J-Roll Speaks

(Ron Cortes / Inquirer)

Jimmy Rollins made a return appearance tonight on Best Damn Sports Show Period to clarify his remarks that Phillies fans are frontrunners. Phillies beat writers grabbed Rollins in the visitor's clubhouse at Dodger Stadium a short time later. Here's what he said:

Q: You said you mean "frontrunners" differently than how Phillies fans mean it. Explain.
A: Do they come to the games? That wasn't the aspect I was talking about. They always say they're passionate to a fault. That's not the aspect I was talking about. When we're on the field ... for example, I went down. (Eric) Bruntlett came in and played. He got booed his first time out there because he made an error in New York. And then they're on his side after he comes through and gets some big hits. You should be there from day one because he's 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, 'Boy, these fans are really behind us,' and you can feel it. It can get you going. Or, 'Man, dang, they just booed him and I'm coming up next. I guess I better get a hit.' It just kind of bounces down through the team, person to person to person. Like I used (Carlos) Ruiz, for example. You're booing him because you want (Chris) Coste to play. This man has a job to do. He might go out there and do well because you're giving him good energy. But batting eighth, he's coming in the third inning and you hear, 'Carlos ...' and they're booing before he gets to the plate. That's tough to go up there. One, it's already hard enough to hit and play ball. Then you're like, man, these people don't even want me out there. That's the aspect I was talking about.

Q: Do you think sometimes fans forget that you're human?
A: Yeah, they do a lot. I don't know if they forget, but a lot of times fans worldwide -- this is in general -- they say, you're making all this money you're supposed to (take it). I paid to come to the game so I can let you know anything and say anything I want to. I don't but, I've got kids. I've got a wife, I've got a mom and dad. Before I was a ballplayer, I was a person and still am a person. The same way you are. So if you say something as a person, forget the uniform, as a person I can say something back. But because of the uniform it's like 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: Are you happy in Philadelphia?
A: Yeah, I've never not been happy. My mission and my goal is to win a championship. That's what I set out to do. That has nothing to do with happiness. That has 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 they feel sometimes that by getting on you they can help change the outcome. Negative energy doesn't produce anything positive. That's just the truth.

Q: Mike Schmidt years ago took some shots at Phillies fans and ran onto the field with a wig to help diffuse fan reaction. Are you going to wear a wig Tuesday in Philly?
A: Give me some chops. I'll be like Bake (McBride).

Q: What kind of reaction do you think you'll get Tuesday?
A: As long as they don't boo the other guys, I don't care.

Q: You've never seemed to be bothered by boos?
A: It's not me. It's booing the guy that's out there working hard, busting his butt. That's when I really get upset. I've always said that. Whatever they want to do against me, I can deal with myself. I'm sure he can, too. But that's my teammate. I know the work he's putting in. I see what he's trying to do to get better. And you're crushing him. That's what makes me upset.

Q: But what can you do?
A: Just be yourself. You tell the truth. They have their perspective and I have my perspective. I'm entitled to that. That's America.

Q: When Phillies fans say, 'We've won just one championship in 125 years. You haven't been around for all the bad years ..."
A: I've been around eight. In eight years we've been getting closer and closer. Last year we finally got over one obstacle. We're still working to get over another one. It's our fault as players for saying we understand why because of this. You know what? Let that go. You weren't even born then. Some of you were just born in '80. That's like me saying the Oakland A's haven't won since '90-something. And I was an A's fan growing up. I still look at them, if were not in it, that's still my hometown team. I never want them to win as long as I'm playing, don't get me wrong, but take what you have, take the team that you have, and push them to do better. Don't take Black Friday and put that on these new guys. Some of them don't even know. I didn't even know until about 15 minutes ago. Maybe 20 minutes ago. I'm like Black Friday? Is that like Palm (Sunday)? You know about the history of the team, don't get me wrong. But your job when you're there, you're trying to change that for that time period. My tenure here, were we successful? And that's all can control.

Q: So you know there's still a chance that people will still read what you say and say you're full of (crap). Do you care?
A: No, not really. My job is to play baseball and go out there and win. If you're doing that, they might say, '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. There's no doubt about that. But you can't control what everybody thinks. Not everybody is going to think it. Some people are. I could have said nothing and they still would have thought I was full of (crap).

Q: Do you like the interaction with the fans?
A: Yeah, but 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 then it wouldn't even matter. If I didn't care how they supported us or didn't support us then it wouldn't even matter. It's true. Are there games we should have been booed? Hell, yeah. They've booed the hell out of us. There are some times they're announcing the guy's name and they boo before he has a chance to do something good.