“”I can’t get mad at him,” Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins said of being pulled from yesterday’s 5-0 win over the Reds for not running out a 3rd inning popup. “That’s like breaking the law and getting mad that the police show up.” To the Philadelphia Daily News‘ Sam Donnellon, this humble response to a display of “bad baseball, selfish baseball, the kind of baseball that costs teams ballgames”, proves the Phillies “are definitely Charlie Manuel’s team.”

Rollins could have waved his MVP award around and said he deserved better. He could have cited his status as a veteran and said the same thing. He could have said he was treated unfairly, said he was feeling under the weather, said he was being held to a standard that others were not held to. He could have said just about anything else, disappeared afterward even, and this story, in this town, at this time of year, would have gotten legs.

We’ve grown accustomed to this kind of reaction from superstars. It’s never their fault. Except this time Rollins said it was. There always seems to be these mystery circumstances we wouldn’t understand. Except this time there was none.

Instead, he put up his hands. He confessed. He pointed no fingers, wore a smile through all the uncomfortable questions during a lengthy postgame session with the media.

Most of all, he stayed on the bench and stayed active, neither slumping or sulking.

“This is a team. I’m not going to be a distraction that way,” he said. “I mean, I did what I did, but I still got to go out there and pull for my team. I mean, it’s not their fault. And they shouldn’t have to worry about that becoming a distraction.”

A statement perhaps, he was asked?

“Was it a statement? I’d never look at it that way.

“But if you want to write that, you can.”

It’s a curious scenario given how often Willie Randolph scolding Jose Reyes last summer in Houston is pinpointed as the start of the Mets SS’s slide. Given how Abraham Nunez was just promoted from New Orleans, I’m in no rush to see Randolph emulate Manuel when and if Reyes suffers another mental lapse.