It also was a ride filled with various emotions. Such as this e-mail response from an unnamed person:
“It was a nice thing when Jimmy Rollins ended last year with a 36 game hitting streak, but no way it should be continued into the season. The players with the longest streaks in history all accomplished this feat within the length of one season. They did this while dealing with the wear and tear of the long season, they didn’t have the benefit of a 6 month layoff to heal injuries and to recharge their batteries. The 36 game streak was fantastic but let’s use yesterday’s (April 3) hit to start a new streak not continue an old one.”
There are arguments as to whether Jimmy had an advantage or a disadvantage with the six-month break. He was in a groove when the 2005 season ended and after six months, it was going to be tough to get back in that groove again.
True, the other hit streaks all came in one season and it could create wear and tear. Joe DiMaggio (56 games), Willie Keeler (44), Bill Dahlen (45), George Sisler (41) and Ty Cobb (40) didn’t face the media explosion that hit Jimmy. Pete Rose (44) and Paul Molitor (39) did face a little of the media mass.
Here’s what Jimmy faced since the start of spring training: ESPN TV (SportsCenter, Cold Pizza, Classics Now, Baseball Tonight), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, Jim Rome Show, This Week with George Stephanopoulos on ABC TV, USA Today, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, ESPN The Magazine, Sports Illustrated plus the Philadelphia media. Rollins handled all of that very well. It could have been a distraction. Instead, he fed off it.
ESPN TV was going to have a crew follow him daily once the streak reached 40. As Catie DeVito, ESPN MLB Assignment Editor, e-mailed: “We jinxed him.” Major League Baseball Productions was also prepared to become a daily media addition. Probably tons of other media would have also joined the chase.
The ride also contained some confusion.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, the official statisticians of Major League Baseball, the two-season streak is a bit unknown. Rollins finished at 38. Willie Keeler had a hit in his final game in 1896 and the first 44 games of 1897. Is Rollins second with 38? “We just don’t know if
there are any other players who may have hit in 20 games at the end of one season and 20 at the start of the next,” explained Ken Hirdt, one of the historians at Elias Sports Bureau.
Rollins will go down in the record book with having the eighth-longest streak. That’s a fact.
Karol Silverstein, a Phillies fan in the Los Angeles area, summed up the ride in an e-mail earlier this week:
“On Monday, when Jimmy got his hit in the eighth inning, my household exploded with excitement, as did the fans who’d remained at Citizens Bank Park despite the weather and the score. We all earned the right to share in Jimmy’s victory by virtue of our loyalty.”