Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies talks at a press conference after being benched for being late to Shea Stadium.
Reporter: "Could you be clear about your batting practicing habits since we didn’t see you at batting practice that game at Shea?"
Rollins: "Hold on one sec - I'm ordering a wake-up call for tomorrow.
OK, If Coach tells you that I missed practice, then that's that. I may have missed one practice this year but if somebody says he missed one practice of all the practices this year, then that's enough to get a whole lot started. I told Coach Manuel that you don't have to give the people of Philadelphia a reason to think about trading me or anything like that. If you trade somebody, you trade them to make the team better...simple as that. I'm cool with that. I'm all about that. The people in Philadelphia deserve to have a winner. It's simple as that. It goes further than that.
Reporter: "So you and coach Manuel got caught up on Saturday about batting practice?"
Rollins: "If I can't take batting practice, I can't take batting practice. It is as simple as that. It ain't about that at all. It's easy to sum it up if you're just talking about batting practice. We're sitting here, and I'm supposed to be the franchise player, and we're talking about batting practice. I mean listen, we're sitting here talking about batting practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we're talking about batting practice. Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game last it's my last, well most of the time – sometimes I don’t hustle, but we're talking about batting practice man. How silly is that? I mean the damn Phanatic is always late and he's like the MVP of mascots, ain't he? Why coach don't bench him?
Now I know that I'm supposed to lead by example and all that but I'm not shoving that aside like it don't mean anything. I know it's important, I honestly do but we're talking about batting practice. We're talking about batting practice man. (laughter from the media crowd) We're talking about batting practice. We're talking about batting practice. We're not talking about the game. We're talking about batting practice. When you come to the stadium, and you see me play, you've seen me play right, you've seen me give everything I've got, but we're talking about batting practice right now. (more laughter)
Reporter: "But it's an issue that your manager continues to raise?"
Rollins: "Hey I hear you, it's funny to me to, hey it's strange to me too but we're talking about practice man, we're not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we're talking about practice."
Reporter: "Is it possible that if you practiced, not you but you would make your teammates better?"
Rollins: "How in the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?
Reporter: "So they can be used to playing with you."
Rollins: "They should be used to playing with me. Those are my teammates. So my game is going to deteriorate because I'm not taking batting practice with my teammates? Is my game is going to get worse? I'm asking you, is my game going to get worse? So what about my game? Is my game going to get better because other players are hurt on my team, I mean, do that hurt me? Do you think that hurts me? I'm being honest, people are hurt on my team but do that hurt me? Does that hurt me when I go out there and play 48 minutes of a what 3 hour game, does that hurt me as a player? Does that hurt me if this person is hurt or that person is hurt? Do it hurt me if Chase Utley uses the F-word?
Reporter: "You don't need it as much as they do."
Rollins: "What do you mean by I don't need it as much?"
Reporter: "Because you're the superstar"
Rollins: "What do you mean I'm the superstar?"
Reporter: "Because you're better than they are. One of the best in the MLB."
Rollins: "So why are we talking about trade talk or there's a problem with me? No, I'm not obviously I'm not. You're contradicting yourself man. If I'm the superstar, then why is all this happening?" Why does my daughter have to deal with this? Why? I'm the franchise player. Why am I supposed to be having this meeting? Why am I talking to y'all about this?
Reporter: "You said that you and Charlie are on the same page but it does not sound like it?"
Rollins: "We are on the same page. We are. I'm upset because of one reason...we are in here. I lost my best friend, I lost last year (in the playoffs), I feel that everything is going downhill for me as far as my life.
I don't want to deal with this man, I don't want to go through this [expletive] man. This is where I want to be. I love this place, I love my teammates, I don't have any problems with Coach Manuel at all with the hustle stuff – I have some problems with him as far as being on time. Coach Manuel has problems with me as far as getting to games on time...I do not know about this thing with practice because I have not been missing any practices. I was late.
I don't have any problems with Charlie Manuel, this organization at all. I just don't want to go through this. That's my only problem. I don't want to go through this. I don't want to lose and all summer have to go through this right here. Why? I don't feel that it's right. I lost. I lost. I mean me, my coaching staff, my teammates, this organization lost. You don't hear about any one of my teammates going through this. It's me. It's just me. I have to deal with it. And now it ain't about me and Coach Manuel. It's about him. It's about Jimmy Rollins. The balls is in his corner.
I read the article and my friends and people tell me things but it's all on me. I accept it but the [expletive] hurts. But it's not just about me. Yeah I got some [expletive] I need to get better in but everybody does. But you don't talk about everyone else who is late, you just talk about me. And why because I make money?
Reporter: "Because you're the MVP"
Rollins: "What does that mean? I'm the MVP and I have to worry about trade talk. I'm the MVP, the MVP of this league. I mean, the best baseball players in the world, and I was honored with the MVP. The best baseball player in the world...and this is what I have to go through when I lose or don’t show up on time. I can't win them all. I'm human. I am just like you. You might be a little better than me in your eyes or from the people that love you but you're human just like me, right? You are no different. You bleed just like I bleed, you cry just like I cry, you hurt just like I hurt. But I am Jimmy Rollins, I get paid to play basetball.
Reporter: "But that's why you're different because you play ball?"
Rollins: "I'm not different than you. You get paid to talk [expletive] on the microphone, don't you? You get paid to do your job."
Reporter: "You want to trade salaries?"
Thx to http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/news/2002/05/09/iverson_transcript/ for the transcript from that infamous day 6 years ago.
Bob Mantz can be contacted at email@example.com
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