Chase Utley holding press conference to reportedly announce retirement at season’s end

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The Los Angeles Dodgers announced that second baseman Chase Utley will be holding a press conference on Friday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. The topic of the press conference has not been made public, but Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Chase Utley will announce his retirement at the end of the season.

Utley has made only 130 plate appearances this year, in part because he missed time on the disabled list with a sprained thumb. When he has played, he has not been effective, hitting .231/.313/.331 with only one homer and ten extra base hits in total.

Utley, 39, has played in the majors for 16 seasons and, for the most part, they have been amazing seasons. He’s a career .276/.358/.466 hitter who has made six All-Star appearances and has played in the World Series three times. He was the unquestioned clubhouse leader of the excellent Philadelphia Phillies teams for which he played in his prime and, even as a role player with the Dodgers, he has been spoken of as an uncommonly respected and influential veteran presence. There was talk this past offseason of him possibly taking a coaching job back in Philly, but the Dodgers signed him again anyway, in large part for the leadership he provides.

We’ll update later if this is, indeed, the end of Utley’s playing career and will provide a retrospective of one of the best second basemen in modern baseball memory.

Brewers reliever Josh Hader in hot water over racist, homophobic tweets from 2011-12

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Brewers reliever Josh Hader didn’t have a good night. He gave up four hits and a three-run homer to put the National League in a big hole in the All-Star Game. That’s the kind of thing that has to stick with you.

Oh, and he was also revealed to be a SUPER BIG racist, misogynist and homophobe. That’s gonna stick with him too, and may land him in trouble with Major League Baseball.

Someone decided to dig through Hader’s Twitter history this evening and when they did they found some ugly, ugly stuff in there from back in 2011-12.* Hader was found to have used the n-word, liberally. He said “I hate gay people.” He said some super misogynistic stuff about wanting a woman who will cook and clean for him, among other pretty damn vile things. There were multiple references to cocaine. He said “I’ll murder your family” to one person and made some total non-sequitur tweet simply saying “KKK.” You name a social media etiquette line that one can cross and Hader not only crossed it, but he totally and gleefully trampled over. If you want to see that vile stuff you can see it over at The Big Lead, which screen-capped it. I presume Hader has deleted them by now.

The news of Hader’s old, unearthed tweets bubbled out as the All-Star Game was going on, and reporters met Hader in the locker room right afterward for comment. Hader owned up to them — there was no “I was hacked” excuses offered here — saying that the tweets were a sign of immaturity when he was 17 years-old. He said he plans to apologize to his teammates, saying they don’t reflect on him as a person now. His quote: “No excuses. I was dumb and stupid.” Which, well, yes, obviously.

That may not be the end of it, however:

These tweets are old, Hader may be a different person now and people can do a lot of growing up between 17 and 24. But Major League Baseball is not happy tonight, I can assure you, that an ugly social media incident blew up during its biggest showcase of the regular season.

Will Hader be disciplined? Hard to say, given that Hader wasn’t even drafted yet when those tweets were made and given that MLB’s social media policy was not even in place then. But it would not shock me at all if more comes of this than Hader merely apologizing to his teammates. Stay tuned.

*There are several putative Hader tweets floating around Twitter right now of a more recent vintage. Hader has locked his account, however, and they cannot be confirmed, and many people who were able to access his account before it was locked said those tweets were not there before, with the suggestion that they were Photoshopped. We are neither in the position to — nor do we have the inclination to — verify which of Hader’s tweets are legitimate and which are fabricated. We know, however, that there is more than ample, awful stuff that he has owned up to and we’ll leave it at that for now.