Jimmy Rollins was the first person to lead a Philadelphia Phillies‘ resurgence all those years ago. Now, as one of the veterans who is still part of a fabled core, he needs to lead the fight once more.
The first time that I saw the young man who would later become known as “J-Roll” on the field I knew that he was going to win. My feelings were shared by all hardcore baseball fans who had followed the team since at least the last “Golden Age” in the mid- to late-1970s and early 1980s. The main ingredients in his sharp drink were confidence and the natural skill to support his encouraging words.
The role Larry Bowa played in serving as his mentor can’t be understated. Nurturing developing talent is a skill. “Bo” knew exactly what he was doing and has rightfully been given deep credit by Rollins for helping to establish his place in the game.
The playoff years arrived after the Bowa-Charlie Manuel transition and included the indelible 2008 World Series season. While that winning era might not be over, it’s surely in question as of the moment.
If the Phillies are to make a renewed playoff push this year, Rollins will be part of it. As the presumptive leadoff man and main infield general, his presence and production will be crucial.
Last season a revived power punch enabled number 11 to send 23 balls over the fence. He also scored 100+ runs for the first time since 2009. More than just proving that he was healthy, Rollins showed that he can still be productive at the plate.
With his ever-steady glove and resilient confidence intact, “J-Roll” is ready for another go at it. My guess is that he will lead this red fight at least one more time, starting in April 2013.