For all of his abilities, Rollins has quickly become known for having a stubborn streak to say the least. Greg Gross talked to him and Larry Bowa did the same. Finally, Bowa dropped Rollins out of the leadoff spot this spring and even that didn't seem to get through to the young shortstop. Finally, the memories and words of a Hall of Famer did the trick.
Schmidt talked of his pal Pete Rose and how pitchers hated to face him because he was a pest. He was always finding some way to get on base and when he did get on base, he was a locomotive that seemingly couldn't be stopped. Schmidt stressed how opposing pitchers feared Rose and how he was afforded the kind of respect that Rollins wants. In fact, Schmidt told Rollins that a lot of pitchers feared Rose more than they ever did the homerun hitters, because it was Rose doing a lot of the damage on the bases.
Perhaps more than the talk of respect, Schmidt also planted another thought in Rollins' mind. Guys who hit second in the order don't win MVP awards, but guys who hit leadoff do. Finally, a way to get through to the kid. Rollins wants respect and the quickest way to get it would be to win an MVP award or at least be in the running.
However it got done, the fact is that it may have finally gotten done. Jimmy Rollins, after a conversation with Michael Jack Schmidt, just might be on the right path. It worked for Pat Burrell and if Rollins heeds the advice, it may just work for him, too.