Knowing when to be a gracious runner-upBy
Jimmy Rollins is not known for keeping his mouth in check. He has spent the past few seasons antagonizing Mets fans in Spring Training by proclaiming the Phillies better than the Mets and the team to beat in the NL East. With the Mets’ injury-inspired fade this year, Rollins was right, and he didn’t let discretion get the better part of him for the World Series.
In fact, prior to the Series, Rollins let his mouth do the talking again. Considering how he hit this Fall Classic, his mouth, in fact, was the only thing doing much talking. “Of course we’re going to win,” Rollins said before the Series started. “If we’re nice, we’ll let it go six. But I’m thinking five, close it out at home.”
Three games into it, and Rollins’ prediction couldn’t come true. After losing Game 1, the Yanks had beaten the Phillies in three straight, and in Rollins’ original clincher, the Phillies had to fight to force Game 6. After the Yankees won last night, Rollins was the only member of the team who managed to make their World Series loss about the Phillies.
“They were the better team this series,” Rollins said after the game. “Do I think we’re the better team? I really do. They just executed. I think we weren’t playing bad, but they were playing that much better. They got the hits, we didn’t. It’s that simple.”
Other Phillies acknowledged the Yankees’ run to a title. “We got beat,” Ryan Howard said. “They were the better team. They outplayed us. You have to tip your hat to them.”
Manager Charlie Manuel praised the Yanks as well. “We just didn’t play as good as we can, but at the same time, we also played a real good team who did a good job, and they’ve had a great season,” he said. “They definitely deserved to win.”
Since Game 2 of the ALDS, when David Robertson pitched out of a bases loaded, no out situation without allowing the run, the Yankees had that championship feel to them. They beat back a pesky Angels’ team and beat a very good Phillies team. After seven months and 114 wins, the Yankees are on top.
I can understand Rollins’ frustration. The Phillies out-hit the Yanks in this World Series, thanks to Chase Utley and Jayson Werth, but the rest of the team didn’t really show up. Rollins, the lead-off hitter, scored just three runs, and Ryan Howard struck out 13 times. His sixth-inning home run last night came too late to save the Phillies.
But Rollins, one of the game’s better ambassadors, should know when to tip his cap to the other team. I understand team pride; I understand riling up the fan base. But I also understand that the Yankees, a better team than the Phillies, won. After the beanings this week, the bad blood will flow between the Yankees and the Phillies in Spring Training. Maybe Jimmy Rollins should save the trash talking for then.