That’s the less-than-charitable headline used by MLB.com about Brandon Phillips’ brain cramp this weekend when he decided to admire his blast rather than run…and he ended up getting thrown out at second as a result:

For a few moments on Friday, Brandon Phillips thought he had become a 30-30 player.

The lapse of judgment proved costly.

With a runner on first base in the fifth inning vs. the Brewers, Phillips hit a drive that appeared to be headed over the right-center-field fence. He was in a slow home run trot and rounding first base by the time he realized the ball had bounced off the wall.

“I didn’t get all of it, but I thought it had enough,” Phillips said on Saturday afternoon.

The Brewers, trailing 5-2 at the time, easily threw Phillips out at second base and he was credited with a single. Cincinnati didn’t score in the inning and barely held on to win the game by a 6-5 score.

Back in the dugout, Phillips approached interim manager Pete Mackanin before anything had to be said to him.

“I apologized about it,” Phillips said. “That wasn’t really like me. I’ve been hustling all year. It cost us a run, too. That’s what ticked me off more than anything. A play like that could have cost us the game. I’m glad we won the game because I would have been really ticked off.”

John Fay had a couple of items about the flap over the weekend, as well, so I thought I should highlight it. This isn’t the first time BP has done something like this in 2007, but I can’t get too worked up over it. He learned his lesson.

While Phillips might be the most overrated player in the Cincinnati lineup, he’s still a very good player, and he’s had a good (if not great) season. I’m looking forward to watching Phillips at second in Cincinnati as part of an exciting young lineup for the next several years.

9 Responses

  1. Sultan of Swaff

    The intriguing part of the quote was when he said he didn’t want to fall into the same category as some other people. Griffey apparently was a bit perturbed. Boo hoo. Phillips one time brain cramp shouldn’t tar him as a guy that doesn’t bust ass. His phenomenal range at 2b is evidence of that. On the other hand, anyone whose ever watched Griffey play (I sat behind him Saturday night) knows that 90% of the time he doesn’t even take his hands off his knees when the ball is pitched. That easily translates into a couple first steps on a ball hit to you. Of course, in the article, Griff covers his ass by big-timing BP over the disparity in their career home run totals–like that makes it OK (hell, maybe it does). Nothing new here really, it just reinforces the notion that Griffey is not a leader, but rather a talented piece of the puzzle.

  2. Chad

    Not to disagree with the thrust of your comment, but this wasn’t a “one-time” thing with Phillips. I can think of at least two other times he’s done this, once right after Edwin was benched for not hustling (that’s why we took note of it at the time).

    Doesn’t really bother me, though, as long as he produces. Same with Griffey. Just my opinion….

  3. Shawn

    If there is a good reason for trading Griffey (as opposed to Dunn, for purposes of making room for Bruce) this is it. Griffey doesn’t hustle, never has, and as a veteran it sets a bad example. And, as Phillips showed, the other players know it. A player with Griffey’s talent (or Phillips’) can get away with it, but it does hurt the team. Griffey’s range has always been less that was widely believed, even when he was winning Gold Gloves, and Sultan illustrates a big reason why.

  4. Chris

    “Hustle” is the third rail of Cincinnati sports.

  5. GregD

    Unfortunately, too many times, speed is mistaken for hustle.

    A slower player would have been stuck at 1st base on this play and “booed” for their lack of hustle. A lot of times the faster player can still make it to 2nd (as Phillips has done on similar plays earlier this season), but turn what should be a stand-up double into a very close play. The faster player will make it and get commended on their “hustle”. In reality, it was the lack of hustle that put them in the close predicament and their speed that helped them make it to the bag.

  6. Sultan of Swaff

    Do pitchers hustle??? That is to say, does a pitcher with an above average amount of ‘want-to’, the guy with the extra bit of fuel in reserve for late inning jams, have more success? Can you detect a lack of hustle in a pitcher?

  7. Sultan of Swaff

    Good comment Shawn, the other players know he doesn’t hustle, and there hasn’t been a manager yet who has taken him to task, including Piniella. He’s the epitome of the two sets of rules standard in the clubhouse.

  8. Chris

    This is my exactly point — the “hustle” debate is 90% style over substance.

    I could give a crap if Griffey hustles. Honestly. The guy has legs made of glass. I don’t need him running around like Ryan Freel. I’d rather have him in the lineup.

    As Reds fans especially, we’ve had it beaten into our heads that the “hustling” player is somehow morally superior. While I made it a point to always bust my a$$ on the field (and still do in softball), I’ve gotten a lot less critical of that kind of thing in professional athletes. Yeah, it’s annoying to watch. Yeah, Griffey may cost the team a run or two over a season by not running all the time, but I’ve also stopped seeing it as something that’s “important,” per se. (The EE situation in Phoenix early in the year, for example — mountain out of a molehill and completely counter-productive).

  9. Shawn

    Well, there’s running around like a wild man, like Freel, and there is sensible hustle. Griffey, on the other hand, is doggin’ it all the time. I do not ascribe any kind of moral fiber to those who hustle….how reprehensible is Pete Rose’s character?….but I do like to see a semblance of effort on the ballfield. Now, I don’t expect Junior to run into any walls, or anything like that. Just paying attention while on the field would be nice.

    I hustle a lot on the ballfield. Trouble is, with my speed you could time me with a sundial. A coach once told me to “run harder.” I told him I was running as hard as I could, it was just that my legs didn’t move very fast.