We know it's fun to pile on Jimmy Rollins — and Lord knows he enjoys the attention — but, you know, it's 2009, and it's probably time to stop pretending that athletes making "brash" predictions means a darned thing. Let's think about it: Rollins was appearing on The Jay Leno Show, for crying out loud, and had just suffered through a rather excruciating five minutes of "comedy." He was asked, "How many games will it take to beat the Yankees?" Mere seconds after answering Leno's probing "have you ever bought anything off of TV" inquiry, Rollins, likely feeling obliged to provide Leno's viewers some entertainment, responded, tongue clearly in cheek, "Well, of course we're gonna win. If we're nice, we'll let it go six. I'm thinking five so we can close it out at home." The studio audience was not shocked by his terrifying brashness. It was probably relieved that Jimmy Rollins didn't t have to sit through five minutes with Jay Leno any longer.
We could have all moved on with our lives and never thought about this again, but, as you might have heard, this is a difficult time for media, and a simple Hey, Two Great Teams From the Northeast Corridor Are Playing in the World Series just won't do. Thus: Jimmy Rollins is a reckless ass who should shut his damn mouth. We're particularly fond of the Post's purple prose:
Mariano Rivera's liquid brown eyes went cold when asked about Jimmy Rollins' bold prediction that the Phillies will whip the Yankees in the World Series that opens tonight at Yankee Stadium.
It is all the more impressive that Rivera has become the greatest closer in baseball history, what with the eyeballs that liquefy and seep out of their sockets and down his cheek. Though, to be fair, when they "went cold," they might have frozen and therefore stayed in place.
These are two likable, excellent teams, and therefore angles are scant. But must we really go down this exhausted "He guaranteed victory! Get 'em!" road again? We suppose this is what Rollins should have said: Well, Jay, I have no faith or confidence in the abilities of myself or any of my teammates. I have worked and sweated my way to the highest levels of athletic competition by constantly questioning whether I've made the right career choice, whether I truly deserve to be here. All told, I'm a little embarrassed to be playing the Yankees in the first place. Come on, Jay, it's the Yankees! I think I just wet myself. If you see A-Rod, could you give him a message for me? "Not in the face, okay? Just not in the face."
Much of this guarantee business is media laziness, but we think it's steeped in the continuing boomer obsession with Joe Namath. His "guarantee" before Super Bowl III laid down the foundation for the style of sportswriting that would dominate for the next 40 years and is now, mercifully, starting to gasp and sputter. Namath's team won, sure, but no one man, in any sport, can "guarantee" anything. (Particularly baseball: Rollins could hit a home run every time he steps to the plate this series, and it still doesn't necessarily mean the Phillies will win.) Every sports fan knows this, and so does every sportswriter. Yet we keep up this dumb game every year. Yes, yes, we know: You had a poster of Joe Namath on your wall as a kid. Can we stop now? Please?