Rollins a real tweetheart of a guy

Top: Emma Jane Hipp, 3-1/2, gets her jersey autographed by Jimmy Rollins at Milwaukees Miller Park. Rollins spent 10 minutes talking Phillies with her before the game. Her dad, Joe Hipp, set the whole thing up by exchanging tweets with J-Roll. Bottom: Emma is all smiles after getting her shirt signed.
Top: Emma Jane Hipp, 3-1/2, gets her jersey autographed by Jimmy Rollins at Milwaukees Miller Park. Rollins spent 10 minutes talking Phillies with her before the game. Her dad, Joe Hipp, set the whole thing up by exchanging tweets with J-Roll. Bottom: Emma is all smiles after getting her shirt signed.
Posted: October 04, 2011

ON THE NAIL-BITING EVE of a crucial road playoff Game 3 vs. Diva La Russa, Broad Street Billy heard something from Phils' die-hard Joe Hipp in Milwaukee that gives us the flip side of Jimmy Rollins and his tweet brouhaha.

After Sunday's dismal 5-4 home playoff loss to the Cards, J-Roll tweeted: "Fans were waaay too quiet tonight."

He was right. But some fans in the Tweetosphere - probably the same ones he called "front-runners" a while back - were not pleased.

But J-Roll will always be aces with Hipp, a die-hard from Tinicum Township, Delaware County, now living in Milwaukee Brewers country with daughter Emma Jane, 3 1/2, and raising her right.

Before taking Emma Jane to her first baseball game, during the Phillies' late-season road trip to Milwaukee, Hipp sent J-Roll a tweet and a photo - @JimmyRollins11 - "Look 4 this cutie at BP 2day. It's her 1st game ever . . . And yes, it's a #11 jersey."

J-Roll tweeted back: "LOL! I'll look for you guys."

Hipp told Billy, "Emma Jane's allergic to peanuts so I had to be careful. I made sure she was covered from head to toe, packed her EpiPen and off we went to the Saturday night game."

For years now, Hipp has been a presence at the Brewers' Miller Park whenever the Phillies visit.

"I shell out $100 every year to sit on the visitors' dugout and hold up signs during batting practice to show [the Phils] that they have fans here," Hipp told Billy.

The signs say stuff like, "Got wood? Everybody hits! Woo hoo!"

So when Hipp showed up with his little daughter, J-Roll recognized him and came over.

True to his word, J-Roll autographed the back of Emma Jane's Rollins jersey, then spent 10 minutes pleasantly talking baseball with the kid. He gave her an autographed ball and two from batting practice.

"He was the utmost in terms of being an ambassador for baseball and the Phillies," Hipp told Billy.

Last year, Hipp spray-painted a humongous red-and-white "P" on his front lawn, and sat there with Emma Jane in his two blue Veterans Stadium seats, watching the world go by. This year, he made the "P" bigger.

At first, he said, "My neighbors thought I was making a Packers 'P.' Yeah, right."

Hipp's Phillies roots go back to his Philadelphia childhood, and to all the game days he spent visiting his grandparents in their corner house at A Street and Seltzer in Kensington.

His grandfather was hard of hearing, and turned up the volume on the TV or radio so loud, Hipp said, that "I could hear 'Harry the K' before I got out of the car - a sound that will always live with me."

And now, Hipp has Rollins' kindness toward Emma Jane to add to his fond Phillies memories. So let's forgive our shortstop his occasional twick-or-tweets, OK? J-Roll has a good heart.

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