PHILADELPHIA -- The "frontrunners" booed Jimmy Rollins.
They booed when his name was announced at the top of the starting lineup before the game. They booed when the shortstop cleanly fielded a ground ball and threw a baserunner out in the top of the first.
They booed -- although an ample amount of cheers were mixed in -- when Rollins' name was announced again as he strolled to home plate for his first at bat a half inning later.
Before the game, the reigning National League MVP, who has endured a down season at the plate, was well aware his comments could bring out the most popular three-letter word in South Philadelphia.
"We're human beings, they're human beings, we all have a right to say something, and they have a right to say something too," Rollins said.
Rollins called Phillies fans "frontrunners" on The Best Damn Sports Show Period last week, before clarifying a day later. Rollins took back "frontrunner" but still said he wasn't hip to their negativity.
Before Tuesday's game against the Washington Nationals, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel defended the fans, who have showed up in droves this season.
"They've been here all summer," Manuel said. "I've said this before, the only difference I see is they swear more here. Outside that, they're the same. In Japan, they're a little bit quieter, but they'll throw balls at you."
Rollins, 0-for-4 on the day and hitting .221 this month, stood by his comments.
"There are definitely guys who when you're going back to the clubhouse or that you see from the dugout going up to the plate with an expression on their face that's like, 'Man, I got to try to do something, I have to figure something out,'" Rollins said Tuesday. "They're halfway defeated before they get up there."
Rollins pre-game words were nearly prophetic.
With his team in the middle of trying to rally back from a 4-1 deficit, Rollins stepped to the plate with two runs already in and a runner on first base. He hit into a 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.
"You go up there and you're on deck and people are already on you, talking to you," Rollins said before the game. "And you go up there and you're getting booed, sometimes it gets hard to concentrate on what you need to do because now you're like, 'Oh my goodness, now there's even more pressure, I have to get a hit, this is a big situation' and about 20,000 of the fans ready to jump all over you if you don't do it.
"Then, instead of your concentration being on what you need to do, you might lose it for literally a split second, and that's all the time you get to swing a bat, and that results in an out."
Before 44,143 fans -- the 41st sellout at Citizens Bank Park and the 15th in a row -- Rollins failed to get a hit for the ninth time in his last 17 games. A realistic Rollins knows the boos will only continue if he continues to scuffle at the plate.
But with one big hit, he knows they can turn into cheers, too.
"People may not like you for one reason or another and if you want to play the politically correct game, you can do that and get away with how you really feel behind closed doors," Rollins said. "Sometimes people have to make a stance, and it doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong, you're just making a point."
The fans made their point for nine innings. Rollins continued defending his, too.
He said he's "0-for-whatever" in trying to attract free agents to Philadelphia.
"A lot of times, and I've actually heard it, they don't want to put their family and kids in a situation where they come to the field and these are the types of things they don't want their kids to have to sit through and listen to," Rollins said. "That's just the truth. Those aren't my words; those are words I've actually heard."