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March 23, 2015

Jimmy Rollins feels 'free' in Los Angeles, but also says he loved playing in Philadelphia

In an interview with FOX Sports, the Phillies' all-time hits leader talks about all things Philly

There's doubt that whenever Jimmy Rollins decides to speak his mind, something of substance usually comes out. I'll certainly miss him for that quality alone. In an excellent Q&A with FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, J-Roll opened up about his transition back to the West Coast after spending his first 14 years as a big leaguer in Philadelphia. Some of his feedback on his old stomping grounds was positive, and some it was negative, but all of it was honest. Here are a few highlights:

On the difference of being a superstar in L.A. and Philly: The general area, the city (of Philadelphia) being blue-collar, it’s not conducive for a superstar. You can be good, but you’ve got to be blue-collar along the way, keep your mouth shut, just go and work. Where obviously, this is L.A. It’s almost like it’s OK to be more flamboyant. You kind of appreciate that the more you’re out there. Because L.A. loves a star. So in that sense, I feel free.

On the pressures of playing in Philly: It’s always a tough place to play. I think the East Coast, in general, you get the Big Three – Boston, New York and Philly. Tough. Not impossible. But if you’re scared, you’re not secure, you don’t know yourself, yeah, you’ll get beat up.

On his time in Philly: I loved playing there. There is no doubt about that. It made me who I am. Playing there – I don’t know – but it prepared me for this. This is so loose in comparison to Philly. I know how to go about my business. I know the boundaries. I won’t cross ‘em.

The entire interview is definitely worth your time, as Rollins also talks in-depth about how he has basically hated the Dodgers his entire life. J-Roll's effort level (like not fully running out a grounder he had zero chance to beat out), how he conducted himself on the field ("swag," for lack of a better term), and how he went about his business in general (like what time he showed up for a game) were always hot-button topics in Philadelphia. We were an odd match at times, but it didn't stop him from becoming the franchise's greatest shortstop.

Rollins believes that Los Angeles will be more conducive to his style, and to be honest, I imagine he's right. It's also doesn't hurt that he traded the cellar for the penthouse in the standings. Such a move is conducive to anyone's style.