You knew that Jimmy Rollins would respond, especially after Carlos Beltran mentioned the reigning NL MVP by name while making his claim that the Mets are "the team to beat". The Phillies as a team shrugged off responding to Beltran's claim, waiting for their team leader to fire back once he arrived at Spring Training.
Rollins, responding in a completely non-hostile way (which you can listen to here), was at first simply surprised that Beltran would have said something like that, since he is usually so quiet. After that, he got into the meat of the statement:
"Two things: One, there are four other teams that are going to make sure that (the Mets winning the division) doesn't happen, and two.......has anyone ever heard of plagiarism?"
Rollins would go on to say that the Phillies can play with anybody, stopping just short of saying they are the best team. He concluded by saying:
"What I said last year still rings true. My mind isn't going to change. My feelings aren't going to change about that. At the end of 162 games, we'll be looking to go win the next 11."Rollins knows exactly the right words to say. He took his shots, in a playful manner, and managed to come across as very confident, both in his teammates and in himself. He truly believes that the Phillies are the team to beat again this year, and he doesn't even have to say it again. His comment about winning the 11 games after the regular season was spoken like a guy who has had a taste of the postseason and wants more. Beltran fired the first shot, and Jimmy Rollins responded in the exact way you want a team leader to respond. We can all look forward to April 8th, when the Phillies and Mets can take this to the field.