Well, at least Brandon Phillips' mouth works...
For reasons unknown to anyone but him, the Cincinnati second baseman popped off against the Cardinals last night for the second time this season. He called St. Louis players -- and he was specific to mention that he meant ALL St. Louis players -- are whiny and worse. Let's just say that I can't print some of the language in this particular forum.
Earlier this season, Philips was asked about whether he was surprised to find the Reds leading the National League Central by one game. He said the only surprise was that his club wasn't leading by more and that it soon planned to bury the Cardinals. It wasn't long after that when the Redbirds resumed their leadership of the division.
I don't know if this is really how Phillips feels or if it was some sort of misguided effort to rally his team. It didn't seem to work very well. The Reds were steamrolled by the Cardinals Monday night and Phillips contributed an 0-for-5 line in the box score next to his name.
If I was one of his teammates, I'd be pretty irritated with Phillips right now for providing a sometimes listless Cardinals team with bulletin board material to motivate it. The Cardinals are widely believed to have superior talent to Cincinnati, but St. Louis has seemed unfocused and unmotivated at times. Does Phillips want to wake up the sleeping giant?
It's also a pretty stupid move to indict the whole Cardinals organization when former Cardinals Russ Springer, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, Miguel Cairo, Mike Lincoln and soon Jason Isringhausen are now in the Reds locker room. Most of those guys were parts of at least one St. Louis World Series team. They have to realize how bush league it makes Phillips seem when the Reds haven't been in the playoffs since 1995.
I guess the Cardinals are the team to hate because of their success over the last decade plus. But are they worse than the Brewers pulling their choreographed home run celebrations and their shirt untucking gimmick or the Cubs' have their silly song and their overzealous (to put it nicely) fan base.
I guess this is one of those instances where it is better to be feared and respected than liked. I just hope the Cardinals blow up Phillips' quotes to poster size and make them their rallying cry for the last quarter of the season. This could be just the thing they've needed.