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06/15/14

Record breaking: Why long standing records are made to be broken

Jimmy Rollins undoubtedly stopped for more than just a moment to soak in just how special this moment was.
Rollins, the longtime Philadelphia Phillies superstar, collected his 2,235th hit June 14 and passed the legendary Mike Schmidt as the team's all time hits leader, a feat that more than likely seemed untouchable when Schmidt called it quits as a player.
Rollins' accomplishment is even more spectacular given his small size as a player (around 5 feet 8 inches tall) and that he started playing with Philadelphia some 14 years ago. He's remained productive, durable and hardly looks like a player that is living off name value alone.
Kudos to Rollins for eclipsing a record that most assumed might last for an eternity. The discussion as it relates to long standing records being broke is quite the polarizing topic, depending on which section of the stadium you ask.
Schmidt was the first person to congratulate Rollins on beating his record, so shouldn't fans be fine with it too? Well, not exactly.

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Some argue wholeheartedly that records held by the greats of the game should be that way forever. Those same fans aren't exactly jeering for players like Rollins as much as they like the idea of records being preserved for the purpose of posterity.
But records, as the saying goes, are made to be broken. It makes the story so much sweeter and more reputable when someone like Rollins is the one who is doing the breaking. He's undersized but played the game smart and hard with passion and poise. He's hard not to root for, even if he's breaking records you love.
When Barry Bonds was chasing the all time home run record held by Hank Aaron, fans clamored in droves in the hopes that Bonds wouldn't do it, mostly because Bonds is such an unlikeable figure shrouded by controversy with performance enhancing drugs. The idea of Bonds surpassing Aaron, to the baseball purists and pundits alike, felt tainted and cheap, suggesting that if the right player came along and secured the home run championship crown, most of us wouldn't mind seeing that record being toppled.
Breaking records is about the journey, how it is done and ultimately who is the one doing it. Sports lovers who say certain milestone might be better off being left alone just haven't found the right athletes or player who they believe is worthy enough of such a crown.
When the right man or woman comes along, their tune most likely will change. That's not to suggest that a 30 or 40 year record finally being broken doesn't sting a little bit, if for no other reason than nostalgia is hard not to root for.
Then again, it might be even harder not to root for guys like Rollins, one of the good guys in sports, who is worthy enough of taking his place at the top of a list where he belongs.

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