Five years ago, when the NL East was still attempting to cast off its shackles of crappiness, Jimmy Rollins grabbed a microphone and announced that the Philadelphia Phillies were “…the team to beat.”
This didn’t make a whole lot of sense at the time. There were other teams in the division, and history had, at that point, been a very relentless, hostile educator. Season after season, history would sulk into the Phillies’ classroom, slam a dusty lesson plan onto the desk, and begin reading aloud from a ledger, describing the horrific curriculum we would be experiencing yet again.
- “Frugality in the Face of Desperation”
- “Avoiding the Acquisition of Superstars”
- “Apathy in Professional Sporting”
- “Dark Thoughts: Why Won’t The Voices Stop?”
So when Jimmy said that, Jimmy being a young, cocky, highly talented shortstop who against all odds was wearing a Phillies uniform, it gave us… confidence. Oh, yeah, we thought. The Phillies can win, and they also want to win. And then they DID win.
And you can’t say it’s all from Jimmy strutting into camp and squawking flirtatiously at the press. But you can say it’s a good starting point for the era.
With that era seemingly reaching it’s… well, let’s just say “middle”… this team again needs that presence to ignite white hot confidence amongst the fans. We’re all sitting around right now, letting the cornier beat writers get in our heads; the weaker of us may even find themselves nodding along with amateur articles on “Why the Phillies are Doomed in 2012 – A Slidshow. Reason #1: Hitting. The Phillies need to hit moar! Next slide plz.”
What better way to burn through the cobwebs in our head than somebody grabbing the mic and talking some shit? So, who is this person? Who is the spirited youth who will take on the roll of instigator, challenging our enemies and startling the media? Who will be 2012’s fiery upstart?
It’s Jim Thome! Yes, it is! Before you say any of those things you’re thinking, look at this! Jim apparently says we’re “team to beat” in 2012! Which is, sure, a less profound statement after five years of championship baseball, but he’s still, young know, saying it. And maybe now, with confidence a bit lower than it has been in recent years, is when we needed to hear it again.
"“How is 41-year-old, sometimes first baseman Jim Thome going to be the ‘youthful spark plug’ of an aging team?”–You, being a dick"
I told you to keep those thoughts to yourself.
And yes, maybe just a few weeks ago, we were all chiding Brad for saying confident, ridiculous statements about the Nationals because they were the team paying him. So you can’t say for sure that Big Jim would have a similarly pro-Phillies analysis of the 2012 season if he were looking at it objectively.
But that’s what makes him the spark plug! He defies logic! He casts aside reality! He wrestles the negativity out of your brain, tosses it into the air, and clocks it over the outfield wall.
So let’s let him do that. Because he apparently wants to, and who are we to silence the voice of our youth? We don’t need him feeling oppressed and then going out there and starting some kind of Occupy movement on the Twitter or whatever kids are doing these days.