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06/15/07 10:00 AM ET
Utley's father provided plenty of support
Dad was always there for second baseman, never pushing
By Stephen Fastenau / MLB.com
Dave Utley wasn't overbearing. While encouraging his son Chase to play baseball, he didn't force him to take extra swings in the batting cage, or push him in any way. He was just there for him.
"He was at the majority of my Little League games," said Chase, the Phillies' second baseman. "Same with Pony League games. He was always around and showed an interest in whatever I wanted to do."
But Dave Utley had one rule about which he was adamant: no skateboarding.
"He wasn't a big fan of me riding a skateboard," Utley said. "Somehow, I had one, though. I don't know if I bought it, or my mom bought it for me, but it wasn't him. There was nothing he could do at that point. Growing up in Southern California, you're always outside, so you need something to do."
When not skateboarding, Chase played baseball.
Dave, a personal injury lawyer, was usually busy during the day, but Chase said his dad found time to play catch with him now and then, even if he wasn't the biggest baseball fan.
"It wasn't an everyday routine," Utley said. "He supported whatever I wanted to do, and it happened to be baseball, and he saw that it made me happy. He wasn't overbearing. He didn't make me go to the batting cages. He didn't make me do drills. He let me do what I wanted."
As far as equipment, Utley said, it was "gloves as needed."
Utley rode his bike to and from the baseball field, and his father apparently should've been more worried about the bike than the skateboard. Chase slipped from his pedal one day and busted his face on the handlebars. The result wasn't pretty, and the scar on the right side of his chin is a permanent reminder.
"It crushed me, then it got infected," Utley said. "That's why it doesn't look so hot."
Utley continued his career as a baseball player, progressing through Little League and Pony League while his dad made it to as many games as possible. The soon-to-be two-time All-Star has been able to sway his father's allegiance to his favorite team.
"He was a Dodgers fan, but I imagine it's changed a little bit," he said.