While some fans consider Jimmy Rollins to be one of the Philadelphia Phillies’ all-time great players, others have never been able to fully embrace him. There is a sentiment that Rollins doesn’t play the game of baseball the “right way.” From not running out ground balls to not caring about Spring Training stats, there is a perception that Rollins doesn’t always give full effort.
I have been a long-time supporter of “J-Roll” but last night’s game makes me think that the haters have a point. I thought Rollins thoroughly disrespected the game of baseball with his actions last night.
Saturday’s game between the Phillies and the Marlins was tied after nine innings. What does that mean? Extra baseball! For most fans and players, this is a positive development.
Baseball is a great game, Heck, it’s the greatest game ever invented. So when a player gets a chance to play even more of it, he should embrace the opportunity. But Jimmy Rollins made it very clear that he does not feel that way.
Rollins selfishly hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the tenth inning, depriving both fans and teammates an opportunity to experience even more baseball. Even worse, he had the audacity to not run around the bases at top speed after hitting his home run. Instead, he moved at a pace that would charitably be characterized as a trot.
In contrast, what would Chase Utley – the epitome of playing the game the right way – have done in that situation? Utley probably would have bunted or beaten out an infield single. It would have been an exciting play that would have thrilled the fans, and would have given him an opportunity to show off his impressive level of hustle. He certainly wouldn’t have hit a game-ending home run and then dared to move around the bases at a slow pace. Unfortunately, thanks to Rollins’ selfishness, Utley never got that opportunity.
Remember in Spring Training when manager Ryne Sandberg went out of his way to praise Freddy Galvis? Last night, Galvis showed why Sandberg had such a high opinion of him. With the winning run on second base, Galvis was at the plate with a chance to end the game. Knowing that he’d be depriving the fans of extra baseball, Galvis selflessly decided to strike out, allowing the game to continue. That, my friends, is playing the game the right way.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Rollins was benched for today’s game. That would send a message to the team that disrespecting the game of baseball certainly won’t be tolerated. It might be beneficial for Rollins as well. It would spare him from facing the wrath of the fans who will surely want to voice their displeasure with him for ending things early.
Sadly, even if he was benched, the message would probably fall upon deaf ears. If Rollins hasn’t learned to respect baseball by now, I don’t think anything will get through to him.