The Phillies might have fallen flat last night versus the New York Mets, but former All-Star and National League MVP Jimmy Rollins impressed fans during his debut in NBC Sports Philadelphia’s booth.
Rollins also had an interesting description of Rhys Hoskins’ fourth-inning home run, which brought the Phillies within one run of the Mets.
“That’s what we like to call Ding Dong Johnson, yes sir,” Rollins said.
“This is my first time hearing Jimmy Rollins on color commentary and while it’s a little bumpy right now, he has everything I’d want from a broadcaster that you can’t teach,” Michael Baumann, host of The Ringer MLB Show podcast, wrote on Twitter.
But as you’d expect from any rookie broadcaster, Rollins did have some hiccups. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Phillies reliever Juan Nicasio came into the game with the bases loaded, attempting to keep the Mets’ lead to two runs. Instead, he hit Mets first baseman Pete Alonso with his first pitch, leading to his colorful reaction from Rollins:
Rollins, who has agreed to call a handful of games this season, will be in the Phillies booth again tonight on NBC Sports Philadelphia. He’ll also call the Phillies’ May 18 game against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.
Flyers fans, some ex-players, and even a former club executive came down hard on the team after it decided to remove a state of the late singer Kate Smith, citing songs she sang in the early 1930s that contained “lyrics and sentiments that are incompatible with the values of our organization, and evoke painful and unacceptable themes."
But 97.5 The Fanatic host Mike Missanelli was one of the few Philadelphia radio commentators to wade deeply into the controversy and defend the Flyers on air, saying the negative reaction amounted to white people thinking they’ve lost a battle. He played Smith’s version of “Pickaninny Heaven" in full, which directs “colored children” living in an orphanage to fantasize about a place with “great big watermelons.”
“That’s what I don’t understand. Don’t look at it like you’re losing a battle, look at it like progress and an evolution of our mindset to make the world a better place,” Missanelli said Monday afternoon. “Once it comes to light, how are you supposed to react? Are you supposed to ignore it?”
Of course, that led to a barrage of phone calls from across the Delaware Valley. Jim in Swarthmore argued that Smith wasn’t racist just because she sang a song with racist lyrics. Ryan in Medford complained about erasing history. Frank in Philadelphia questioned why we don’t knock down George Washington statues over the fact he owned slaves.
“Why are you fighting so hard against this?" Missanelli asked his listeners. “What is the real reason that you’re so aggravated, other than you think you’re losing points as a white person?”
• Peyton Manning won’t be joining the Monday Night Football crew on ESPN next season, according to Michael McCarthy of the Sporting News. It remains unclear if ESPN will replace Jason Witten, or just stick with a two-man booth featuring Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland.
• The WNBA and CBS Sports have struck a multi-year deal to air games on CBS Sports Network starting Saturday, May 25, when the league’s 2019 season gets underway. The package includes a rematch of last season’s WNBA finals between the Seattle Storm and the Washington Mystics (led by former league MVP Elena Delle Donne) on Friday, June 14.