It’s difficult to imagine a Phillies home opener without Jimmy Rollins. The Phillies shortstop started his 14th consecutive home opener Tuesday afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers. Rollins 14 consecutive opening day starts is the most by any NL shortstop for the same team since 1900.
“I guess that means I love it here,” Rollins said. “But you know I love playing here. The years add up.”
Rollins flashed his familiar ear-to-ear smile when asked about the pomp and circumstance, which is part and parcel of every opener.
“I love it because it’s something for the fans,” Rollins said prior to walking through Ashburn Alley and the centerfield stands en route to the field. “The fans love it when we stroll past them on our way to being introduced. It wouldn’t be opening day without all of that. It’s just great to be back after here after our road trip. I love hitting here.”
Entering the home opener, Rollins has hit in eight straight games at Citizens Bank Park. “I finished hitting well last year and I want to carry that over to this season,” Rollins said. “It’s all about this season.”
Rollins, who missed two games last week due to the birth of his second daughter, entered the game hitting .211 with one huge hit, a grand slam, his 200th career home run, which helped sink the Texas Rangers on opening day in Arlington.
“Talk about an incredible week,” Rollins said. “It doesn’t get much bigger than having a child. I also had a big hit. I just want to get off to a good start and help us win.”
Rollins doesn’t have a particular favorite in terms of home openers. “They’re all fun,” Rollins said. “They’re all a good time but to tell you the truth, I really like it when we get past the opening days and just play ball. This is our third opening day in a week. I can’t wait until tomorrow when it’s just a regular game without all the fuss. But I like to win on opening days. I like to win every day.”
Chase Utley failed to start or appear during introductions due to a flu bug. Cesar Hernandez started at second and batted seventh.
Jamie Moyer and Steve Carlton, two Phillies southpaws, who didn’t know when to retire, were slated to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Carlton walked out to the mound but deferred to Moyer, who threw high and outside to his former battery mate, Carlos Ruiz.