"I might catch some flack for saying this, but, you know, they're front-runners. When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad, they're completely against you...St. Louis, it seems like they support their team, they're out there and encouraging. In Philly, can't be no punk."
First off, never begin a sentence with "I'm not racist but" or "Not to be offensive but" or "I might catch some flack for this," because whatever you say after that is going to be bad. It's either going to be racist, offensive or you're going to catch major flack. And this instance is no exception. So, here comes some flack...
Calling fans of the the losingest professional sports franchise in American history "front-runners" is absolutely ridiculous. Sure, there will be some idiots out there who would agree with J-Roll and say things like, "The stadium wouldn't be sold out if they were losing" as proof that the fans are fairweather. Like I said, these people are idiots because that is how it is in every city. Want proof? The Yankees have led the league in attendance since 2003. But before their first playoff appearance (since 1981, that is) they weren't higher than 5th for any season in the 90's, finishing 11th in the American League in attendance twice. In Boston, there attendance drops 7% in years they don't make the playoffs, even though the team hasn't had a losing season since '97. What about the saints of St. Louis? Well, they've finished no lower than 3rd in the NL in attendance in the last four years, coincidentally while making the playoffs 6 times this decade. Of course, in the 90's when they won 53 and 62 games a season, they were in the bottom half of the NL in attendance. They did show up to watch McGwire hit homers though... And what about J-Roll's hometown Oakland A's, who he said "just don't show up"? He's right, they don't show up when they suck. They are 13th in the AL in attendance this year with total numbers down about 25% from earlier this decade when they were winning 100 games a season and going to the playoffs 4 straight years.
Every fanbase "frontruns" to some extent. The difference is, their team leaders aren't calling them out for it on national television.
It's not news that Philadelphia sports fans celebrate success and bemoan failure with equal passion and fervor, and that the determination of success/failure and the subsequent emotional response can change daily. Hell, it can change mid-game or even mid-boo. [The first time I heard "Boooooo-yeah" was not from Stuart Scott.] But to say the fans are "completely against you" is sensationalistic and just not true. I can see how it could be hard for someone outside of Philadelphia to understand it and how it could be hard for an athlete to handle, especially a young athlete or one new to Philly, but Rollins should know better. Or at least, I hoped he would know better.
I guess these guys do need to have their hands held and smoke blown up their asses. Strikeout records, Mendoza flirtations, not running out grounders, 10,000 losses...it's all good. Right? I guess we should stick our head in the sand, ignore these failures and bottle up our feelings towards the team. Maybe tie some ribbons around a few trees in remembrance of all the great young ballplayers we've ruined with our boos. How about we all just tuck it between our legs and move to St. Louis?
If Rollins really doesn't think the fans are behind him, it's very sad. It's just such a shame that an established Philly player, a fan favorite who has been supported strongly this year in the face of poor play and multiple disciplinary benchings, would go out of his way and take the time to bash his hometown fans. Whether the fans should or shouldn't care what the players think about them is another argument (it is all about the results, after all), but many people who have supported this team through thick and thin, from the '93 team through the Terry Francona years, from Mike Schmidt to JD Drew, will be insulted by these remarks. It will create ill will between the fans and the players and another distraction in a season that is rapidly going downhill. It was completely unnecessary and totally idiotic. Also, what is the deal with "can't be no punk"? If you are going to insult me, J-Roll, at least do it in English you ignorant ass.
And lastly, aren't there enough media and cameras and microphones to make these sort of comments in Philadelphia? Why did he have to go across the country to talk smack on his fans? In terms J-Roll would understand, "That be a punk bitch move, yo."
Why'd you have to go an say that Jimmy? Even if you're thinking it, you should have thought not to say it. Simply a dumb statement to make. The part about booing when being bad and cheering when doing good is true, and it only makes sense. What do you want, crickets like the Florida Marlin fanbase of 13 after a single or stolen base? Or do you want cheered for not running out a ground ball or popup? How about we applaud you for breaking team rules and then publicly disagreeing with your manager? See, that doesn't make sense Jimmy, and I thought you were smart enough to know that. Every city has fans that boo and cheer their everlovin' asses off, and Philly is no different, and neither is the baseball haven known as St. Louis either. By the way Jimmy, you might want to get Albert Pujols' views on the Cardinal fans, as he's voiced his displeasure with them on two different occasions (one about the booing of Juan Encarnacion and the other on the booing of Jason Isringhausen).
I'm not upset he called us out on national television about our tendency to boo/cheer, because that part is right on the money. The part that pisses me off is the blanket statement about Phillie fans being "frontrunners". I have loved the Phils since I can remember having memories, and for most of those years they were bad. I never booed, oh I wanted to sometimes, but I never booed (not even David Bell); it's just not my style, I'd rather rip a player on the blog. However, I believe every fan as the right to boo. To boo and cheer shows passion, and if there's one thing Phillie fans are not short on, it's passion. Calling all of us front-runners is the mistake. Saying we're front-runners is like calling people from rural areas rednecks. Is it true? Yes, to a certain extent, but certainly not in all cases. Every team has front-runners, but they have the loyal diehards too. Hell, look at the Rays, their attendance is on the rise because they actually have a winning product on the field this season. Must be all front-runners right? Nope, Tampa Bay even has diehards, and it is ridiculous to ignore them and that is just what Rollins did with his comment. He's been welcome with open arms ever since his rookie season, and now after so many years of a great relationship with fans he goes and says something so retarded...just doesn't make sense. How is it front-running if the team has only made it to the playoffs once in the past 14 years? How is it front-running when the franchise has 1 stinking championship to its name? Front-running suggests that the team is actually in the front, which the Phils have not been too often.
Some people are suggesting Rollins wants traded and that's why he said this. Others believe he is unhappy with his contract, or that he's all about money and fame and not winning. I don't agree with any of that. Rollins wants to win, and he's a damn fine player. I have always supported him and I'm honestly still happy he's on my favorite team. However, his comments are unforgettable and will always sit in the corner of my mind when I go to cheer him on for his next triple or outstanding play on defense. Jimmy has been in Philly long enough to know that we can be an unforgiving bunch and to put the limelight on himself like this was just foolish. He's having a down year after an amazing MVP season, but he's still treated like a hero in Philly. That's about to change. You made your bed Jimmy, not it's time to sleep in it.
I hear Jimmy is returning to Best Damn Sports Show Period to explain his comments...should be interesting.