Monday, August 18, 2008

Jimmy Cracks Wise, and We All Care

Jimmy Rollins appeared on the Best Damn Sports Show Period last week, and made some comments that have, to say the least, poked the hornet's nest of Philly sports with a big old tree branch.

"They're frontrunners. When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad, they're completely against you." (You can watch the whole clip here as well as his follow-up comments following the Phuror.)

It's much too easy to make this a black-and-white issue, either by saying Jimmy's exactly right, or by allowing yourself to be angry and outraged. There's a whole lot going on here, and it's certainly much more gray than you think.

On the one hand, my initial reaction was more in line with the second option listed above, something to the effect of: "Frontrunners?!? Doesn't that require consistently winning teams? Didn't you read my entry from a couple of weeks ago?

You wanna hear the end of the boos, Jimmy? Why don't you remember how to hit like you did last season? Where did that guy go? Also, while you're at it, could you teach the rest of the guys something we all learned in Little League called protecting the plate with two strikes??? I may not be a ballplayer, Jimmy, but I do know one thing: it's statistically impossible to get a hit if you don't swing the bat. "

John Salley, co-host of Best Damn, was exactly right. "That's called family." Philly fans are the most loyal--spending time, money, energy, and a lot of tears following our beloved teams. When an entire lineup shuts down production, it is so natural to say, "Hey, we show up. We do our jobs as fans--loving, supporting, rooting unconditionally. Time to do your job. Time to show up." Philly fans don't leave early, they stay and let you have it, if you deserve it. Anyone remember that Monday Night Football game a couple of years ago when Seattle was up like halftime? People stayed. And they booed. Cause you know what? That's part of the job of the fan, to let them have it when they deserve it.

On the other hand, Jimmy's frustrated, and who can blame him? He may not have chosen his words so wisely, and he tried to clarify his meaning in his follow-up statement. But he was trying to express something else, something we all forget, all too often.

Jimmy was trying to say, "Hey, we're people too. You think you're frustrated as fans? You can't even imagine how frustrated we are in this dugout, in this locker room. And when you get on our case and boo like crazy and tell us to show up, that doesn't help. All it does is increases the negative energy, something we're trying desperately to shake. Don't kick us when we're down. Try to reach down and help pick us up."

Hey man, we're all in this together.