Former Phillies World Series champion Jimmy Rollins proved himself on the field during his 17-year career. Now he’ll be tackling another challenge — calling the game from the booth.
Rollins is making his NBC Sports Philadelphia debut as an analyst for Monday night’s match-up between the Phillies and the New York Mets. Rollins will be joined on the broadcast by play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy, analyst John Kruk, and reporter Gregg Murphy. Rollins will also call Tuesday’s Phillies-Mets game, and a handful of other match-ups over the season (including the Phillies’ May 18 game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park).
“Jimmy is a beloved member of the Phillies franchise, and his ability to connect and engage with fans is something really special,” NBC Sports Philadelphia vice president Shawn Oleksiak said in a statement. “Jimmy’s personality and knowledge of the game will add another level of depth to our already outstanding broadcast team.”
Rollins has made appearances as an analyst on television before, most notably on FS1 (and on NBC Sports Philadelphia earlier this month). But this will be his first time calling a game, and it comes at a time when expectations are high for the Phillies.
Of course, it was Rollins who famously proclaimed the Phillies were “the team to beat in the NL East” back in 2007. So does he think this year’s Phillies squad is the team to beat?
“When you look at the lineup, you have to say yes,” Rollins said during his NBC Sports Philadelphia studio debut earlier this month. “If I was in that clubhouse, you know what I’m saying … There’s nothing wrong with trying to live up to your own expectations, and if you do that, you’re the team to beat.”
Rollins, the 2007 National League MVP, was recently hired by the Phillies as a special adviser to the team, and will be honored on May 4 before a game against the Washington Nationals. He spent 15 of his 17 major-league seasons with the Phillies, earning four Gold Glove Awards and three All-Star appearances. He also remains the team’s all-time hits leader.
Yes, you read that correctly.
ESPN First Take host and former Inquirer columnist Stephen A. Smith admitted his criticism of Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. as “more of a runner than a thrower” wasn’t exactly accurate. Smith threw for 4,831 yards last season while running for just 108 yards.
“I just want to say welcome to the show. My apologies for being so ignorant about you,” Smith told Haskins on Friday’s First Take. “I was an ignorant fool. I had to go back and watch the tapes. My bad.”
Smith has been the target of criticism over several recent flubs he’s made on the air. Last month, he mistakenly stated Washington Redskins punter Tress Way played quarterback last season (Way threw a pass on a fake punt against the Eagles in Week 17). He was also corrected on air by a colleague when he thought Upper Darby native Mike Scioscia was still managing the Los Angeles Angels (Scioscia stepped down following the 2018 season).
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Smith is in line to potentially land a new contract from ESPN of $8 million to $10 million a year, which would make him the network’s highest-paid personality. Not surprisingly, the outspoken hosts thinks he’s worth it.
“Those who are great get more than those who are not,” Smith told fellow ESPN host Bob Ley during a talk at Seton Hall earlier this month. “Everybody at ESPN or in the world of sports media does not deserve to be paid what I get paid. I don’t believe it. I just don’t, and I’ll never apologize for it.”
• NBC10 sports anchor John Clark was among those caught up in a scuffle during the Sixers’ 112-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets during Game 4 of their playoff series Saturday night.
Here’s what it looked like from Clark’s perspective:
• Both Amazon and Disney are in play to acquire streaming rights for the NFL’s highly coveted Sunday Ticket, according to NBC News. The NFL had the option to end its current deal with DirecTV, which has held the exclusive rights since 1994, at the end of the 2019 season.
• Former Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and current wide receiver DeSean Jackson trolled former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly at an autograph signing at DTLR in Chester on Saturday. It continues a trend Vick and Jackson began in January, when they dished on Kelly on the Simms and Lefkoe podcast.