Jimmy Rollins says blue-collar Philadelphia is not “conducive to a superstar”

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FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal sat down with Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins (it still feels weird writing that) to discuss a wide range of topics, including how he’s adjusting to his new team and a look back at his time with the Phillies. The entire interview is worth a read.

Rollins was a second-round pick of the Phillies in 1996 and played 15 seasons in Philadelphia, so he essentially grew up there and experienced the bad and the good and the bad again. He told Rosenthal that he “loved” playing in the city and it made him what he is today, but it also sounds like he has a load off his back.

Q: What do you feel like now that you no longer are in Philly?

Free. I feel like I’m free to be myself without someone on my shoulder. Obviously, everyone has parameters and limits. You have to play within the boundaries. But when you’re a leader, rules are a little different for you. When you’re a superstar, rules are a little different. You’re held to a higher standard, which I love. But it brings added pressure. Which I love. But if someone buds, let ’em bud. Instead of trying to keep ’em within this framework. Just let ’em be who they are at that moment.

The general area, the city (of Philadelphia) being blue-collar, it’s not conducive for a superstar. You can be good, but you’ve got to be blue-collar along the way, keep your mouth shut, just go and work. Where obviously, this is L.A. It’s almost like it’s OK to be more flamboyant. You kind of appreciate that the more you’re out there. Because L.A. loves a star.

So in that sense, I feel free. If I want to “show out” a little bit – from the outside looking in, people might say, “You’re in Hollywood.” But no, in some places you couldn’t do that.

I think most fans like in Philadelphia like good players and players who win. Rational ones, anyway. So they aren’t too different from other places. It’s a very tough place to play, similar to other East Coast cities like New York and Boston, but I grew up watching Allen Iverson and he’s beloved there. Los Angeles might be a place where a flamboyant player is more likely to be embraced, but as we see regularly with Yasiel Puig, the criticism is still there too. The main difference for Rollins now is that he was looked as one of the faces of the franchise in Philadelphia and now he can fade into the background with this team. That’s probably a nice change of pace for him.

While Rollins’ comments about Philadelphia will almost certainly get the most attention, perhaps my favorite part of the interview was his thoughts on hustle and why he doesn’t always run 100 percent. It’s something he was criticized for at times, even by his former manager Charlie Manuel, but it’s pretty logical stuff. It’s refreshing to see someone be so forthcoming about it. Anyway, good interview by Rosenthal. Read it if you get the chance.

Red Sox employees “livid” over team pay cut plan

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Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.

Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.

Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.

As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.