Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jimmy Rollins Front and Center In The Sunday New York Times

jimmy rollins congratulates his teammatesGreat piece on J-Roll and his mom in the Sunday Times.
Anyone wondering where he got his charisma, confidence and mouth need look no further than Gigi Rollins of Alameda, Calif., middle infielder for the Allen Temple Baptist Church women’s fast-pitch softball team, now retired. She dazzled with the glove. Burned around the bases. It was at her spiked feet that young Jimmy learned both the game and the verve with which he plays it; baseball might cherish the image of fathers playing catch with sons, but Rollins owes everything to his mother.

As far as she’s concerned.

“I was a five-tool player,” Gigi Rollins said during a phone interview last week. “It’s the truth; I did it all.” As for her reluctant admission of Jimmy’s superiority, she added this codicil, “If we were in the same era, and I was still playing, then I would give him a run for his money.”

Rollins has plenty of that these days, having established himself as one of the most talented and exciting players in baseball — and the itching powder in Mets fans’ pajamas. He was the primary cause of the Mets’ demoralizing collapse last year, when he hit and ran and yapped the Phillies to seven straight stretch-drive victories over the Mets. As if to reassert his importance for 2008, Rollins led the Phillies to a comeback win Tuesday in the Mets’ home opener, before missing most of the next two games with a sprained ankle. The Mets won those games, but remain fully aware that they have not beaten a healthy Rollins since last June.

Although he could probably fit in one David Ortiz pants leg, Rollins has become the National League’s Little Papi, a fantastic clutch performer who remains likable even to those he irks. Rollins talks without trashing, and pops without popping off. Ever since his rookie year of 2001 he has honed and showcased what he has long dubbed “the Jimmy style,” a sublime mix of electricity and undulating cool.
Word, Jimmy. But let's get you back in the starting lineup, like, stat.

Related:
For Philadelphia’s Rollins, a Game of Maternal Instinct [ New York Times ]

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