Chase Utley has retired from playing professional since the end of 2018. His legacy though, has not nearly faded. His popularity with fans is like a fire with embers that never go out and seek to forever burn. One such fan has recently released a book based on a series of tweets she began on May 20th, 2017. Here is the tweet where author Amanda Smith explains what the book, titled, “Le Renard Agente: the Silver Fox At War” is all about.
Ok I have a bunch of new followers so I should probably explain what my book, Le Renard Argenté, is about:
In 2017, Chase Utley almost fought Giancarlo Stanton. I wrote this tweet: https://t.co/eez7CQw3Qz
— Amanda Smith (@AmandaSmithSays) October 23, 2019
A Little Background
For those who don’t use Twitter or unable to read Smith’s twitter thread posted above, let me describe the book. Smith describes it as a work of ‘micro fiction’ or a series of very short stories. It describes Chase Utley as a soldier in World War II, using fictional quotes Smith wrote herself. It seeks to blend the hard-nosed, scrappy, and intense nature that Chase Utley is beloved for with a fictional WWII story. Here’s an example using Amanda’s first tweet on this theme.
"You think I'm scared, little boy? I was in France. Just me & 6 Nazis, a little town outside Luxembourg. Ran out of bullets. Used my hands." https://t.co/b5ury3yRmR
— Amanda Smith (@AmandaSmithSays) May 20, 2017
Chase Utley had a well deserved reputation of being unafraid to get hit by a pitch. One page reads, “Hit me. I need that pain to feel alive. I spent three weeks alone in a foxhole in Nuremberg. Stabbed myself in the thigh to smell the blood.”
The juxtaposition of Chase Utley’s reputation as a player who will do anything to win, with a World War II alternative reality is a unique idea that is executed flawlessly. Smith’s talent for humor is apparent throughout the book. She brings an ability to humanize a work of fiction that could read as absurd in the clutches of a lesser writer.
The book itself is humorous, but without the artwork it would not be nearly the composition that it is. The artwork, provided by six different artists, includes bombastic, color saturated, noir-esque illustrations, black and white sketches with intense detail, and even simple sketches that belie the intensity of what they convey.
I won’t even pretend that the writing is why you should buy this book. It’s worth owning because of the incredibly talented artists who contributed. I’m deeply indebted to @drawawalk, @BillBushman, @RebeccaM513, and @KendallCaroline who contributed the bulk of art. pic.twitter.com/EDPmwYJmKD
— Amanda Smith (@AmandaSmithSays) October 23, 2019
Some of the book even evokes some rather tender emotions.
@AmandaRTubbs This drawing pulled at the heart strings ? So sweet!! pic.twitter.com/j90KOXTfaL
— Diana (@indibell) October 26, 2019
From Tweets To A Book
It’s not often you see a funny tweet turn into an idea so grand it becomes a published book. Smith’s story about how she turned a funny tweet idea into a much grander project, can also be read here.
Ok I’m way too amped up from tonight so I guess now is a good time to tell this story from Spring Training.
— Amanda Smith (@AmandaSmithSays) March 27, 2019
For those who are not Twitter users, I highly recommend finding a way to read the thread. Smith details getting Rich Hill to sign her early draft of the book, as well as Dodgers President of Operations, Andrew Friedman. She even attempted to give a copy of it to the man, Chase Utley himself. That copy’s location is currently unknown.
I briefly asked Amanda when she thought this funny idea could become a full-fledged book.
“I started thinking about it in March, right before spring training. I always like to bring unique things to get signed at spring training, so I made myself a photo book of my tweets paired with the photos that inspired the tweets. I printed some extra copies for friends, and the reaction I received was really positive. After I gave it to Andrew (Friedman) and he seemed to think it was funny, I figured it might be worth making into a book. People had asked me in the replies for a while, and I figured it couldn’t be that hard. I was very wrong, it’s extremely difficult.”
From a set of funny tweets to having a early copy of the book in the hands of Andrew Friedman. What a unique story that just proves sometimes you have to, as the kids say, ‘shoot your shot.’
The Perfect Stocking Stuffer
Chase Utley’s legacy continues to live in the hearts of many. His dedication to his craft and his intensity adhered him to fans from the day he put on Dodger blue. He gave 100% effort 100% of the time. He was never afraid to sacrifice his body to get on base or to breakup a double play. This book not only captures that essence, it allows Chase Utley to live on in almost mythic proportions. Isn’t that what baseball is all about? How can you not be romantic about baseball?
The holidays are around the corner. This is an obviously perfect gift for any Dodger fan, Phillies fan, and probably any baseball fan except Mets fans. You can and should purchase the book here.
“You always run it out. Made that mistake a few times when I was a rook, too. Thought I killed an Obersoldat with a single shot. Started to walk away, he winged me with his luger. Learned the hard way: always hustle, always check for a pulse.” –
Le Renard Argente: The Silver Fox At War