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Phillies Franchise Icon Jimmy Rollins Describes Disrespectful Treatment by Ryne Sandberg

On a recent episode of his podcast, beloved former Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins called out Ryne Sandberg for his "lack of respect."

The 2014 season marked the end of an incredible Philadelphia Phillies career for Jimmy Rollins. That summer, he became the franchise's all-time hits leader and just a few months later, he would play his final game in red pinstripes.

Unfortunately, the season wasn't exactly the sendoff Rollins deserved. The Phillies finished 73-89, dead last in the NL East. There was little hope for the future, and as the losses piled up, things got tense in the clubhouse. 

Earlier this year, on his podcast "Unwritten: Behind Baseball's Secret Rules" from Audacy, Rollins told a tale about a clubhouse dispute he had with Cliff Lee in 2014. Now, he has revealed another story about the animosity taking place behind the scenes of Philadelphia's second-straight losing season. This time, it was about a dispute between the star shortstop and his final Phillies manager.

Back in March 2014, Rollins was benched for three Spring Training games after upsetting Ryne Sandberg. The manager was displeased with his veteran shortstop for the following comment Rollins made to the Philadelphia Daily News:

No matter how much you want these games to count for something, when April comes around, people aren't talking about this.

Rollins wasn't wrong, and even now, eight years later, he stands behind what he said. As he explained on his podcast, "Who cares about spring training results? They matter none. When a closer comes in in the fourth inning, this is not real baseball.”

Those comments don't mean Rollins wasn't taking his job seriously. Anyone who watched him play during his 15-year career with the Phillies knows how hard he worked and how much he cared about winning. Nevertheless, his manager decided these comments warranted punishment.

Sandberg benched the shortstop for the next three games, seemingly to send a message to the veteran about taking Spring Training seriously. However, in Rollins' memory, it was not a very effective message, especially because the manager did not communicate anything to him at all.

As Rollins describes, he first received a call from the clubhouse workers saying he didn't have to come in one day. He found it strange, but didn't think much of it. 

The following day, he got the same phone call. This time, he was more annoyed. As if the benching wasn't enough, he was upset that Sandberg did not even offer him an explanation. 

"I’m like really?" Rollins said. "Here I am, supervet, on the brink of breaking Mike Schmidt’s all-time hits record. Just the lack of respect that was given, like wow.”

The next day he decided to show up for work anyway, and he was met with questions about where he had been. He had no answer other than, "go ask the manager." 

Rollins was genuinely confused at this point. When interviewed at the time, all he could say was that Sandberg seemed "upset about something" and that it could "possibly" have to do with his comments to the Philadelphia Daily News. The manager, meanwhile, provided no comment to the press. 

Now, however, Rollins knows exactly what happened. After missing his third-straight game, he was called into the manager's office and scolded. "I hope you learned your lesson," Sandberg said to him. 

Rollins and Sandberg later on in 2014.

Rollins and Sandberg later on in 2014.

Even now, so many years later, Rollins still seems miffed by the lack of respect he was given. 

Thankfully, the start shortstop was able to brush off the bizarre treatment. "Whatever [Sandberg was] trying do, it didn't work," Rollins explained. For a younger player, however, it could have been a much worse experience.

Back in 2014, this story was the root of much speculation. There was also no shortage of speculation about Sandberg's poor communication and leadership skills. Eight years down the road, Rollins has finally provided some confirmation of all those rumors.

You can listen to Jimmy Rollins tell the full story on his podcast "Unwritten: Behind Baseball's Secret Rules" from Audacy.

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