NEW YORK -- Jimmy Rollins took a notebook from a reporter's hand in April and scribbled the following words:
"I am retired!!"
No more predictions, he said.
But Rollins can't stay away from the prognostication game. He called the Phillies the team to beat in 2007, despite the fact they had not won the National League East since 1993. The Phillies famously overcame a seven-game deficit to the Mets with 17 games left to win the division. He predicted Philadelphia would win 100 games in 2008. They won 103, including 11 games in the postseason.
Rollins predicted a Phillies-Yankees World Series in Playboy magazine in February. He got that.
He then predicted Monday night on The Jay Leno Show that the Phillies would beat the Yankees in five games.
"Well, of course we're going to win," Rollins told Leno. "If we're nice, we'll let it go six, but I'm thinking five and close it out at home."
"That's not what's going to happen," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "What he says and what's going to happen is far from that. We'll see what happens."
"He's a nice guy, so at least he gave us six if he's going to be nice," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "I got no comment on that. Jimmy likes to have fun. He likes to have fun and joke around."
Rollins made the prediction on a comedy show, but New York media ran with it.
Rollins was asked why he thought the Phillies would need just five games to beat the Yankees?
"Our team," he said.
He was asked if he ever took heat for his predictions?
"In New York," he said.
Rollins knows the Phillies are considered underdogs, despite their winning the World Series last year. He said he thinks the matchup is even.
"Two big clubs with bombers and different ways to beat you and getting ready to go at it," Rollins said. "It's a matter of executing. If we execute we'll win, and I believe that with all my heart. It's great. It's going to be a lot of fun. We've got Pedro Martinez. I don't think anyone is going to have to overcome what he's going to face. But he loves it, too. I spoke with him about 'Who's your daddy?' and he can't wait to come out here and hear the chants. I can't wait to come out and hear what they want to say. That's fine. They're supposed to get on me. It's their house. This is New York. This is Yankee Stadium. I look forward to a challenge."
Like Jeter said, "[Rollins] got us. This is what he wanted."
Phillies in five? Rollins gets a chance to make it happen beginning Wednesday night in Game 1.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.