Charity up Rollins' alley

Posted: August 10, 2012

DAYS OFF are few and far between in major league baseball, but the Phillies did not waste their rare reprieve, taking time instead to support a charitable cause.

The Rollins Family Foundation hosted its seventh annual Celebrity BaseBOWL Tournament at Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes on Thursday evening. Proceeds benefited the Northeast Region of the Arthritis Foundation, with Jimmy Rollins' foundation specifically hoping to assist children suffering from arthritic conditions. Many of Rollins' Phillies teammates, including Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Kyle Kendrick and Roy Halladay, attended the event.

"You don't think too often about arthritis affecting kids under the age of 16, but it does. I can't imagine having to wake up on a weekend and not being able to play baseball because I'm having a flareup," Rollins said. "Those are things that I didn't have to grow up dealing with, and I think because of this event and my teammates supporting the foundation, we all understand how lucky we are to be able to do what we do."

Rollins attended the event with his wife Johari and their daughter Camryn, who was born on May 20. The shortstop said bringing his daughter along gave the event a special significance.

"Being a dad has changed my perspective on a lot of things. You hear things about people's children having problems of any sort and you feel for them, but it hits home a lot more when you can imagine that being your kid," Rollins said. "Fortunately we've been blessed with our daughter with great health, and not everyone gets that whether it's a form or arthritis or any other condition."

This is the first year that the annual event occurs while the Phillies are not in the midst of a playoff push. It's a reality that Rollins and his Phillies teammates try not to think about, but it is impossible to avoid.

"It's a little different," Kendrick said. "It is what it is. You have to finish strong and hopefully we'll come back next year and be in a different position. We really just want to finish on a good note."

Rollins and the new-look Phillies are closing out the season without Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton, who were traded in deadline deals. Rollins said everyone understood no player was off limits to be traded, but he was glad to remain in Philadelphia and hopes next year's team can shake off this disappointing season.

Rollins also places a high importance on doing work to benefit the community, and staying in Philadelphia will allow him to continue to give back to the city where he has spent his entire major league career.

"I've been here since I was 17 years old, so that's literally been half my life. To stay here for at least another 3 or 4 years and give back to the people who have supported me and supported this team all these years, it always means a lot," Rollins said. "The fans, they help make us who we are. We sold out 257 straight games and you like to think that's also because they think we're good people and they see what we do in the community."

Rollins will make a run at the greatest milestone of his career before this season ends. Rollins sits just 24 hits from 2,000 for his career. He would become the fourth Phillies player to break the 2,000-hit barrier, and the first since Mike Schmidt. n

Contact Dan Carp at dcarp@phillynews.com

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