I have a theory that at the end of my life the baseball player I will have watched the most is Jimmy Rollins. From his debut in 2000 through his final season with the Phillies in 2014, Rollins played 2,090 games for the Phillies — 2,136 counting the postseason. The only other player in history to suit up for the Phillies that many times was Michael Jack Schmidt (2,404 regular season games and 36 postseason games.) With the rarity of players staying with one team for the majority of a long career, the unlikelihood that the frequency with which I watch one single team will dramatically increase in the future, and the fact that I was an active watcher of the Phillies for Rollins’ entire career, it’s logical enough to suppose that even though I’m still relatively young I’ll never spend as many hours watching any one player as I spent watching him.
The years upon years of getting to know players like Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, and Chase Utley steadily lulled Philles fans into a comfortable familiarity with the team. Each player has a public persona understood by Phillies fans, from the gregarious and confident Rollins to the stoic and intense Utley. As the Phillies undergo a dramatic transition from old to new, their fanbase is gradually learning about the new player personnel. Is it worth emotionally investing in these players? Which players will be in Philadelphia for an extended period of time? Will we know any of these players even half as well as we knew the last Phillies core? Do we want to?