Brandon Phillips has been a good to very good player for a very long time.
He first broke into the majors all the way back in 2002 (!) with Cleveland, and became a regular in 2006 with the Reds, where his career flourished. Phillips enjoyed a 6-7 year run as one of the best second basemen in the sport, skilled both at the plate and in the field, and he was a very good player as recently as 2015.
Now 35, and with Atlanta after an offseason trade (one he originally vetoed), Phillips is looking at the twilight of his career. Now, you might think that he’d either ignore his former team or just stick to the positives, but instead he’s focusing on a perceived slight.
The infraction? The Reds gave someone else his former number:
— Derek Forrest (@DerekWLWT) June 2, 2017
“I still can’t believe that No. 4, is… someone is wearing my number,” Phillips told WLWT-TV and FoxSports Ohio. “I think that’s a slap in my face, too. But it is what it is. Man, people have their own opinions and I’m going to have mine.”
“I’m still Mr. Cincinnati, regardless of what anybody say,” Phillips told WLWT-TV and FoxSports Ohio. “I still run this piece. I’m just here to play this game and get as many wins as I can as possible against the Redlegs.”
That’s emblematic of the kind of petty, immature behavior Phillips has exhibited, including from this same series:
Before Friday’s game, Phillips declined to speak to the Cincinnati media, according to Jonathan Kerber, the Braves’ senior coordinator for media relations. As 15 members of the Cincinnati media waited for Phillips in the clubhouse in the 50 minutes it was open, Phillips waited in areas off limits to reporters while his teammates wondered why their clubhouse was so crowded.
What’d Phillips expect, that the Reds would immediately retire his jersey number?
Apparently so. This is very much like the ex who dumps you, and then immediately gets annoyed when you start dating someone else. (Okay, it’s not quite exactly like that, but I bet Brandon Phillips does stuff like that, too.)
In fairness, Phillips was beloved in Cincinnati, mostly due to his willingness to be available for fans, along with his community outreach. Those are undeniable positives, of course, but that doesn’t provide a carte blanche for dumb behavior.
Still, he’s 35, this is just who he is at this point.