Should we boo? Cheer? Here’s what we do: Hope for a lead-off homer in the home half of the first to neuter the groundswell of displaced frustration being dumped on Jimmy Rollins.
“They're front-runners.” There it is, gusting along like a storm cloud, gaining strength by accumulating a week’s worth of hype. But tonight, baseball gets in a way of a good story. The first pitch will be thrown and it will blow all that garbage out toward the ocean, just like it always does. Blown out to sea by balls and strikes. Win the game or the next couple, and you’re living in a high-pressure system without a cloud in the sky.
An unscripted lead-off shot in the home half would certainly spice up the ambiguity. J-Roll has already served and the ball’s in our court. “When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad, they're completely against you." A lead-off jack would play like a 155 mph ace. If you've been a wet blanket about the situation, there would be no good way to handle it without looking like bad fan or front-runner. 15-0 Rollins.
Odds are that J-Roll does something mundane with his first AB because mundane is the name of the game. No one knows this more than the players and coaches. This is where fans, bloggers and radio hosts get into trouble. There is no artificial game-day, gut-check rally cry like football. No artificial motivation necessary. They're in the hunt and can't fall out of the race. It’s a grind, and the grind is on their side. We’re looking at four below-average seasons from Rollins, Ryan Howard, Geoff Jenkins and Carlos Ruiz, and there’s a terrific chance they’ll turn it around before it's over, whether we boo, cheer or sit on our hands.