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Rollins: Phils Fans Aren’t Supportive Enough

Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard were on “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” last night, and they were asked about playing in an environment like Philadelphia. Here’s what they said:

Chris Rose: Is it bad? It’s not that bad, is it?
Howard: In Philly? Umm …
Rollins: It can be.
Howard: It can be.
Rollins: It can be. I mean, there are times. Like, one of those cities, they — I might catch some flak for this but … they’re frontrunners. You know, when you’re doing good, they’re on your side. When you’re doing bad they’re completely …
Rose: But that’s a lot of cities.
John Salley: That’s called family. That’s called family.
Rollins: Yeah man, I hear you, but for example, Ryan’s from Saint Louis and — you know — Saint Louis, it seems like, they support their team, and they’re out there and they’re encouraging. In Philly — can’t be no punk.

It’s a shame, really, that we’re now at this stage with Rollins. After the lax play, benching and showing up late, Rollins has to say something like this.

First off, let’s put this out here: Rollins has a small point. At least from his perception. He’s been in Philly his entire career and has seen some bad teams. He’s seen some sparse crowds, and yeah, when the Phils stink, the crowds are sparse. It’s true — when the Phils play bad, the fans usually stay home. And yes, I do get a little miffed when most fans don’t clap before a big spot in a game. So he has a point there. Maybe we’re not like Cardinals fans, who do show up to every game and cheer (somewhat blindly) for their team every day.

But we’re not Cardinals fans. We haven’t had a recent world champion. We’ve only had one. We’re supporting the worst franchise in baseball history. Have a little perception from our side, Jimmy. Realize that we’re starving for a championship. Realize that in Boston, a city that today would be called one of loyal fans, no one went to storied Fenway Park in the early 1990s. Realize that in the Bronx, nobody went to Yankee Stadium during those lousy mid 1980s Yankee teams. Realize that 28 of the 29 big league cities are not Saint Louis.

But this isn’t about Saint Louis. It’s about a supposed leader who completely turned himself against his fanbase. This guy couldn’t buy a boo in 2007; this year he’s practically begging for us to hate him. Why? What the hell have we done to him? We’ve paid good money to see this team play. We’ve packed Citizens Bank Park to the brim more than 40 times in 2008 for this team. We throw down money to see a division champion defend its title. And what have the players given us? Whining. Lethargy. And this crap — from the supposed leader.

Hey, Jimmy, you make millions of dollars each year to play this grand old game. If I made millions to swing at 15 pitches and take a few grounders every day, I wouldn’t care one bit if the fans supported my team. And yet we do support you. We come out in droves. We want a champion, that’s the bottom line. Sure, Cardinals fans like having a good, friendly family time at Busch Stadium II. Like I said before, they’re the only franchise that has that type of fandom.

All we’ve ever wanted is for our team to show up everyday, play good baseball, and hopefully win about 60 percent of its games. Like Boston, like New York, if you make the playoffs, we’ll be clapping for every single moment. But we’re not there yet. And we might not get there in 2008, mainly because of you, Jimmy. You’re not playing well. And that’s the issue. Ever figure that when you played well in 2007, we supported your every move?

Anyway, Jimmy is asking to leave Philly. Maybe he can follow in Scott Rolen’s path, get away from “pressure” and indulge in “Baseball Heaven.” And if so, that’s sad — we always … always thought he was tougher than that, better than that.

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