We’ve all been on the internet through the countless re-hashings of Jimmy Rollins’ return. It made for a terrific late afternoon post on any Phillies or baseball blog out there. Like paper boys in the 1920’s, they ran through the streets, shrieking the news in prepubescent pitches at a public in mid-commute.
“EXTRA! EXTRA! Jimmy Rollins could be back!”
Yes, we all spit spaghetti dinners on our laptop monitors. Jimmy?! Back?! But… but how?!
Who cares how. Jimmy is the last of our wounded to be stuck on the DL during this awesome ascent past the Braves and into Phillies history. 11 wins in a row? It’s a crime that poor Jimmy couldn’t be on the lineup card for that kind of madness.
Fortunately, we had Wilson Valdez to step off the bench and into baseball history* (*”History” in this case being “events that have already happened,” rather than “anything of note”).
As we watched J-Roll stroll into the batter’s box after another prolonged stay on the disabled list, absorb the applause of his adoring public, immediately take a mighty hack at the first pitch, and chop a quick out to third, there was a flash of second thoughts that popped in the back of your head.
No, its not the aneurism waiting for you at 40. Its the thought that Wilson is riding some momentum and he’s always been a solid defender and he throws the ball so damn hard and if he’s actually finding some kind of stride offensively it’d be great to give him the opportunity to… use it for something. Let me throw Wilson Valdez’s numbers at you.
Now, if you’re looking at those and thinking “Jesus, that’s not very good,” then congratulations, you know how to read baseball statistics well. But come on. The guy bats eighth when he even bats at all. He should get an award for having the most different-colored baseballs at the top of his Baseball Reference profile. No, he shouldn’t. But maybe he should get a spot on the post season roster ahead of Jimmy.
We’ve seen a lot of Wilson this year. Yeah, at the plate, he’s hasn’t been useful. In fact, given his passion for grounding into double plays, he’s actually nullified the positive at bats of other players. But everybody seems to find a string of games at some point in their career where the baseball is just demanding to become a base hit. I imagine its a little disturbing, calling your house at all hours of the night, leaving obscene voicemails for your kids to hear, threatening to blow the whistle on your relationship.
But most guys, even those who’ve never really dominated with a bat in their hands, will find themselves playing MVP quality baseball for a few weeks at some point in their careers before its back to heart-shattering mediocrity.
I believe we’re seeing Wilson Valdez’s window of success thrown ajar here, and while his usefulness lives on in the form of habitual 112 MPH throws to Ryan Howard, this very sadly and very crappily will not last forever.
Today’s “All right, whatever” moment brought to you by the Phillies dropping two games to the Mets yet still clinching playoff berth. Because baseball can just be so back-ass goofy sometimes.
This increased the likelihood of a Phillies clinch, which would make whatever games left to play in the regular season a shade of meaningless. Charlie Manuel playing his starters at that point as hard as he would play them in a pennant race would be like loading a pistol to take your kids trick or treating. No, “just having it” is not a good enough reason to wave it around in the presence of neighborhood children.
So maybe, being a starter, Jimmy won’t be used in the remaining games and Wilson will. Or maybe because he’s missed so much playing time, Jimmy will use the last shreds of schedule to rehab back into an every day position. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Often times I don’t even know what has happened. Really, its a very stupid blog.
Like I said, we’ve gotten to know Wilson this year and he’s built up plenty of trust in his glove. He’s already played in 105 games this year, more–way more–than any in his career for one season. Personally, I’m not yet buying a theory outside of “hot streak.” Or maybe he’s just dicking with us. I’m just saying, he deserves a shot, because nobody wants to see a still-recalibrating Jimmy half-ass chop-swing his way through the post season just because he’s “the starter.”