Many jobs require worthless conversations. Throughout your day, you may experience seemingly endless dialogues with utterly zero purpose; just a monotone buzz that monopolizes the air until your next careful retreat into silence.
When Chase Utley and Ryne Sandberg talk, however, there obviously isn’t a second wasted beating around the bush. Several topics are notably covered:
- Second base is really the best base
- Being awesome at second base is great
- Let’s try to become awesomer at second base (This is followed by sound-shattering high fives
It is a very particular slice of common ground they share, making a conversation between the two of them one of the most productive things that could occur during Spring Training [EDITOR'S NOTE: Are you trying to say that grouping the five starting pitchers into a room and gawking at them for 15 minutes isn't a constructive usage of time?!]
Ryne is the main part of one of the eye-rolling-est moments in Phillies history, in a deal with the Cubs that wound up being so one-sided, you wonder why Baseba’al would even allow a second baseman of Chase’s caliber to fall back into our hands. And yet, he did, and in a fateful twist, the baseball god actually put the two of them in the same training camp in 2011.
And they’re chatting.
What [Sandberg] saw in Chase Utley wasn’t just an All-Star second baseman, but a reflection of himself.
“Really,” the Hall of Fame second baseman said, “he is cut out of the same mold.”
–David Murphy, Philadelphia Daily News
If this were a movie, you’d think Sandberg would be taking on the villain with the vengeful past; seducing Chase with purposefully misleading “pointers.”
“Everybody knows that jumping out of the way of a break-up slide is for pansies,” he’d say, and then laugh manically months later in the dugout in Lehigh Valley, after watching on a pocket-TV as Chase got broken apart at the knees on an ill-fated double play. His revenge complete, he’d forfeit the rest of the Ironpigs season and disappear forever.
Instead, Sandberg seems to have chosen to use his powers for good. He and Chase make an unholy alliance of second base knowledge, allowing the man currently at the position to capitalize on the legend’s brain full of brilliance between second and first.
Whether this really is leading to a devastating revelation of turncoat behavior on the part of Sandberg is yet to be seen, his motives fueled by the bitterness of the trade that took him out of Philadelphia’s grasp in the first place. But it is only fair that we begin salivating over the products of a mind-meld between two of the greatest second baseman to ever dress in Phillies red.
Even if one of them took it off prematurely.