and the announcement of the postseason roster for the National League Division Series or Wild Card Game, but for those fans in attendance in the regular season finale on Sunday who might happen to read this, tip your cap to one of the greatest who ever played the game.
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