A couple of months after the Phillies finished 12 games behind the Mets after the 2006 season, Jimmy Rollins boldly proclaimed to the Associated Press, in a now famous interview that has become part of Philadelphia sports lore, the Phillies were the "team to beat"in the National League East.

It seemed crazy at the time - the last time the Phillies had made the playoffs was 1993. But Rollins inadvertently lit a fire under his young team with his arrogant prediction, which then-manager Charlie Manuel loved.

"I love it. I actually think he means it," Manuel told USA Today baseball columnist Hal Bodley. "Why shouldn't it be us? I feel the same way."

The unbashful Rollins doubled-down months later, backing up those words in an interview prior to the start of the 2007 season.

"It was the truth. It's the way I felt," Rollins said. "People don't expect you to express yourself. They think you sound cocky. It depends on how you say it. If you say it straightforward, you say it straightforward. People can take your words and try to twist them in any form they want."

Of course, what started off with the Phillies becoming the first modern sports team to lose 10,000 games ended with the team claiming the NL East title on the last day of the season, beating the Nationals as the Mets lost to the Marlins.

For his contribution to the team success, Rollins was named the National League's Most Valuable Player, and became the first Phillies shortstop to win a Gold Glove Award since Larry Bowa nabbed one in 1978 (Rollins would eventually win three straight Gold Gloves).

The Phillies went on to get swept by the Rockies in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs, but those famous words led the team on a streak that included five straight NL East wins, two World Series appearances and the team's first World Series win since 1980.

I think most Phillies fans can agree it was time for the aging shortstop to move on, but as the team braces for a brutal rebuilding process, a bold new challenge has been issued, this one aimed at Phillies GM Ruben Amaro - find the next Jimmy Rollins.