It was just another case of Jimmy being Jimmy, but after a disappointing season finally came to an end for the Phillies this week, shortstop Jimmy Rollins left some parting words for the new division champion Washington Nationals. When asked what he thought of the team that unseated them on their NL East throne, Rollins responded, “They are good, they’re a talented team. It’s all come together for them and that’s great for the.” Then Rollins added, “With us healthy, they are a second place team.”
Those are strong words coming from the spokesperson for a team that just finished the season 81-81 and did not make the postseason after being divisional favorites. However, Rollins is known to say what is on his mind, and if he really believes it, why not say it? There was a clear improvement for the Phillies in the second half of the season once Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Roy Halladay came back from injuries, so many may say Rollins has a clear case. Rollins even backed up his statement by saying, “I think that’s a fact. We were 14 games under .500 and we got our lineup back, for the most part, and we played 14 games over .500 after that. That’s a positive sign. We just got so far back that 14 over only got us to .500.”
On the other hand, you cannot discount what the Nationals have done this season. They finished on top of not only the NL East but they also finished first in the entire National League. I am sure this comment will ruffle feathers in the Nats clubhouse and most likely will add some fuel to the fire of this growing rivalry. No matter what Rollins believes, the simple fact is the Washington Nationals are the team to beat in the NL East next year. There is no way around it.
Jimmy’s statements could be rhetoric from a veteran who can’t let go of the glory of the past or it could be truth that will be proved in 2013. Either way, it is fun for the rivalry and fun for the game of baseball.
It may inspire the Nats to beat the Phils even more, but also it may inspire the Phils to want to prove Rollins right. A lot can come from this last parting shot by Rollins. Too bad there’s no chance to have them play it out on the field before next year. The postseason now belongs to the Nationals, and if they manage to bring back a World Series title, this division will get even more exciting.