Why do we love Jimmy Rollins? Because we always love a winner, and the man is a flat-out champ, no matter what the standings say. We love him, too, because of the way he plays—tough, hard, but like it’s fun. And of course we love him because he married a Philly girl, and because he chose to stay when he could have left.
But mostly we love Jimmy Rollins because he’s been unafraid to call us, the big bad nasty fans of Philadelphia, on our crap. “You get to a point where you’ve lived here long enough and understand the city well enough that you feel brave enough to say how you feel,” he says. Like the time he dubbed us all a bunch of front runners. Or the time after a playoff loss when he said that fans at the ballpark were “waay too quiet.”
Do we like this? Of course not. But from Jimmy, we’ll take it. Maybe that’s what we should be most thankful to him for—for reminding us that real love isn’t easy, for caring enough to boo us back, for giving Philadelphians something we’ve never really had: a grown-up relationship with a professional athlete. —Tom McGrath