Ron Costello

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Goodbye Dear Friend - We'll See You Soon

Let's bow our heads for a moment of silence.

Yesterday, the Phillies got younger.

Our beloved J-Roll was dealt to the Dodgers for two younger (23) minor league pitchers.

Yesterday, Junior opened a new era in Philadelphia. What he does in the coming months will determine the future of the Phillies in 2015 and beyond. But one thing is certain, he can't stop here.

Rumors are swirling around the Internet that a second trade with the Dodgers is forthcoming, involving Hamels and Chase Utley, thus, allowing the two  infield compadres — Rollins and Utley —  to form the best double play combination west of the Sierra Nevada. Maybe it's rumor, maybe not.

If not, Hamels and Utley should bring a bevy of talent for a much beleaguered franchise, not to mention its general manager.

But, the Dodgers of all teams! The Bull just got indigestion; Bowa wants to duke out Davey Lopes; Lefty came down with acute constipation. Schmitty called in sick at the golf course.

The Dodgers?

You mean the LA Dodgers? The blue and white uni's team? Black Friday's death march?

Tis true. But let's make one thing clear: Rollins, Hamels, and Utley are now and will  be forever, Philadelphia Phillies. They're just on loan for a few seasons. Like the poor single mom sending her children off to live with the cousins, "They'll be better off there, but we love them so much."

Indeed we do. The faithful loves J-Roll as much as fans in any city can love an athlete.

But here's the thing. In 2015 J-Roll will be in the thick of another post season race. He'll play shortstop and hit and run like we know he will. Like he did for us. We'll check the box scores every day. We'll follow him like we would follow  no other player in — God I hate saying this — a Dodgers' uniform.

In 2015 Philadelphia, a time and space certainly reserved for a NL East bottom dweller, his thunder would go unheard, his glove unappreciated,  and his triples into the corners and flashing speed unrecognized by a half empty — maybe a three-quarters empty —  ball park for a team going nowhere.

But in this twisted world of high paying, long term contracts — Giancarlo Stanton's astonishing $325 million, 13 year deal, and Jon Lester's $155 million six year deal — here are three players — Rollins, Utley, and Hamels —  after they've given so much to the Philadelphia fans, by their mere exit, are giving back again.

They are giving back to the faithful — a baseball future, for this City of Brotherly Love.

And when he revisits, when J-Roll returns to the homeland on the night of August 4; when Dan Baker clears his throat and dabs his eyes with his hankie — pleading with himself not to break up — he will bellow: "Now batting for the Dodgers, number 11, SHORTSTOP....JIMMMMMY ROOOLLLLINS.

Indeed, the Phillies just got younger, but we all just got a little older.

Au revior, Jimmy Rollins.



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