Hey Cardinals Nation, I have a plea for you — stop fueling Brandon Phillips‘ fire at Busch Stadium. Stop booing the star second baseman for the Cincinnati Reds, because it has done nothing but make him a better player.
I understand he runs his mouth and you don’t like it. I know all about the fight he started nearly three years ago that ended in the ugliest way possible. You have every right to dispise him, but what is confusing me is why you continue to do the one thing he has stated numerous times only helps him play better?
He loves — loves — being booed. In his interview following Monday’s ugly loss, he once again proclaimed how the hate he receives is like a boost of super-strength.
It showed yesterday as he went 2-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. Since 2010, Phillips has ten multiple hit games at Busch — several of which have been game-altering — along with 16 runs scored. It could be argued that Phillips plays better against the St. Louis Cardinals than any other baseball team — especially at Busch.
Having a player openly talk ‘smack’ about your baseball team can be infuriating, especially if the player isn’t the greatest person outside of the diamond. I don’t think that Phillips is that reprehensible of the guy. I follow him on Twitter and he always seems to take the time to respond to fans as well as pose for pictures.
Does that mean he’s forgivable? No, but you have to think that most of what he might have to say comes with a little tounge-in-cheek. Phillips knows what he says riles the fans up and he does it in almost a playful way … most of the time. His tirade prior to ‘The Fight’ aimed at the Cardinals definitely wasn’t the smartest thing he’s ever said.
But I have to admit, to an extent, he had a point. Reading through many of the comments posted on stories about Monday’s debacle opened my eyes to why so many fans dislike him. Its proclaimed that Phillips talks too much and that isn’t ‘Cardinal Baseball’.
For the most part, it isn’t. The Cardinals have one of the most respectable organizations in all of professional sports. However, two folks immediately come to mind to contradict that image: former pitching coach Dave Duncan and starting pitcher Chris Carpenter. Both have been seen barking at opponents on many occasions, taking exception to behavior or reactions they don’t appreciate.
Yet the difference between those two behaviors is one side leaves it on the field.
It should go without saying that we live in a media-driven society, especially in the sports realm, where any sort of controversy has the tendency to be blown out of proportion by the big sports stations, sites, etc. When a player has something to say about his opponents, you can be damn sure the media will make sure everyone knows about it.
Should Phillips just keep his mouth shut and play the game? Probably. Should Busch Stadium patrons stop feeding his ego for the perceived benefit it gives to the team they root so hard for?
Hate Phillips all you want, but there has to come a time when you realize you’re reactions haven’t done your team much good.