There's been a barrage of articles written about Jimmy Rollins' production out of the leadoff spot as of late.
So if you've been watching and/or reading, then it should come as no surprise that Jimmy is off to a slow start in his 13th season with the Phils, the first since signing his latest contract with the club this offseason, one that will take him through 2014, if not 2015. The 33-year-old Rollins is batting just .242 with a .292 OBP. Granted, he has the remainder of the season to even out, but those would be the lowest totals of his major league career.
The Phils find themselves in the basement of the NL East, a position they haven't occupied since the much earlier years of Rollins' tenure, and the offense, like everything else, has been a point of concern at various periods. As Rollins has traditionally been the straw that stirs this team's drink, at the pace he was going, the boos were inevitable.
They became quite audible last night at CBP.
The Inqy's Bob Brookover has a piece on Philly.com detailing that slow starts aren't exactly out-of-character for J-Roll and that his second halves have typically been better than his firsts under manager Charlie Manuel.
But the quotes that caught our attention were Rollins' reaction to boos he heard on his way back to the dugout after a one-out pop-up in the third inning with a runner, Freddy Galvis, on second.
Quotes from Rollins on the jeers following the pop-up via Brookover:
"I could really care less, actually," Rollins said after the Phillies' 4-3 loss to the Dodgers pushed the team's record back to .500. "I was two millimeters away from enjoyment. I could really care less what they're doing. It doesn't bother me at all."
"When you come from a family that talks trash . . . you stay to the grind," Rollins said, recalling the days when his mother Gigi taunted him in competition. "I get it from her. It's psychological warfare from the beginning before anything happens.
"Now, she has you thinking. The more you think, the more pressure you're naturally going to put on yourself because you want to prove her wrong. OK, Gigi, do your thing? I used to practice in my room with my brother, so I've mastered psychological warfare."
Rollins also points out how he's faced criticism going all the way back to 2001 in regard to his plate approach and how he's proved doubters wrong in the past:
"I also heard we couldn't win a championship with me batting leadoff, and obviously that wasn't true, so who cares? It comes with the territory."
We should also mention how he smacked a triple in his next AB and, indeed, the couple millimeters difference did bring enjoyment to the crowd.
Heading back to the bit about his mother for a moment, this is the same woman who told her son she wanted him to raise his batting average as a Mother's Day present earlier this season. Of course, Jimmy just hit a home run for her instead.