By Mike Steffanos
MJ: Are the Phils still the team to beat in '08?
Rollins: That wasn't a one-year thing. It's still gonna ring true in 2008, and every year I'm with the Phillies. We're going to win; it's gonna come down to who wants it more, and we want to win more than the Mets do. Truthfully, I don't worry about anybody in our division, or anybody in our league for that matter. I'm not worried about getting into the playoffs, because that part is accomplished. We're a playoff team now. Our next goal is to win the World Series.
I have to say that when I read this I had to agree with Mike Nichols that I'm tired of all the talk on this and am looking forward for the games to start. I really didn't think much more of this until some people forwarded the link to me looking for my reaction. One of them was a friend of mine who doesn't even root for the Mets. I imagine this will get some more play as it sells papers and gets fans fired up. If you're interested in my take on it, here goes.
In head to head games last season, one of the things that I found particularly discouraging was that it was pretty obvious that both the Phillies and Braves seemed to want those games more than the Mets. The Mets seemed to bring an attitude that the very fact they were a superior team would win out for them. Frankly, I'd rather root for a mediocre to bad team that brings the intensity with them than a club like the 2007 Mets.
Funny thing, though, both the Phillies and Braves would bring their "A" game when they played the Mets, but both teams repeatedly suffered letdowns against the lesser clubs they should have beat up on. The door was open all year, but it took a collapse on the part of the Mets to finally allow the Phillies to walk through. This doesn't lessen my disappointment with the Mets' strange lethargy all season or take away from Philadelphia's great finish. But when I read pundit after pundit telling me that the Phillies have some huge advantage in this regard, I have to laugh. They could be their own worst enemy at times, too. As can the Braves.
I have a lot of respect for both Atlanta and Philadelphia. I also respect the Nationals, who got more out of less talent than anyone. And I think the Mets have something to prove in bringing and maintaining a level of intensity throughout this season. However, this notion that seems to have swept through the media that the Phillies have some huge edge over the Mets in this regard isn't borne out when you look at last year as a whole.
The 2005 and 2006 Mets did a terrific job of maintaining intensity and focus throughout the season. I made the mistake of thinking this would automatically be the case last year. Those that assume that what the Phillies were able to accomplish in one single month of last season -- repeat, one single month -- will carry over this year are also making a mistake. Every year is different.
... "But it's one thing if somebody just sets up a blog from their mother's basement in Albuquerque and they are who they are, and they're a pathetic get-a-life loser, but now that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard's column or Bernie Miklasz' column in St. Louis. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility. Most of it is a combination of ignorance or invective."
What bothers Costas -- and he's not alone -- is Internet and talk radio commentary that "confuses simple mean-spiritedness and stupidity with edginess. Just because I can call someone a name doesn't mean I'm insightful or tough and edgy. It means I'm an idiot."
"It's just a high-tech place for idiots to do what they used to do on bar stools or in school yards, if they were school yard bullies, or on men's room walls in gas stations. That doesn't mean that anyone with half a brain should respect it."
Correct me if I'm wrong, but by calling bloggers a name (pathetic get-a-life losers), isn't the only thing Costas is proving is that he himself is an idiot? I'm only going by his own words here.
It amuses me greatly how allegedly intelligent media types like Costas are so completely ignorant of what's going on and so willing to share their ignorance with others. Sure, there are some bloggers ranting and raving from their mother's basements. You also have guys like Jim Rome doing the same mean-spirited things over the air waves. You have Wallace Matthews spewing venom in a major New York paper. Chris "Mad Dog" Russo on WFAN. Etc., etc., etc. But they're okay, because they have "professional accountability." Yeah, sure...
I may occasionally rant in this space when I feel it's appropriate, but I stick my ugly face and full name on everything I write here. I'm accountable to my audience -- which I have built almost entirely by appealing to the logic and intelligence of all of you. On the other hand, there are plenty of media types that have built a career on spewing "a combination of ignorance or invective." I may not speak to millions, but like every blogger I have earned my audience one reader at a time. If I'm not credible, you won't come.
I wish I could personally look Bob Costas in the eye (I'd have to bend over quite far) and tell him to go sc**w himself. On second thought, he's not even worth it. He's better watch out for Kranepool's Steve Keane, though, who promises to "jack his ass up for his lunch money" if he ever runs into Costas walking around mid town.