Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/22/13
Brandon Phillips’ latest media firestorm – he’s good for about one a year – drove home one point: The Reds may have some flaws, but team unity is not one of them. Phillips tends to say things that his teammates would never say or even think. The remark about the St. Louis Cardinals being “whiney little (blanks)” comes to mind. But when Phillips and Yadier Molina got into a spat over the remarks, the rest of the team had Phillips’ back in a big way. All for one, one for all. Next time you see a clip of that fight, watch what happens when Chris Carpenter shouts something at Dusty Baker. Usually mild-mannered Scott Rolen goes all WWE on Carpenter. Carpenter was a friend of Rolen’s. But it’s team first. Phillips’ remarks to Cincinnati Magazine about his contract hammered the team thing home again. The essence of what Phillips said was he was upset that Joey Votto got his contract before Phillips. (I thought the comments were self-centered and misdirected. Owner Bob Castellini certainly had the money to sign Phillips and Votto without “discovering a new fruit or vegetable,” but all baseball teams have a budget. It’s how management chooses to spend it.) Phillips was closer to free agency than Votto. He felt it was “a slap in the face” the Reds dealt with Votto first. Votto is the most thoughtful guy in the Reds clubhouse. He knew reporters were going to want his take on Phillips’ comments. Votto could have said he didn’t want to talk about it. He could have said he hadn’t seen the article. But what he did say was this: “Brandon’s a teammate I’ve played with six, seven years now and I love playing with him. I really have an immense amount of respect for him. Those comments have nothing to do with me. It doesn’t change a single thing. It makes me like him more, to be honest with you. Not many players are very honest, usually they give catch phrases, similar to what I’m doing right now. He’s a refreshing guy because he is honest and he does tell people how he feels. You can tell how he feels in that given moment and that’s a great thing. It’s great playing with someone like that. Variety is the spice of life, and I love playing with Brandon.”
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