Well, myself and a couple other reporters just got through with a 12-minute conversation with Jimmy Rollins in which the MVP shortstop expanded on the now infamous remarks he made on the "Best Damn Sports Show Period" on Fox Sports Net.
Essentially, his point boils down to this: Athletes are human. And even though you think they should stand there and take booing because they make a lot of money, it doesn't work that way. They hear it, and they feel it, and it can affect them negatively. He said he expects to be booed when he deserves it. But in his opinion, Philly sports fans often take it to an extreme. For example, he pointed out the fans' treatment of Tom Gordon this season, and their booing of Ryan Howard.
Here's the complete transcript in its entirety:
Q: Explain the front runner comment.
A: Do they come to the games? That wasn't the aspect I was talking about. They always say they are passionate to a fault. That's not the aspect I was talking about ... For example, when I went down, [Eric] Bruntlett came in and played. He got booed his first time out there because he made one error in New York. And then they are on his side after he comes through and gets some big hits. You should be there from Day One, because he is the guy who is going to be in there for 25 games. He is going to need your energy the same way when I'm out there I need it to keep going. There are some days you really sit back and say. 'Boy, these fans are really behind us' and you can feel it and it can get you going. Or, it's 'Dang, they just booed him, and I'm coming up next.' It kind of just bounces down through the team person to person to person to person."
Q: Do they forget ballplayers are human?
A: "I don't know if they forget. A lot of times fans world wide in general, they say well you are making all this money, you are supposed to (take it). Or I paid to come to the game so I can let you know anything and say anything I want. Well I don't, but (other players) have kids, I've got a wife, I've got mom and dad. Before I was a ballplayer I was a person and I am a person the same way you are. So you say something as a person, forget the uniform, as a person I could say something back. But because of the uniform, I can say anything I want to you, and that's your armor, that's your shield. It's just not true. Not at all."
Q: On booing Tom Gordon. . .
A: Man, they jumped all over him. That's why I'm running up to him (when he comes out of the bullpen) like, Come on. Because I'm trying to reinforce that we need him. I understand what's going on out there, but we need you out here, dog. Put that out your mind. And it's hard, because your human, and you hear it, and you throw a ball and it gets louder.
Q: On booing on the road. . .
A: If they want to boo us as the visting team, keeping giving me some boos. But at home, give us some home field advantage.
Q: On how his "Front-runner" comment was mis-interpreted
A: That's exactly where when I say it, that's when I look at. . .I think they are talking about the attendancea nd the support. No. I have never once said that. Anytime I've mentioned the fans, I've never once said that. Anytime I've mentioned the fans, I've never said taht part of it. But the way you put it, Opening Day introductions. They did that to Schoenweis in New York. It's just like, are you serious?
Q: Is Rollins happy in Philly?
A: Happy? I've never not been happy. My mission and my goal is to win a championship. It has nothing to do wtih happiness, nothing to do with love. That has nothing to do with it. We're talking about getting us to play better. Getting you to support better. That's their goal and I think sometimes they feel by getting on you, they can help change the outcome. Negative energy doesn't produce anything positive.
Q: Mind if you get booed?
A: As long as they don't boo the other guys, I don't care. It's not me, it's booing the guy who is out there working hard and busting his butt. THat's when I really get upset. I've always said that. Whatever you want to do against me, I can deal with myself. And I'm sure he could deal with it too. But that's my teammate. I know the work he is putting in, I see what he is doing trying to get better, and you are crushing him. That's what makes me upset.
Q: Some fans say they are entitled to boo because the Phillies have won just one championship in 100 years. . .
A: I've been around eight (years). In the eight years, we've been getting closer and closer. Last year we finally got over one obstacle and we are still working to get over another one. And it's our fault as players for saying, well we understand why, because of this. You know what, let them get over it. You weren't even born yet. Some of you were just born in 1980. That's like saying, well the Oakland A's haven't won since 90-something, and I was an A's fan growing up. If we're not in it, that's still my hoemtown team. I never want them to win as long as I'm playing, don't get me wrong, but take the team that you have and push them to be better. Don't take Black Friday - I just found that out - don't take Black Friday and put it on these new guys. Half of them don't even know it. I didn't know it until 15 minutes ago, 20 minutes ago. Black Friday, I was like, is that like Palm Sunday? You know about the history of the team, don't get me wrong, but when you are there, you are trying to change that for that time period. My tenure here, were we successful? That's all you can control.
Q: Some Philadelphia fans will read this and say you are full of crap. Do you care?
A: Not really. My job is to go out there and play baseball to win. And if you are doing that, they care. He might be full of (crap) but he wins. He's helping us win. And that's what really matters. Of course you want them to like you as a person, but you can't control what everybody thinks.
Q: You've always had a good relationship with the fans and are one of the more autograph-friendly players in spring training. . .
A: Like I said, that has nothing to do with love. If you can't be real, then you don't have a relationship. If they weren't passionate about the team, and I wasn't passionate about these guys in here, it wouldn't even matter. If I didn't care how they supported us or didn't support us it wouldn't matter. And it's true. Were there games we should have been booed? Hell yeah, and they booed the hell out of us, I admit. I'm in the dugout like, oooh, alright. But there are sometimes, like when they are announcing a guys name and he is booed before he has a chance to do something good. . .
--end of interview--
Earlier, Rollins returned to Best Damn Sports Show Period to talk about his comments made yesterday about the Philadelphia fans ... Rollins was interviewed by phone by hosts Chris Rose and John Salley. Here is a transcript of the interview, sent by Fox Sports Net.
Asked if he was surprised about the fans’ reaction:
“Actually, very surprised. People take things and use them in whichever way they use, but yeah, I’m definitely surprised….I don’t know who called in and who did what. It’s just one of those things. The way, I guess, what front runner means and the way I think about it is completely different from, yes, than what they’re using it… Like I said, they’re on your side – they’re demanding fans, everybody knows that. When you’re doing good, they’re on your side. When you’re not doing good, they’re going to let you know – ‘We expect better. We want better. And we want it now.’ And I think they feel that by doing that, they can influence the way you play. But when you’re giving off that negative energy, it really doesn’t.
“And I think that maybe they’re like, ‘We don’t show up,’ which is what I guess front runner means – they’re only on your side when you’re winning. No, we get 45,000 fans every night. They scream, they cheer and they want a winner. There’s no doubt about that. But, as passionate as they are about us going out there and winning and playing well, that’s the same passion I feel about them giving us support. Don’t get on us when we’re down this time of the year, come out and support us.
“There are definitely games, don’t get me wrong, where I’m like, ‘Damn, you know, we are getting booed and we need to get booed because we’re not doing well.’ But there are a lot of times where it makes it harder to play at home when they’re against you – or it feels like they’re against you. They’re never really against you, but it feels like they’re against you – they’re venting against you and it doesn’t help. So, like I said, they show up. You asked about the West Coast, I’m from Oakland, I’m like, ‘They don’t show up.’ That has nothing to do with it.
“The whole thing was, look, here we are in the playoffs, we’re at home, we’re in first place. There’s really nothing to boo about. We’re not going to win every game. As long as we win by one when it comes down to the finish. But, go out there and support us. When Carlos Ruiz comes up to the plate, don’t boo him because you want (Chris) Coste in the game. This man has a job to do today. Encourage him to do his job to the best of his abilities.”
Asked if he wanted to take any of his original comments back:
“The term front runner and what it actually means and to what I was using it, what was going through my mind, they weren’t accurate. Front runners is like people who only show up when you’re winning. Hey, we’re going to cheer you if you win. That’s not it about Philly fans. They’re passionate. They show up – like I said, 45,000. We’ve got like 42 sellouts. They announce it everynight. That’s not what I meant. Like I said, it’s the fact that here we are at this point of the year, come out and be supportive. Don’t necessarily get on us. We can use that positve energy. And you know that positive energy can lift you, that negative energy can bring you down.”
On what he expects the reation to him will be when he gets back to Philly:
“Who knows? Who knows? We’re trying to win games. All we look for is support. If they want to boo me, that’s fine. That’s fine. It’s not going to effect me from doing my job. My job is to go out there and try to win ballgames and I’m going to do that my best.”