Cincinnati writer calls Brandon Phillips out on his B.S.

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Brandon Phillips’ interview with MLB.com was noted mostly for his “how the [expletive] am I declining” comment, but John Fay of Cincinnati.com notes that Phillips is either lying or deluded about something else too: the source of his beef with local reporters.

Phillips is not talking to the four daily beat guys who cover the Reds because, he says, they have noted his struggles without noting that he was hit by a pitch on the wrist last June and that that injury may very well have been the source of his struggles. Fay calls Phillips’ b.s. out for what it is:

Phillips can talk or not talk. That doesn’t matter to me. There will be 24 players on the roster who will talk. But the notion that we didn’t write about his injury is blatantly false.

It was mentioned over and over again.

Fay gives examples. And, personally speaking, I remember such comments from him, Mark Sheldon, C. Trent Rosecrans and Hal McCoy, who Phillips is also boycotting.

Fay is mostly diplomatic here, talking about how Phillips may have a big year and saying that fairness dictates that reporters mention the injury as a reason for Phillips’ decline. Frankly, I think they can and should be more pointed with Phillips over this than they are, but credit to Fay and his colleagues for taking the high road.

But kudos, too, for Fay not doing what a lot of writers who deal with difficult players do, which is to remain silent and allow the player to dictate the (false) terms of a given controversy. One can and probably should let a player be delusional if he wants to be, but one should not stand by when those delusions serve to cast aspersions on others.

Good job, Mr. Fay.

Javier Baez, D.J. LeMahieu have disagreement about sign-stealing

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Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.

LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.

There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.

The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.