Rollins enjoying the life baseball's provided
Phils star gives back to community, has entertainment group
WASHINGTON -- Jimmy Rollins strolled through the visitors' clubhouse late Monday night at Nationals Park, munching on a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich.
He couldn't have looked happier.
He had reasons to be. The Phillies had just clinched their fourth consecutive National League East title and the best record in the league, which puts them in excellent position to reach their third consecutive World Series. He also has time to make up for a disappointing year -- he has spent much of the season on the bench because of leg injuries -- beginning Oct. 6 in the NL Division Series.
Come up big in October and nobody will remember what happened April through September.
But Rollins, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing the past few weeks because of a strained right hamstring, is a man who would be happy anyway.
He has a great job.
He has a great life.
And he has it because of baseball.
"With the economy the way it is and things like that, I've looked at it like, how do we make so much money?" Rollins said recently. "When you look at it, it's like, you play with a wooden bat, a leather glove, yarn wound up with leather and stitches. You run the bases and try to steal a bag. You think of what you actually do and it's like, wow, this is crazy. But on the other hand, people who are having hard times, we can provide those smiles and a source of enjoyment. Maybe just a break for three or four hours. There's a value part of that."
It has offered him incredible opportunities.
He started The Jimmy Rollins Family Foundation, which helps children and young adults living with arthritis, providing funds and awareness about the disease. Rollins hosts his annual BaseBowl tournament in Philadelphia to raise funds for his foundation and the Eastern Pennsylvania Arthritis Foundation.
"Can you extend yourself rather than just on the field, you know?" Rollins said. "In some ways it's expected of you. And that's fine. Expectations are fine. But you don't do them because of the expectations. You help out people who may need it. Financially, you can't help everybody. When you start doing things for other people, you really realize, wow, there are so many people that need help. You look at your situation and you're like, I am not in need. Wow. If I wasn't playing baseball, what would I be doing? We really don't know."
But baseball also has allowed him to do "the crazy stuff."
"If people want to use you, you might as well get paid for it," he said. "Ain't no doubt about it. That part is business, but the stuff that isn't business, it's pretty amazing what we can do."
Rollins started the Jimmy Rollins Entertainment Group. He recently started purchasing publishing rights to songs. He currently owns a share of Snoop Dogg's "Sexual Eruption" and a share of Sean Kingston and Justin Bieber's "Eenie Meenie."
Rollins explained it this way: When a writer writes a song, he or she might not see any money for several months while the song travels the globe and licensing companies like BMI and ASCAP check radio stations, TV shows, movies, stadiums, etc., to see how many times the song has been used. Writers need money in the meantime, so they will sell a portion of the publishing rights to get them through until they are paid.
"I've got five percent, 10 percent of a song," Rollins said. "You know, roughly how much the song is going to bring in for that percentage. It's not really a guess. So basically you give them an advance and you get the publishing. So when you get that back and anytime it's used, instead of going to them, now it's yours because you already gave them the advance."
The best part? Rollins owns the publishing rights for the lifetime of the artist, plus 70 years.
"I won't be here to see it until its end, you know what I'm saying?" Rollins said.
Rollins said he never dreamed of doing what he has done, seeing what he has seen, and meeting some of the people he has met.
"All from the game of baseball," he said.
But as much as he has learned about the music and entertainment businesses, Rollins is happy he made his way as a professional athlete.
"It's a lot easier to play baseball, even though I know how difficult baseball is," he said. "It's a lot easier to play baseball. Lots of snakes in the grass, man. And it's money. At least in baseball, you have to be good to get up here. You don't have to be good to let people take money from you. They'll tell you you're good just to get your dough."
Rollins is a smart guy. He seems to be setting up himself all right.
"Take it while you can, because one day my name is not going to be hot," he said.
It's still hot, and with the playoffs beginning Oct. 6, Rollins knows it could get hotter.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.