New Day Dawning

Those Philly boo birds: Oh where, oh where have they gone? — Ron Costello

You Want the Real Story? Rollins and the Phillies Respect Sandberg. Period

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Two infielders cut from the same bolt of cloth.

Two infielders cut from the same bolt of cloth.

Jimmy’s got tenure.

If you’re  tenured faculty say, at Drexel, it means you’ve earned the right to free speech in the classroom without fear of dismissal. That’s why tenure was set up, to protect academic freedom.

Wanting to break Schmidt's Phillies record for most hits doesn't make Rollins a selfish player.

Wanting to break Schmidt’s franchise record for hits doesn’t make Rollins a selfish player.

Professor Rollins has tenure — albeit, not the same as an accounting professor, but nonetheless he’s got baseball freedom. So chuck the Jimmy-for-Who theories and think about something important like what happened to Flight 370.

Jimmy has a full no trade clause in his contract.

Why should he accept a trade? His best  chance of winning a division championship is here in Philly, not Detroit or some other bankrupt outpost.

But here’s the problem. Some people — a lot of people — after seeing and hearing the trash talk about Jimmy online, in the papers or on talk radio, believe it. Even if — in my opinion — much of it’s created by media outlets forced to cover spring training.

B-o-r-i-n-g.

You’ve got to write about something; who cares if the Phillies beat Pittsburgh, 3-1, in Bradenton?

Ah, but Jimmy provided Jayson Stark and Comcast SportsNet’s Jim Salisbury with something better. Trash talk. “Rollins doesn’t have the right mindset,” or, “he’s too focused on his own stats.”

ESPN’s Buster Olney said sources inside the Phillies say Rollins “should lead or leave, ” and he might get traded. I wonder who Olney spoke to, the kid who makes coffee? The secretary who thinks he’s cute? (Ron doesn’t think Buster’s cute) We don’t know, of course, he didn’t say.

Of course. So we just trust Buster, like you would a bank teller or a slip and fall lawyer.

There’s no question Rollins didn’t have a good season last year. But if you look closely at his stats, they fluxuate from year to year — like a see-saw. With the exception of year one — 2000, in 14 games — Rollins has never hit .300. His career averages — batting average and on base percentage — are good for a shortstop.

Rollins and the Phillies respect Sandberg. Which is a big reason why they will win the NL East.

Rollins and the Phillies respect Sandberg, which is a big reason why they will win the NL East.

He’s averaged 17 home runs and 69 RBIs through 13 seasons; again respectable. Very respectable. Defensively, he’s a four time Rawlings Gold Glove winner, the last in 2012.

Granted, Charlie had to speak to him last season, even had to sit him. Personally, I’ve never seen Jimmy Rollins dog-it. I think baseball players get through a 162 game season their own way.

I think it’s impossible to go 100 percent, every game. Guys like Rollins, who play 155 – 158 games a season — he played all 162 in 2007 — pace themselves. It must be brutal; I can’t imagine.

Now excuse me, I like Freddy Galvis, but is he going to step in and do the  job  Rollins will do offensively? Get real.

Could Jimmy be slipping because of age?

Absolutely. But you don’t question his commitment, frame of mind, and his value as a team player. Or question his value as a baseball man — lookit, they’re questioning his value as a man!

It’s all bullshit.

Under Sandberg, this club has a chance.

Sandberg might be quiet, but he’s quiet like iron.

I grew up in this city. I’ve seen how rumors snowball and inapt media and irresponsible reporting turn people against athletes,  i.e., Del Ennis and Richie Allen. I think that same negative focus is now on Jimmy Rollins.

Why? Who knows.

Chase Utley showed up at spring training hardly able to walk. Nobody questioned his commitment or value as a team player. Pat Burrell did his workouts after midnight, who accused him of lacking leadership skills? Why didn’t Comcast SportsNet stick microphones in his face?

Shane Victorino popped off. Was he a malcontent? A troublemaker? Was he a worthless leader? Didn’t see any of that.

Jimmy Rollins will lead with his bat and glove — and his legs, and I hope for him — and us —  they hold up.

I don’t know about you, but my legs aren’t what they were 13 years ago, and nobody accuses me of being lazy, selfish, or not in the right frame of mind.

Well, almost nobody.

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