On August 30st, the Phillies, after taking 4 in a row from the Reds and Nationals,were on a roll. They had built some momentum, and headed into a three game series against the Mets, who had won just 4 of their last 12, two of which came against the Astros. The Phillies lost the first two games, and barely won the third. In the sixth inning of that game, Jimmy Rollins was benched after not running out a pop up and a baserunning blunder.
We all know what happened in the media. Jimmy apologized, played the next day, and over the next 13 games, the phillies would go 10-3, and somehow find themselves in the thick of a pennant chase.
And Jimmy Rollins has been the key to this offensively. he's put up a .996 OPS with 4 HRs, 3 of which were game deciding HR's. All in crucial wins. We all know that Jimmy was criticized by Charlie in mid august as well, and prior to the Atlanta series, going back to that first incident, Jimmy had been hitting at .227/.290/.356 clip with 1 HR.
Now, I'm not gonna speculate that there's a scientific or rational correlation to any of this. I don't agree with the JStroll crowd, I'm merely pointing out the fact that since the incident, the team is playing the best baseball of the season, and J Roll is hitting better and these guys are having a hell of a good time.
And so are we.
And I think it has a lot to do with this conversation that happened in private, that we fans are rarely privy to.
The conversation, as I envision it happening.
After the Jump.
Interior: Charlie's office. Thursday August 30th. Post game. Charlie sits behind his desk, and Jimmy Rollins enters.
Jimmy: Look, Skip, I just wanna say...
Charlie: Just shut up for second and let me talk, then you get'cher chance. Like, thing is man, like, c'mon Jim!
Jimmy: I know Skip, but...
Charlie: See, no buts, man, Like, we been on a roll man, and like, I don't care what the hell the the standings say, odds, and like, whatever, we're gonna play like we're in this till we ain't no more, and then we're still gonna play like we're in it. You think you're playing like that?
Jimmy: No sir.
Charlie: Remember 2007?
Charlie: Where's that Jimmy Rollins? huh? That's the god damn Jimmy Rollins I wanna see for the rest of the way man. And you know what? that Jimmy Rollins wins ballgames. Not the one dreamin bout some candyass coconut drink. You unnerstand me?
Jimmy: I gotcha Skip.
Charlie: look me eyeball to eyeball Jimmy. YOU UNNERSTAND ME?
Jimmy: Yes Sir.
Charlie: Now I got a question for you. Why you think I pulled you?
Jimmy: Cause I didn't run out that pop up.
Charlie: I don't give a shit bout the pop up man. Lemme ask you something. Forget about hustle. Forget about playing hard. I known you a long time Jimmy, I know you play hard. What I wanna know is if you're playing to win.
Charlie: Look in yer gut and tell me yer playing to win. Every play. Every day. Every game. You gettin me son?
Jimmy slouches a bit in his chair and it hits him.
Charlie: I know you ain't a quitter man, but you playin like one. Yer thinkin' bout where you gonna go in October, man. How bout the World Series? How bout you and me, we go to the damn world series?
Jimmy; Heh. That'd be nice.
Charlie: Improbable and mipossible ain't the same damn thing Jimmy. But man, like, you play like its over, it rubs off. I gotta do the same to all you guys, man. Dammnit, you pissing me off Jimmy! Bad. Cause when I see you half ass it, it means I think you given up. You are the man Jimmy. Everything we do hinges on you. You play hard, like, it makes everyone else play hard around you. You the spark. You. You set, like the tone man.
Jimmy: Hell yeah.
Charlie: So set the god damn tone. I don't know about you but losing sucks. I ain't going down like that, and we got a chance still. Anything can happen Jimmy, you know that. You ain't seeing it, but I'm telling you they coming back to us man. just like 2007.
Charlie: Now I wan't you to go out and tell these guys that. Apologize to your teammates. Then remind em about 2007. and god damn it I ain't losing to Atlanta tomorrow. You wanna lose to Atlanta?
Charlie: Jimmy, I can't win without you, but I can lose just as easy whether you're in or your out. You in or out?
Jimmy: I'm in skip.
Charlie: Good. we good?
Jimmy: We good.
Interior: Visitors clubhouse. August 31st. Music is playing, Jimmy Rollins stands up walks to the stereo and shuts it off.
Jimmy: Hey ya'll listen up now.
Everyone gathers around.
Jimmy: Look, first off, I wanna apologize for yesterday. Past is past, all that, shit ain't gonna happen again, me and Charlie we square. Dig?
Chooch: Wee Deeg Chimmy.
Jimmy: Now listen up I got something to say.
Long Pause. Jimmy shakes his head, and grits his teeth. He paces around for a second, picks up a bat, and starts to twist it in his hands... wringing it, squeezing it. finally he speaks.
Jimmy: These m*&^%$#@&*rs have owned us this year! OWNED US! No more. I mean seriously, we the god damn Atlanta braves bitches? I don't know bout ya'll, but I ain't nobodys bitch. Chase? You Chippers Bitch?
Utley: Fuck No.
Jimmy: Cliff, you McCann's Bitch?
Jimmy. That means no! Piece? You a bitch, Piece?
Howard: (makes a smirky face) Hell no.
Jimmy: (throws the bat and almost hits Martinez square in the face. he ducks just in the nick of time). Then why we playing like a bunch of bitches?? Shit! We just swept the motherfucking Nationals, and they say they the best team. Fuck that shit. We the best team. Chase, you think the Nationals the best team?
Chase: Fuck no.
Howard: Hell No!
Jimmy: Who the best team Chase?
Chase: Philadelphia Phucking Phillies!
Jimmy: Damn straight!
Jimmy: This shit sucks boys.Whole damn season done sucked. But season ain't over yet. F&*K THIS S*&T, know what I'm saying? F&^k this S*&T! Chase? you remember 2007?
Chase: F*&K yes I do.
Howard; Hell Yeah.
Jimmy: 7 down, 17 left. last I checked we got twice that many games, and we ain't 14 back. Doc, you got this shit?
Halladay just stares.
Jimmy: (smiles) Thats a motherfucking yes right there.
Chase: Fuck this shit!
Jimmy: Charlie, what you gotta say?
Charlie: I say Wrassle em boys. Wrassle em all till they bleed from, like their foreheads, then jump on that there top turnbuckle and slam your god damn elbow into their solar plexus 1-2 mother F&^%*(G 3!!
Jimmy: You heard the man, lets get us some!
Cue Montage music.
Call me a romantic, tell me I'm wrong. Hell, I probably am, but it sure as hell fits the story. Criticize Charlie Manuel all you want. He's had some suspect (and I'm being nice here) on field decisions, but we can't gauge his off the field worth to this team. I don't believe for a second that Jimmy's benching had zero effect on him. It's impossible. He's a human being. It had to affect him. And the results over the past two weeks tell me that it was a positive one, and it rubbed off.
F*&K this S*&T. Lets go win another one.