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J-Roll Points to 2007 ‘Team to Beat’ Statement as Franchise Turning Point

Sep 8, 2011, 4:09 PM EDT

Jimmy Rollins recently spoke with Comcast SportsNet about his future with the Phillies organization, but J-Roll didn't just talk about the uncertainty about where exactly he'll be playing shortstop next season, he also reflects back on his amazing run to date in Philadelphia.

Jimmy Rollins recently spoke with Comcast SportsNet about his future with the Phillies organization, but J-Roll didn’t just talk about the uncertainty about where exactly he’ll be playing shortstop next season, he also reflects back on his amazing run to date in Philadelphia.

Phillies scribe John Finger does a real nice job trying to put Jimmy Rollins and his value into words. The entire article is worth a read, but J-Roll’s quotes on the “Team to Beat” moment in 2007 were quite interesting. He believes that famous line helped spark a franchise’s transformation into the class of the National League.

“In short, yeah. Without 2007, without me coming out saying, ‘We’re the
team to beat,’ without all of that, the organization operates the way it
always has — that’s just willing to be competitive and going out there
fielding a team and hoping one day we’ll be good,” Rollins told CSN.
“Since that day there’s no longer a hope. It was, ‘We have to prove it
every single time out here.’ Then fans showed up. With fans came money.
Then players came over. Then better players came over. Then we won the
World Series in between all of that. And this is where we are today. And
it started with that little mustard seed and that little spark. Without
that, I don’t think it would be the same.”

Whether Jimmy is totally accurate here doesn’t really matter. In my opinion, it was not one moment that sparked the franchise’s turnaround. Moving to Citizens Bank Park was a factor, the excitement generated in the fanbase by signing Jim Thome was a factor, and yes — without a doubt — Jimmy Rollins’ “We’re the team to beat” statement was a big factor.

The only word really missing from Finger’s article about J-Roll? Swagger. Jimmy has buckets of it, and hopefully it stays in Philly for years to come.

>>Rollins’ legacy with Phillies secure, but future uncertain [CSN]