As the Philadelphia Phillies continue to play uninspired baseball and seem intent on making the impending trade deadline the most exciting aspect of a forgettable baseball season, shortstop Jimmy Rollins continues his march toward history.
During Sunday’s game, a 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, Rollins got the 2,230th hit of his career, a single that puts him just five hits away from breaking the franchise record of 2,234 set by Phillies legend Mike Schmidt.
So why aren’t the fans more excited?
You would think that especially during a season like the one the Phillies are experiencing, the fans would look for any reason to celebrate and get worked up. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case in regards to Rollins breaking the all-time franchise hit record. In contrast, the vibe whenever he comes up to the plate is subdued, almost indifferent.
Rollins has always been known to be confident — some would say arrogant — in regard to his abilities on the ball field. He famously said the Phillies were the “team to beat in the NL East” before the 2007 season and then made his “who cares” comment in regards to Spring Training before the start of the 2014 season. During his contract year in 2011, there were constant questions about his motivation after he was asked if he would take a lower amount if it meant he would able to stay with the Phillies and said that there is no “home-team discount.”
Which brings us to the whole situation with Pete Rose. Earlier this month, Rose was on a local sports radio station and the subject of Rollins came up, his refusal to waive his no-trade clause until he has broken a few Phillies’ records and how Rose felt that it wasn’t right. And while it was funny to hear this coming from Rose, who effectively did just that during his own MLB career, it’s tough not to see where he’s coming from and that it’s a valid point of view.
I’m sure most fans would agree that they would rather Rollins remained a member of the Phillies in order to win another World Series, not break records.
And then there is the fact that the record he is attempting to break was set by Schmidt, a man who has come to symbolize everything good and just about the Phillies. When you ask any fan which player best represents the franchise, most will say Schmidt without even thinking. He has become a legendary figure in Philadelphia sports lore, on par with Bobby Clarke of the Philadelphia Flyers or Julius “Dr. J” Erving of the Philadelphia 76ers. To think that someone as polarizing as Rollins, who most fans will agree is no Mike Schmidt, is going to break the all-time hits record can leave a bad taste in the mouth of some people.
Or it could simply be because the team is so bad right now. The way the Phillies are playing, it’s tough to get excited about anything, much less a record being broken. Ask the fans in the seats and they will no doubt say they would prefer the team be in first place than see Rollins break Schmidt’s all-time hits record.
In any event, it seems likely the record will be broken sometime during the month of June and if it happens while the team is home at Citizens Bank Park, the fans will give Rollins his due and show him their appreciation.
Just don’s expect anyone to ask you 15 years from now where you were when Rollins broke the record and went into the history books.