Philadelphia sports talk radio station 97.5 The Fanatic put up the above message on their city-wide electronic billboards this morning. The message is in reference to Jimmy Rollins, Philadelphia's starting shortstop for the last decade, and his perceived lack of hustle on a ground ball in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 9-2 blowout loss to the Marlins. At the time of the ground out, the Phillies trailed the game 2-1, but tied the game at two that inning before the Marlins took the lead in the bottom of the sixth, and the floodgates opened against a pathetic Phillies bullpen in the eighth.
I need to question why the focus a day later is on Rollins not running out a ground ball as opposed to the litany of problems that have plagued the Phllies this year. The team is nine games under .500, 18.5 games out in the NL East (which they've won five straight years), and ten games back of the final wild card spot in the National League. Getting angry about the effort of Rollins on one play is absolutely ridiculous. The Jimmy Rollins that is lazy and doesn't care is the same Jimmy Rollins who provided the team's only offense in a 1-0 win in Miami on Tuesday, leading off the game with a homer. It's the same Jimmy Rollins that leads the Phillies active roster with 14 homers. It's the same Jimmy Rollins that is second on the active roster with 18 stolen bases.
Hell, this is the same Jimmy Rollins that moronic Phillies GM Ruben Amaro handed a three year, $33 million contract this offseason. If jaded Phillies fans want to be pissed at anyone for the disastrous season their team is having, be pissed at Amaro, who is throwing money around like he's playing Monopoly. Hell, be pissed at Amaro for having Freddy Galvis, Ty Wigginton, and a broken down Jim Thome as his backup plans for the injured Chase Utley and Ryan Howard coming into the year. Be pissed at Howard for his decline of fitness that led to a torn Achilles last October that caused him to miss the first three months of this season. Be pissed at the dreadful Phillies bullpen that managed to allow six runs in just one inning yesterday that turned a pitchers duel into a blowout. Be pissed at Charlie Manuel for managing in such terrible fashion this year and costing the team multiple wins with his ineptitude.
But you know who Phillies fans *shouldn't* be pissed at, especially for a paper-thin reason like "lack of hustle"? Jimmy Rollins, who has been one of the best shortstops in baseball over his career, the best shortstop in Phillies history, and hell, one of the best players in Phillies history. Throwing him under the bus with a flimsy excuse like "he didn't hustle" is why the mainstream fan has a sour opinion of the fanbase. I know full well that there are so many smart, passionate, knowledgable Phillies fans out there, and I know those fans saying a negative word about Rollins today. It's that vocal part of the fanbase that loves to scream their opinion with no facts behind it on blogs and talk radio that gives the entirety of the city a black eye a bad name.