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By Max Blue

His crime was that he read Dostoyevsky in the clubhouse while all around him guys were doing what baseball players do ‹ giving hotfoots, lighting farts, slamming shaving cream pies into faces of guys being interviewed on TV. His punishment was that he played in Philadelphia where once the word got out about what Scott Rolen was up to off the field it was only a matter of time before he got booed for not being Larry Bowa.

Since 1997 when he was the National League Rookie of the Year, Scott Rolen has played marvelous baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies ‹ the team that has suffered the most defeats in the history of team sports. Three Gold Gloves emblematic of the best fielding third baseman in the league, and touted by those who know as the best fielding third baseman in the history of the game. A right-handed hitter who could be depended on for 25 homeruns, 100 runs batted in, and a .285 batting average. But the nature of the game in the first years of the 21st century is that this stellar performer has served his time in baseball purgatory, and is on the verge of becoming what anyone with a sense of self would like to become ‹ a free agent.

We read that Rolen has turned his nose up at the Phillies¹ offer of $140 million to stay. He says money is not the issue, he wants to play with a winning team. You might say that he wants to escape the rants of Dallas Green, Larry Bowa, and the desperately seeking Philadelphia fans, he never would.

Bowa says Rolen will be missed, and surely he will. But seriously, does Scott Rolen think Philadelphia is the only place where the performers get booed? In Dostoyevsky¹s Crime and Punishment, the hero Raskolnikov is sentenced to 7 years in prison for his crime, Rolen got off easy, but if he thinks it¹s over he should consider Dostoyevsky¹s last words Š He did not know that the new life would not be given to him for nothing, that he would have to pay dearly for it, that it would cost him great striving, great suffering.

Max Blue

Glassboro, New Jersey

July 12, 2002

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