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Old 08-15-2010, 07:12 PM
stevo stevo is offline
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Default Robinson: Reds' Phillips fired shot at mates, not Cards

Robinson: Reds' Phillips fired shot at mates, not Cards
BY GEORGE ROBINSON THE LEAF-CHRONICLE August 14, 2010

We all secretly love baseball brawls. We don't condone violence, but it's a lot like NASCAR, we enjoy the spectacle of the crash.

So far be it for me to poo poo the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals' "brawl" earlier this past week. I don't consider it really a brawl because there was nothing more than screaming and shoving going on (if you're name isn't Johnny Cueto).

And far be it for me to look down on the idea it should have never taken place. To say that, you'd have to conclude Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips should have kept his mouth shut when he popped off about hating the Cardinals.

Granted, Reds manager Dusty Baker said Phillips should have been a little more diplomatic about his approach in describing the defending NL Central champs and 2006 World Series winners. But Phillips wasn't fed by a Cardinals paycheck like his current teammates, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds.

Phillips is, and has always been, a Redstocking. He laid down the gauntlet on Monday, calling out the Reds' staunch rival and the team Cincinnati has been chasing for the better part of this decade.

Give the Cards credit. They answered back with an emphatic three-game sweep. But don't dismiss Phillips' rant as some sort of punk who ran his pie hole.

This is exactly what the Reds needed ... and for some time. Cincinnati hasn't been a playoff team since 1995, and hasn't been a real playoff threat since 1999. The Ken Griffey Jr. experiment didn't work out, their starting and relief pitching has been a revolving door, while the team has relied on guys like Aaron Harang as a No. 1 starter.No offense, but Harang, at best, has No. 3 stuff.

Yet, the Reds have taken flight. They've been at the top or hovering around the top of the Central race all year led by young arms like Mike Leake and Travis Wood. They entered last week's three-game set with St. Louis with a game and half lead. They walked out down a half game.

But Phillips made his point.

Forget the expletives he used, and the other team he was addressing, Phillips' comments were meant more for the ears of his teammates. It was a direct call to arms aimed at the chest of his guys.

Phillips' critics will say it backfired because it boosted St. Louis. But that's missing the point. You want St. Louis fired up. You want the Cardinals playing their best, so that when you make a statement that it has the same effect on your players.

Cincinnati didn't do that. But if the Reds are serious about this race, if they want to be in a position to win their first division crown in more than 10 years, they better pony up, or the Cardinals will walk away with another Central title.

Then Phillips' words would be in vain.

Robinson: Reds' Phillips fired shot at mates, not Cards | theleafchronicle.com | The Leaf Chronicle
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