NBC SportsTalk: Brandon Phillips confirms that, yes, Jared Hughes said something racist, but it’s all over now

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The ugly comment threads that developed following the Brandon Phillips-Jared Hughes posts yesterday were made ugly when a number of people decided — based on nothing other than their own preconceptions and prejudices, it seemed — that no, there’s no way Jared Hughes could have said something racist to Brandon Phillips. That it must be Phillips who is the racist, and he must by lying! Oh, and white folks are the real victims of racism these days.

You think that’s an exaggeration? Go back and read the comments if you have the stomach for it. I assure you, it’s not an exaggeration. People actually said that stuff.

However, Brandon Phillips went on NBC SportsTalk last night, and was interviewed by Erik Kuselias. The video is below. There are two takeaways from it:

(1) The issue is in the past, as he and Hughes talked it out, they came away with it with newfound respect for each other, and it’s over; BUT

(2) When asked point blank if something racist was said, he said yes, something racist was said (go to 1:50):

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Obviously this is over now. Phillips was surprised and understandably agitated about it on Monday night, as he noted it was the first time he had ever heard such a thing on the diamond. Despite this, Phillips is putting it in the past, made it clear that he’s not going to make a federal case out of it and wants to move on. Good for him for being so levelheaded. We should move on too.

But all of you guys who jumped to immediately scoff at the notion that something racist was said — the people who, it always seems, want to offer any remotely possible explanation for an event, however ridiculous, before acknowledging that racism still exists in this country — should take note.

It does exist, it does happen, and your desire to pretend otherwise — or, to go even further and actually claim that white people are the real victims of racism — is pretty frickin’ astounding.

Dusty Baker drops truth bombs

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Dusty Baker was fired last offseason despite leading the Nationals to 95 and 97-win seasons. This was not new for him. Cincinnati let him go after taking a miserable Reds team to back-to-back 90+ win seasons — three in the space of four years — and making it to the playoffs in his final two seasons. In both cases the team that let him go cratered as soon as he left. There are likely reasons that have nothing to do with Dusty Baker for that, but it seems like more than mere coincidence too.

I say that because every time someone gets to Dusty Baker for an interview, he drops some major truth bombs that make you wonder why anyone wouldn’t want him in charge. Sure, like any manager he has his faults and blind spots — more so in his distant past than in his recent past, I should not — but the guy is smart, has more experience than anyone going and is almost universally loved by his players.

Recently he sat down with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic to talk about life, baseball and everything, and once again the truth bombs were dropping. About the state of front offices today. About the different way black and white ex-managers and ex-players are treated. About what seems to be collusion on the free agent market. And, of course, about the state of the 2018 Nationals, who are likely to miss the playoffs despite being, more or less, the same team he led to those 97 wins last year. It’s an absolute must-read on any of those topics, but taken together it’s a “block off some time this afternoon and enjoy the hell out of it” read.

Two of my favorite passages follow. The first one is a great general point in life: always beware of people who spend more time telling you why they are successful than actually, you know, being successful.

In Cincinnati, no matter what I did or what we did — we brought them from the bottom — they were all over me, all the time, no matter what. If we won, it wasn’t winning the right way. They were like, “I don’t understand this mode of thinking.” Well, I don’t want you to understand my mode of thinking. That’s how I can beat you.

The second one is just delicious for what he does not say:

Rosenthal: Bryce Harper struggled for two-plus months. He didn’t struggle for two-plus months when you had him…

Baker: I know.

Based on the tone of the rest of the interview, in which Baker does not hesitate to say exactly what he thinks, it’s abundantly clear that he believes the Nats have messed Harper up somehow and that it wouldn’t have happened under him.

Like I said, though: there is a TON of great stuff in here. From a guy who, if you’ve listened to him talk when he does not give a crap about what people may say about him, has time and again revealed himself to  be one of the most interesting baseball figures of the past several decades.