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Rollins After Benching: ‘Oh Well’

Jimmy Rollins told his side of the benching story to reporters today. David Murphy and Todd Zolecki both have it, but Zolecki made it a nice, neat Q&A:

Q: What happened?
A: I showed up after the bus, a little bit about an hour before the game.
Q: Why?
A: You can say traffic, but that really doesn’t change anything.
Q: Disappointed?
A: No, I mean, it’s the same thing I do all the time. I usually leave about 10 minutes after the bus as usual if I drive myself, but you can’t change lights and stuff. Oh well.
Q: Did you understand?
A: Well, we’re not going to agree on this one. I agreed with him last time, but we’re not going to agree on this one. I think he understood that, and I understood it. But he’s the manager. He has to set a precedent for certain players and you’re expected and held up to those rules, and that’s fine.
Q: If you don’t agree, can you get past it?
A: Am I going to let it bother me? No, it’s already done. Me and Charlie spoke about it. It’s done.
Q: Was part of the decision that you’re a leader?
A: That was 100 percent of the decision. That was the complete decision. As I said, I understand. That’s part of it.

So why does Rollins drive himself and elect not to take the team bus? Are there other players who don’t get on the bus? Maybe it’s not a big deal (it’s a bus ride), but a team leader should be with his team, I think. That is, since he calls himself team leader.

Also, they are in New York. A little different taking on traffic in New York than, say, Cincinnati.

Here’s the bottom line: Rollins is supposed to be the leader. He’s the one who said they were the “team to beat” in 2007. He’s the one who predicted 100 wins in Spring Training. He’s the one everyone looks to for answers. Nobody else speaks like he — Utley rarely talks, Howard keeps to himself, Burrell chooses to be a supporting player, Myers is too abrasive, Hamels is too cocky. Rollins is supposed to be the true leader.

Instead, he’s flying by his own rules and breaking Charlie Manuel’s only two rules (be on time, run it out). We all brushed the baserunning issue off because it was the first time Rollins did anything so dumb, and yeah, the Phils were winning then. But in the middle of important games, when your team is mired in poor play, Rollins must be called out thoroughly on this one.

Suddenly Rollins looks selfish. And suddenly the entire team looks selfish, uninterested and soft. When we look at Rollins, we look at the team. We’ve been conditioned to see the team through his eyes. And right now this team looks utterly disgusting.

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