Jimmy Rollins’s Comments Don’t Matter

We need him to focus on winning another World Series, so let's quit harping on his remarks about loud fans and free agency

For a majority of my lifetime, the Phillies have spent October golfing, fishing, tanning and sleeping in. Over the past decade, the city has seen it’s baseball team evolve from a marginal club with occasional seasons in the basement of the NL East to the pinnacle of America’s pastime. Hunter Pence has been here for a few months, some of the guys have been here for a few years, but Jimmy Rollins has been here for it all.

In 2007, J-Roll proved to be the first man on the team’s bandwagon as he trumpeted his confidence in the Phils at Clearwater—a move that proved to be the rally call for a troop who backed up his boisterous banter. Jimmy backed it up with an MVP nod.  The following year, Lidge went perfect, Stairs went yard, and the good guys floated down broad. Rollins and company followed that performance by taking the pinstripes to six in the next Series and falling short to San Fran and the Beard in 2010.

Jimmy’s been here since ’96. He’s been here for five straight National League East titles and three consecutive NLCS appearances. He’s been a part of one World Series championship and the greatest team in franchise history. There was the walk-off double in Game 4 against the Dodgers, the Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial, the hit streak and the benching incident. And I’m still hoarse from cheering when his flyout to end a game against the Braves in ‘07 turned into a four-base error to tie the game before Howard sent one sailing into the seats in the bottom of 14.

He single-handedly ushered Desi Relaford out of town, helped dedicate the Harry Kalas statue, and has had his hand in more face-palms in Flushing than anyone in my lifetime—all admirable contributions to Philadelphia rivaled only by his financial donations to charitable organizations.

But now, facing a three game series against the Cardinals to advance in the playoffs, people in Philadelphia are talking about the greatest shortstop in franchise history for different reasons. Rollins called out the fans for not being loud enough at the end of Sunday night’s loss and has indicated to the press that he won’t be giving the Phils a friends-and-family discount during free agency at year’s end.

I’d first like to point out that I couldn’t care less what Jimmy Rollins, Ruben Amaro Jr., or anyone else on this planet or any other has to say about free agency. I’m concerned about one thing: 10 more wins.

As for the fan commentary—J-Roll might be the city’s highest authority on crowd noise at Phillies games. He backed up Robert Person on opening day, played shortstop behind Brandon Duckworth at the Vet and was a part of the last losing season in Philadelphia. He’s also played an intricate role in five consecutive playoff births and the longest sell-out streak in the Bigs. It’s difficult to think of someone more qualified to comment on the noise during Sunday’s game—which touted the largest crowd CBP has ever held.  But, that doesn’t mean we want to hear his thoughts on it.

This is the greatest team in Phillies history. They’re in the midst of a tight series heading to an away park and have a World Series MVP on the hill in Game 3. Instead of talking about Jimmy’s doubles, Howard’s clutch hitting, Chooch’s defensive prowess or our bullpen’s effectiveness in Game 2, the media cycle has been controlled by our franchise shortstop calling out the fans and warning about a free agency bidding war. Leo McGarry and Toby Ziegler would be mortified.

Rollins is a great shortstop and a likable Phillie. Right now, he doesn’t need to be focusing on the noise level of the Philly Phaithful or his offseason asking price. He needs to be thinking about not getting picked off of first base, helping the Phils win Game 3 and eventually winning the World Series. Chances are that he’s exactly focused on just that. But, his recent comments have distracted the media, distanced the fans and taken away from what’s really at stake. All we really care about is another red banner. The noise at the Bank is a non-issue and his new contract is a bridge we’ll cross when we come to it—which should be while on a float and at the end of a parade.