Monday, October 01, 2007

More On Jimmy

The afterglow is still bright and all is well in the City of Brotherly Love.

Reflecting on the regular season just concluded many moments and personalities stand out, but none more than Jimmy Rollins. One cannot help but be impressed with his character. After the game, Comcast stayed with the celebration for quite some time as players came back out from the locker room onto the field to mingle with family and friends and the remaining fans. At one point Leslie Gudel and Neal Hartman summoned Jimmy over to where they were seated. He stood behind them and draped an arm over Gudel's shoulder, discreetly and affectionately, and they chatted like old friends. He was magnanimous, obviously aglow, and utterly charming as he responded to their questions. There was no gloating, no "I told you so's", nothing inflated. He was almost matter-of-fact at times though clearly he was elated.

Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are critical to the team, but had they lost Jimmy for a month instead of either one of them, it would have been over long ago. He is the irreplaceable one on a team on which all 25 men (well, maybe not Adam Eaton) contributed.

At one point Howard came over, acknowledged to the camera how much Rollins means to him and the team, said J-Roll was clearly the MVP and that he, Howard, would "gradly relinquish his title" to him. Howard's words were spontaneous and filled with genuine affection for the veteran shortstop who had mentored him when the then-rookie first baseman came up to the big leagues for good. It's clear from a lot of things said and written that the players on this team like one another and pull for each other. Charlie Manuel has said they have the best chemistry of any team he's been a part of. Pat Gillick has said he always believed talent was the only thing that really matter but now, after watching this collection of players pull together he had to agree chemistry played a role.

It surely did and the catalyst of all those little chain reactions culminating in the final explosion of triumph was a bundle of atoms named Jimmy Rollins. Rollins isn't going to be the subject of a book like the Summer of 1941 which featured the race between the Yankees and Red Sox and Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Philadelphia simply doesn't play on the same national stage as those two franchises and its legendary stars. But Jimmy did have a season to remember, a record-breaking one which we as fans can point to years from now and say, "remember when Jimmy Rollins carried the Phillies from before spring training to the final day of the season" (and hopefully beyond.)? Fourteen years in the playoffs wilderness may seem like a long time, but it's been even longer since we've seen someone perform as joyously and magnificently as Jimmy Rollins did this year.


David said...

I'll just add that Rollins was by far the best speaker at the rally today.

SirAlden said...

Beautifully written. Thank you.