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Friday, February 23, 2007

Much Ado About Nothing

When Jimmy Rollins’ comments that the Phillies are the “team to beat” in the NL East are the biggest story in Philly sports for the week in February, things are pretty damn slow. Should he have said it? Will it heighten the rivalry with the Mets? What was the reaction of Billy Wagner? Will this make Rollins the leader in the clubhouse?

It’s enough to make you want to tailgate the Soul’s training camp.

The fact that Rollins said it is completely meaningless except to the media. If the Phils get off to a slow start, the media will bring it up. If the Phils get out of the gate hot, the media will bring it up.

If something he said is what makes Rollins a leader for this team, that’s just sad. If he becomes some sort of veteran leader in the dugout, fine. But Rollins is a secondary player at this point, behind Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. He’s a decent leadoff hitter, but could be better if he learned to take pitches, and is certainly solid at shortstop.

Yet, the fact is that if the Phillies had to choose between Rollins, Howard, or Utley, having a bad year, Rollins would be the obvious choice. Certainly a bad year from Rollins would hurt, but a bad year from Utley or especially Howard would be devastating. The season would be lost.

It would mean another season without baseball in October. And what Rollins said in February will be completely irrelevant.

Week-in-Review:
· Adam Caplan reported earlier today on Daily News Live that the NFL has handed out almost as many press credentials for the combine as they did for the AFC Championship. At least Philadelphia’s not the only city that is apparently desperate for sports news.
· OK, I missed this one last week, but bravo to ESPN for firing Michael Irvin. Now, if they’d just send the self-important Chris Berman and Tom Jackson out the door behind him, NFL Countdown might be watchable.
· I caught more of Mike Missanelli as Stephen A. Smith’s sidekick. I’ll give him credit for being more of an equal to Smith than I thought, but I can’t fathom why he’s in New York (except for a job is a job). The ESPN Radio moniker is a misnomer; with the spat between Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter dominating the conversation the day I listened, it’s just local New York radio. Unless there are contractual reasons, Missanelli should’ve gotten the red carpet treatment to go to WPEN. Although, Jody MacDonald is doing weekends in New York, so maybe WPEN sports format isn’t going to last.

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