brandon phillips Pictures, Images and Photos

Seriously… there can sometimes be too much gentile friendliness among baseball players these days.

Look, I understand that most of the ballplayers are friends now and you aren’t going to get any true bad blood between the teams. We hear how rivalries are media creations and teams don’t really care who they beat.

Yeah, as if Aaron Boone’s homer would have meant the same to the players if it beat the A’s… or the 2004 ALCS comeback would have been as sweet for the Red Sox if it were against the Twins.

Well Cincinnati is in its first REAL pennant race in over a decade. (Sorry, I am not counting the end of the 2006 season when the Reds almost backed into the playoffs because the Cardinals imploded down the stretch… even though the Cardinals went on to win the whole shebang.)

Cincinnati fans are coming back. There is reason to be excited again.
And the Reds and Cardinals are starting a TRULY meaningful series. I’m not talking about the “Can the Sox struggle back into the race” series they had with the Yankees.

I’m talking a “Two teams tied in the loss column for first place in mid August playing each other” series.

Now the midwest is supposed to be above anger, hatred and meanness (or so I have read) but Brandon Phillips is having none of it.

He threw a Molotov Cocktail in the direction of St. Louis. According to Rob Neyer (and why would he lie to me?) Brandon not so diplomatically declared “I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.

I love the caveat that he needs to compare his hatred of the Cardinals with the relatively low hatred of the Cubs. As if we ALL knew how much he hates the Cubs and we’d think “Holy Cats! He hates them more than the CUBS! Thems is fighting words!”

How much of this was show? How much of this was playing for the fans?
Who knows and who cares?

Baseball needs to let loose every once in a while. There needs to be a few Kevin Millars and David Wells and Brandon Phillips out there willing to pop off and be fun.

It’s fun, remember?

Now Millar and Wells also both came up big in games that led to a World Series title.

If Phillips comes up small down the stretch, he’ll be all talk.

But hey, at least it is fun to see this energy out of Cincy.

Keep talking, Brandon. Tell us what you REALLY think.

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Tough Red Sox question

Who would you rather see at bat in a big spot at this point?

Catcher Kevin Cash?
Or Elmo creator Kevin Clash?

Don’t answer right away… it’s a tougher question than you would think.

(Maybe I’d rather have Elmo up there.)

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Sully Baseball Honors GARRET ANDERSON

Garret Anderson was designated for assignment today by the Los Angeles Dodgers and unless a team that needs a veteran bat (White Sox? Giants? Red Sox?) picks up Anderson, his wonderful career might be over.

And like my salute to Jermaine Dye, whose career unceremoniously ended this last off season, I felt the need to pay tribute to Anderson. His career wasn’t Hall of Fame worthy, but he should always be loved by a fan base. Like Dye, Anderson drove in the World Series winning run.

He is a native of Los Angeles who played for the California Angels, Anaheim Angels AND the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In his 14 years (plus a few games) in the many incarnations of the Angels, he played more games, collected more hits, doubles and RBI and hit more grand slams than anyone in franchise history.

He was part of the 1995 Angels that came so close to a Division Title…
And he was a key member of the 2002 team that won it all…
And also was part of the 2005, 2007 and 2008 Division winners.

And he came up big in many big games.
He clocked an 8th inning game tying homer off of El Duque Hernandez in Game 2 of the 2002 Dvision Series that turned the tide of the series in favor of the underdog Angels.

And, much to my dad’s dismay, he crushed a 3 run double in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series that gave the Angels a 4-1 lead over the Giants… which turned out to be the final score.

In 2005, again against the favored Yankees, he homered in Game 3 of the Division Series off of Randy Johnson that turned a Yankee advantage into an Angels slugfest. In the clinching Game 5, he homered off of Mike Mussina and drove in another as the Yankees again finished off the Yankees.

The very next day, he homered in Game 1 of the ALCS, sending the ’05 White Sox to their lone defeat in the post season.

He was a great Angel… one of the best and #16 should be retired.

His career is worth a solid sendoff.

Perhaps he can finish the season (and his baseball tenure) back in Anaheim… or Los Angeles… OK in California where he belongs.

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