13 seasons in, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is host to one of the densest nests of callbacks and inside jokes in the world of modern TV, many of them centered on Rob McElhenney’s sweetly stupid Mac, and his various struggles to figure out what kind of person he’s actually supposed to be. (A pursuit the rest of the Gang usually does everything in their power to short-circuit, and which the show explored with shocking, poetic sensitivity in its most recent, bizarrely beautiful finale.) Among Mac’s many obsessions/visions of manhood: former Philadelphia Phillies star Chase Utley, with whom Mac has yearned to “have a catch” for many years now as part of his ongoing attempts to exorcise his daddy issues. (Keeping in mind that, according to the series, Utley is five years younger than Mac himself.)
For what it’s worth, Utley has always found this obviously amusing; he appeared on the show once to mock Mac’s dreams, and even sent him a video message responding to his initial “love letter.” But the catch itself has never happened—until now.
The momentous occasion came this week, when Utley (who was traded to the Dodgers in 2015, and retired from the MLB last year) was brought out to throw the first pitch at a Phillies game—with McElhenney, in character, as his catcher. And lo, but a catch was had, to the delight of a crowd happy to see a very dopey obsession fulfilled. There was even a hug! Dreams really do come true, we guess; next we’ll probably find out that Charlie got married to The Waitress in real life, too.