Some of you may have seen Kevin on the big screen at Citizens Park last Friday with Chase Utley and Rob McElhenney from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We wanted to share the backstory. And, most importantly, Kevin wanted to thank his friend Rob for arranging a really special day. Read on to hear the story.
On Friday, June 21st, the Philadelphia Phillies held a retirement ceremony for Chase Utley, one of its most popular players in its long history. In front of family, friends, and a sellout crowd of fans, Utley delivered a well-received address to those gathered at Citizens Bank Park where he played the majority of his professional career. As part of the pregame ceremony, Utley threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his friend Rob McElhenney, star and creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, fulfilling the character Mac’s dream of having a catch with the Philadelphia Phillies star.
One of those in attendance was Kevin – thanks to Rob. Soon after Kevin’s injury, he became connected with Rob. He developed a friendship with the TV star that, despite the geographical difference between Philadelphia and Los Angeles, would stay intact through text message and the occasional visit while filming in the city of Philadelphia.
Months before Utley’s retirement ceremony last Friday evening, in one of this text conversations, Rob asked Kevin if he wanted to catch a baseball game when he was going to be in town. Kevin gladly accepted. Rob facilitated the process of acquiring tickets and situated Kevin in a Hall of Fame level suite next to his and Chase Utley’s. Later on that evening, the two of them connected and Kevin was introduced to the evening’s honoree. The three of them had the opportunity to converse and Kevin was presented with the baseball used for the first pitch which Utley delivered to Rob earlier that evening. During the conversation, the three of them appeared on the Jumbotron where the entire crowd could see.
In addition to texting back and forth and maintaining his relationship with Kevin, McElhenney continuously donated It’s Always Sunny themed items towards the charitable events designed to offset the cost of Kevin’s medical care. The evening of June 21st provided Rob and Kevin the opportunity to get together in a more casual setting to share in Kevin’s favorite sport and their mutual favorite team. When Rob entered the suite he situated Kevin in, he brought his friend Chase Utley to introduce the star to Kevin. He and Utley presented Kevin with the ball that was used as the ceremonial first pitch, autographed by the two of them.
Kaitlin Olson, costar in the series and Rob’s wife, was also in attendance.
Kevin has been ”honored and humbled” by the friendship that McElhenney has shown him since the two of them have become friends over the last 7 ½ years. When asked about the relationship, Kevin states, “Rob has amazed me with his ability to bring joy to my life and make me feel like a valued friend. Never would I have thought that I would be able to text a message to a busy television star and receive a message back within a few minutes.”
We want to thank Rob and Chase for their kindness and hospitality. It was a night Kevin will never forget.
Kevin with former Phillies GMs Pat Gillick and Ruben Amaro, Jr.