Monday, June 15, 2009

1998 Ultra #70 Scott Rolen

This post was originally going to be succinct and pithy (in my mind anyway) and was simply going to state, "Scott Rolen is a bum". But since life is about growth and learning from past turmoil, I decided to expand upon my original post and try to reflect upon my feelings toward Scott Rolen.

Scott was easily one of my favorite Phillies from the time of his debut in 1996 and over the following 6+ years. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in '96 and he won 3 Gold Gloves during his tenure with the Phils. He was the face of the franchise during some fairly lean years, appearing on the team's Yearbooks, Media Guides and numerous giveaway items. In 2002, the last year of his contract, he informed the club he would not be resigning with them. The Phillies were faced with 2 choices - trade the disgruntled star or lose him to free agency and reap a compensatory draft pick.

The Phils chose the former and on July 29, 2002, Scott was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Timlin, Placido Polanco and Bud Smith. To say his departure was bitter would be an understatement. The summer of 2002 was a period of tumult for me personally, and Scott's abrupt and acrimonious departure was a microcosm for some of the challenges I was facing throughout that summer. Being a Phillies fan, just like my real life, had become challenging and confusing and I probably channeled some of my confusion (and anger) towards Scott Rolen. It didn't help that he described his trade to the Cardinals as being just like "heaven," or that he'd go on to win a World Series in 2006.

But I get it now - Scott Rolen did not want to play in Philadelphia. He wanted to play closer to his Midwest roots, and he was not about to sign a long-term contract to remain in the Northeast. If I put aside my Phillies loyalty for a brief moment, I can appreciate Scott Rolen for his hustle, his tenacity on the field and his impressive 14 year (so far) career. I can definitely appreciate his stubbornness to hold out for what he wanted and his refusal to toe the line for the status quo. I completely understand the need to leave an unpleasant situation, and I'm a much, much happier person because of that.

However, if I go back to thinking purely as a non-philosophical Phillies fan . . . Scott Rolen is a bum.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Jim, that's actually a pretty thoughtful post. I didn't understand the Rolen/Philly controversy until now.