It’s only tough love, Jimmy Rollins

By Nick Pitts
August 28, 2008

Let me explain something to you, Jimmy Rollins, because it has recently occurred to me that after spending your entire eight-year career here in Philadelphia, no one has sat you down and told you this.

Oh yeah, all of you sports writers that have sided with Rollins might want to pull up chairs as well.

The Philly faithful bleeds for their sports teams. We want to feel as though we are apart of what goes on in those nine innings, both the good and the bad.

On Aug. 13, you called us front-runners. What you really did, was betray us.

You created a feeling of alienation between the team and your fan base, and ultimately reminded us of the ugly side of sports.

Here in Philly we don’t want to think of Rollinsyou for what you really are: a professional athlete, because we would rather have you as a friend.

To me and the rest of the city, when you do something great out in that field, you are our hero. You are a normal dinner table conversation and we want to sport your jersey with pride. When you have a bad game, well, you are going to hear about it.

But our memory is short-term, unless you insult us.

What you did to this city is remind us all that at the end of the night, you have your multi-million dollar paycheck to go home to, as well as your enormous house and your lavish lifestyle.

What do we the fans have to go home to? Well after we spend all of our money on the ticket to the game, the four dollar hot dog and $3 soda, the majority of us drive our minivans back home to our middle-class lives.

We don’t want to see you as just another loudmouth, selfish, multi-million dollar athlete, because cheering for the teams in this city as passionately as we all do is hard enough.

The only thing your “front-runner” fan base knows how to do is show up, rain or shine. After 25 straight years without a championship in any major sport, we still show up.

The Phillies attendance numbers have not been below an average of 18,221 people per game since 1973, and that number has not dropped below 28,973 since 2003.

Incase you were wondering Jimmy, the average home-game capacity this year is 96.3 percent.

I can’t tell you how many times I wrote the team off in September of last season, when every game was a nail-biter and it seemed as though with every loss, playoff hopes were gone.

I wanted so badly not to tune into games after tough losses, but I did anyway, because I am a Phillies fan, and that is what I do.

We are not front-runners. We are die-hards, every last one of us. Do we get down on the team when they are losing? Absolutely. But it’s not like we don’t want you to win, because that’s foolish. The sheer fact that over two weeks later the city is still talking about what you said might make you realize that we care a little more than you think.

So don’t you dare insult us for idolizing you, because we are not afraid of letting our heroes know when they are out of line. We expect you to play some great baseball and will accept nothing less because you mean that much to us.

If you can’t handle that, then you might want to consider playing in a city that doesn’t care s much.

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Nick Pitts

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