Since the beginning of the rebuilding process last year, when the Sixers released Andrew Bynum and traded for Jrue Holliday, it has been widely anticipated that the Sixers will do whatever they can to land Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. To many, this seemed like the obvious solution, bring in a potential superstar and have them carry the team on their back. However, there is a long list of problems with this solution. The first issue is that in order to land either of these players, the Sixers would most likely have to trade their two first-round picks and possibly Thaddeus Young. This trade would result in the loss of three potential starters in exchange fore a single player. Also, by losing Young, the Sixers are giving away their only true veteran who has been with the team through the good and bad, and will be a mentor to the many young players on their roster. The second reason why the Sixers do not need Jabari or Wiggins is that if they draft either of them, they will only be able to fill up one spot in their starting line-up. Drafting Wiggins or Parker would cost them their two picks and would result in the Sixers still missing a quality shooting–guard. However, if the Sixers stick with their current picks, they will be able to lock up the shooting-guard of their future with Dante Exum at the third pick. Exum will also help the Sixers with shooting, a category in which they struggled greatly last year. Additionally, they will be able to lock up the small-forward of their future with the athletic Aaron Gordon, whose athleticism will fit into the Sixers up-tempo pace.
When Jimmy Rollins was drafted in the second round of the 1996 amateur draft, many scouts thought he was too small and his swing was not good enough to lift him to the big league level. Critics everywhere bashed Rollins for his lack of hustle and high rates of pop-ups on the first pitch of his at-bats. Yet, as he has for the past fifteen years, Jimmy Rollins proved his critics wrong by reaching the 2,335 hit mark, surpassing Mike Schmidt with the most hits in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies franchise.
Rollins achieved the feat with a line drive single off of Edwin Jackson in the bottom of the fifth inning in today’s Phillies/Cubs game. The game was paused as Rollins was first greeted by Mike Schmidt himself and then a mob of his current Phillies’ teammates. Phillies’ fans in Citizens Bank Park gave their shortstop a standing ovation as public address announcer Dan Baker said with a bang: “The Phillies all-time hits leader, number eleven, Jimmy Rollins.”
Although Rollins does have the city of Philadelphia behind him, throughout his career he has been under-appreciated as a player by all of baseball and by Phillies’ fans themselves even though he has been their shortstop for fifteen seasons. The amounted frustration from Phillies’ fans when Rollins would pop-up a first pitch fastball, or when he simply did not run out a ground ball hit to the second baseman, would rise above the loads of positive actions Rollins has done on the field.
That line drive single, one of 2,335 other Rollins’ hits, will be the slap in the face to all of those who have criticized and under-appreciated Rollins for what he has not done, rather than appreciating what he has done. After four Gold Gloves, 435 stolen bases, a Silver Slugger, a MVP award, and now with the most hits in the Philadelphia Phillies franchise, Jimmy Rollins silences those who said his swing was not good enough and that he would only make it with a position change. When you become the all-time hits leader in your franchise, and surpass Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt to achieve that feat, no critic or baseball scout can take that away from you. Hats off to you Jimmy, you deserve it.