Jimmy Rollins: Most Valuable Citizen

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Bad news travels fast. Good news? Well, it generally chugs it’s way around the block, if it travels at all.

Just days before the tragic death of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor kidnapped the sports airwaves, a tale of new life an opportunity unfolded ion Philadelphia with – sadly – hardly a peep.

Philadelphia Phillies All-Star shortstop Jimmy Rollins, the 2007 National League MVP, donated 32 new Dell computers to Olney West, a high school in Northern Philly. The machines helped created the school’s first computer facility, which the students dubbed “The J-Roll MVP Computer Lab.”

Did you hear about it? Probably not.

Too bad. But not surprising. You missed a pretty good story, one that should have a profoundly positive effect on group of kids who deserve such. During his time at the school, Rollins spent time with the students, laughed with and inspired them. He cut ribbons and posed for pics, and was feted with thanks. One student sang her own version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” with the lyrics changed to reflect Rollins many charitable efforts around town.

“Lately,” said Tyaera Jones, a 17-year-old senior, “our city as a reputation for violence, but [Rollins] is a perfect example of what our city is really about.”

Rollins was presented with an Olney West T-shirt by principal Rita Hardy, who said the school had never received a donation “on this level.” With the following day being Rollins’ 29th birthday, he was also offered a cake with chocolate icing and showered with a chorus of “Happy Birthday.”

But you probably didn’t hear about it.

You probably know that Rollins represents a dwindling breed: African-American baseball players. They are but 9 percent of all major-leaguers and Rollins, as well as a few other black players, has been vocal about his desire to see the trend reversed. At the school, he said: “We have to let some of these kids in the city know, and change their perspective that baseball is not just a ‘white man’s game,’ as they would see it.”

Interestingly, the NL’s newest MVP and Cy Young winner, C.C. Sabathia, are black.

That you probably knew. At least some good news travels.

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3 thoughts on “Jimmy Rollins: Most Valuable Citizen

  1. TL says:

    I enjoy reading your blog. Agree 100% on MVP Jimmy in Phila.

  2. kevin says:

    32 new computers costs about what Rollins makes for a 6-4-3 double play, but it’s good that he’s at least thinking philanthropically. And you’re right, cool things like this rarely make the headlines.

  3. Lee says:

    Great story. That “9%” stat does not count all the hispanic baseball players that are black, however. C.C. Sabathia is likely not included in the number, even though you mention him as a black ball player in this article.

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