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Jimmy Rollins and Karma

February 19, 2011

The year was 2006–and New York City had become a Mets town once again. A team chock-full of All-Stars, they made it within one game of their fifth World Series appearance. Fast forward to the end of 2007 and there was serious reason for concern. The Mets fell one game short of the playoffs while managing to complete one of the worst collapses in baseball history. As the future success of the franchise seemed in doubt, Carlos Beltran made the infamous statement that the Mets were going to be the team to beat in 2008.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia reached the playoffs for the first time since 1993 and confidence in the Philly was so high that shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed the Phillies the best team in the National League. Unfortunately for Mets fan, Rollins turned out to be correct. The Phillies went on to make their second consecutive playoff appearance, this time becoming World Champions. They haven’t looked back since, and the Mets have been looking up ever since.

The Philadelphia Phillies are, on paper, the best team in the National League. Boasting a pitching staff of four pitchers who could be aces on most teams, the Phillies also have a tremendous offense. Even with the departure of the All-Star Jayson Werth, the Phillies seem to have a suitable replacement in Dominic Brown, who will likely be the Phillies opening day right fielder.

Much like the New York Yankees though, the Phillies aren’t prone to inevitability. So much like the New York Mets were seemingly the team to beat heading into 2009, the Phillies are on the same path. They can boast the best pitching staff in baseball, but they can also boast a 1-3 that are a combined age of 98 years old.

Yep, if there’s one hope for the rest of the NL East to claim the title of division champions, it’s age. With the exception of Dominic Brown, not one position player will be under the age of 30 come opening day. In fact, assuming the opening day projections remain the same, the only time you’ll find a game when there are two players under 30 on the field is when Cole Hamels starts. So that’s why when Rollins made his annual prediction today,one could be more skeptical than in years past.The prediction? Rollins believes that the Phillies will win 100 games, and if all goes right they’ll be able to chase the Seattle Mariners 2001 season.

On the other side of the spectrum,  the New York Mets will boast an infield that features all talent under 30 assuming that Murphy wins the starting job. 1B Ike Davis(24), 2b Daniel Murphy(25), SS Jose Reyes(27), 3B David Wright(28) and C Josh Thole(24) will all have to play huge parts in a successful team in 2011. While the outfield is older than the infield, the veteran Carlos Beltran(33) will likely be sent a one way ticket to the American League next year. Angel Pagan(29) is poised to be a staple of the Mets outfield for years to come,  and the Mets are committed to three more years of Jason Bay(32). While Bay’s contract is still up for debate, it’s a much more calming mix than having Carlos Delgado and elder replacements/hopefuls getting starting opportunities.

Jimmy Rollins likes to run his mouth, and it’s safe to say that he has earned the right to. Things change quickly in this game, though,  and the sooner Rollins learns that making these predictions will one day come back to bite him and the Phillies, the better. There’s nothing better than competitive spirit, but sooner or later Rollins and the Phillies will learn that mother nature has no favorites. Karma is a…well, you know it.


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