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Brandon Phillips names his All-Swag Team

Sep 27, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

brandon phillips Getty Images

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports spoke with Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, mostly about swag. Phillips says that baseball needs more of it, saying, “That’s exactly why African-Americans don’t play baseball. [There’s] no passion in the game. You’ve got to be like a robot. Look at basketball. Look at football. When you make an exciting play, you can let everybody know. … If you get hype, get some swag, turn up, your team can feed off that.”

It’s an interesting quote, particularly on the heels of the Carlos Gomez/Brian McCann incident and the Dodgers celebrating in the pool at Chase Field, both of which received criticism from players and fans of the “old school” mentality.

Describing a player with swag, Phillips says, “He doesn’t play for himself. He plays for the fans. He plays for the city.”

Morosi then asked him to name his All-Swag Team, and it’s pretty solid:

Players to get honorable mentions included Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez, Jimmy Rollins, Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Trout, Torii Hunter, Giancarlo Stanton, as well as former Major Leaguer David Eckstein.

With the exception of Eckstein, though, there is a trend: these are all good players. Does swag lead to success, or does success lead to swag? It may be one of life’s greatest mysteries.

  1. Carl Hancock - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:15 PM

    Given the bad blood that exists between the Reds and Cards it’s cool to see Phillips say Yadi would be his choice at Catcher. Phillips has an interesting relati ship with Cards fans. He loves taking jabs at Cardinal fans. There’s a portion of the fan base that takes it seriously and hates him for it. But I’m one of those fans that just laughs and know he’s just doing to for fun to rile up fans that take things far too seriously. Had it not been for the emergence of Matt Carpenter as the best 2B in the National League I would have loved to see Phillips wear the birds on the bat, even given how much he enjoys poking fun at the Cardinals and it’s fans.

    • thomas844 - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Phillips has his moments, like his comments about the Cardinals in 2010 and his recent spat with a reporter this year, but overall, he is a cool, passionate guy who is happy to be playing the game he loves.

  2. frank35sox - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:32 PM

    The quality and interest level of posts is infinitely higher when I don’t see “Calcarerra” at the top.

    • nbjays - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:24 PM

      Yet when your name appears in the comments section, it’s just the same old shit, day after day, and the average intelligence level plummets.

  3. Kevin Gillman - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    How can Phillips leave out McCutcheon on the starter list? Come on now, he sees him play more than Adam Jones.

  4. kelshannon19 - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    He left out Johnathan Villar i see. Odd. I thought they got really close about a week ago….

  5. bkertz - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:47 PM

    Great. Let’s turn MLB into the NFL/NBA. Who doesn’t want a bunch of trash talking during the game and off the field incidents afterwards? I understand celebrating, but why do guys have to flaunt every positive play they make?

    • Anoesis - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:25 PM

      Yeah, what’s next, Jordany Valdespin’s YOLO list?

    • sandpiperair - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:18 AM

      I agree. In fact, “swag” is why I’m no longer interested in watching the NFL and NBA. And I don’t consider myself as old as that comment makes me sound.

    • yahmule - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:29 PM

      I took Phillips’ comments as being kind of tongue in cheek.

  6. hardballtalkusername - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:59 PM

    I really dislike this guy. I wonder if he thinks the swag he brings is the reason he deserves to be paid like Votto, because it sure isn’t because of talent.

    • jm91rs - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM

      Pirates or cardinals fan?

      • saints97 - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        Must be Pirates, because I think almost all Cardinal fans understand what a great player he is. He’s had a couple of instances of saying the wrong thing (who hasn’t?), but, in all, he seems like a really good guy. And he is an extremely talented player who loves what he does and it shows.

        Even as a Cardinals fan, I have no problem giving this guy his due.

  7. Anoesis - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:11 PM

    Baseball not having the constant over-the-top “look at me, I just made a tackle/five-yard run/one-yard-TD-catch” like you see in the NFL is okay by me. All that self-congratulation doesn’t make me think, “He doesn’t play for himself. He plays for the fans. He plays for the city.” It makes me think the opposite. Making all kinds of funky gang-like gestures after a first quarter TD makes me think the guy doesn’t realize there’s three quarters left to play. And don’t get me started on the constant boasting and posturing in the NBA.

    Baseball mostly has it right. To me the cool player is the one that crushes a homer, trots the bases, and lets his teammates do the jumping up and down. The pitcher that fans the side and then strolls back to the dugout like he expected that result. The guys on the bench giving the pitcher the cold shoulder when he’s flirting with a no-hitter. The grim determination of the whole team hanging on the dugout railing virtually willing a teammate to get that clutch hit. Even when a crippled Kirk Gibson hit a pinch-hit, walk-off home run to start the Dodgers on their way to an improbable WS title in 1988 over the heavily-favored A’s, all you got as he hobbled around the bases was a couple of arm-pumps.

    Nearly out-of-control exuberant celebrations are for when you’ve actually accomplished something, like win a title, not in the middle of an everyday game that is just a small step in that direction. I see plenty of passion on a daily basis in this game. To me, quiet, competent passion in doing your job efficiently and effectively beats whatever “swag” is any day of the week.

    “That’s exactly why African-Americans don’t play baseball.” Then the problem is with them, not with the game.

    • bkertz - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:14 PM


      • nbjays - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        x 1,000,000

    • eightyraw - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:34 PM

      Gang-like gestures? I’m guessing you’re white

      Also, MLB is not the only form of baseball. Bat-flips and exuberant celebrations are common in East Asia and Latin America. I find the unbridled, on-display passion to be more entertaining and engaging.

      • Anoesis - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM

        White boy from the ‘hood. I grew up in L.A. and spent quite a bit of time at my sister’s house off Manchester in Inglewood, two blocks from the Fabulous Forum.

        Gestures used to identify gang affiliation used to be subtle back in the day. There are a lot more groups than just the Bloods and the Crips now. I’m not familiar with all those relatively new “handles,” but what I see on the rare occasions I watch an NFL game don’t look much different from the guys throwing signs you could see every day of the week on street corners in Compton.

    • dan1111 - Sep 28, 2013 at 2:34 AM

      I think HOW you celebrate is a matter of personal taste, and personally I don’t mind more exuberant celebrations.

      It’s WHAT you celebrate that matters, As long as it is for the team, the fans, and the city, I don’t mind, but the problem I have with football is that at times the celebration does seem to be about the player. Silly, even pre-planned, stunts seem designed to attract attention to the individual. And celebrating when your team is far behind is the biggest example.

    • r8rnuck - Sep 28, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      Now THIS is a comment…I got tingly. I subscribe to the “act like you’ve been there” philosophy

    • yahmule - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      Who gave Brian McCann an account on HBT?

  8. chrisdtx - Sep 27, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    “With the exception of Eckstein”.

    That is some quality trolling right there, CARSH.

  9. thebigwhitecat - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Your team lacks diversity, Phillips. Only one White.

  10. earpaniac - Sep 28, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    So White and Latino players don’t have passion?

    • saints97 - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM

      You do realize that 6 of the guys on his first team are Latino, right?

  11. janessa31888 - Sep 28, 2013 at 7:40 AM

    I like to see excitement in players, but when it becomes showboating, I just roll my eyes.

  12. ndnut - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Swag was originally an acronym in Hollywood for guys trying to hide something. It actually meant “secretly we’re all gay.”

    • yahmule - Sep 28, 2013 at 12:34 PM

      Not so secretly, you’re stupid.

  13. vicksprman - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    To the above comments about race, which sport has more idiotic bench clearing brawls over nonsense? So fighting in hockey is cool right ? Throwing a 100mph fastball at someone’s head is cool right? You guys totally got this wrong. I guess football is the most watched sport because people like the purity of the game ?

    • anxovies - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      Football is the most watched sport because it appeals to people with no attention span who like to drink a lot of beer.

  14. The Dread Pirate - Sep 28, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    I find it hard to believe anybody has more swagger than AJ Pierzynski.

    • jakeshuman2 - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Nah, he’s just a dick.

  15. jm91rs - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Brandon plays the game with a different attitude than most. Traditionalists don’t like it, fans from opposing teams tend to not like it. But the dude gets paid a lot of money and I’d bet he’s having more fun than most of us are day to day, so I give him his respect.

  16. blacksables - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Then why doesn’t Phillips go play football or basketball? He can ‘swag’ to his heart’s delight, and no one will complain.

  17. jakeshuman2 - Sep 28, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    I think Phillips is right. Passion is good. I used to love watching Pete Rose play though I hated him because he was so good against my team and as arrogant as could be. He was much better for baseball than Bud Selig. I think what bothers “old school” players is when opposing players taunt them. I think they often believe showing passion is the same as taunting, especially when it’s at a critical point in a game. The fans love to see players as passionate as they are about the game. Play hard and play tough. Too much emphasis is put on acting professionally. Hey, most players are just big boys playing a game. Let the kid come out in a non-taunting manner within reason and everyone will have more fun; even the “old-school” guys who, let’s face it, sometimes act like every game is a grind.

  18. fearthehoody - Sep 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    King Felix getting respect from everyone except Seattle’s management when signing Free Agents

  19. waiverclaim - Sep 28, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    Do you need to have a good OBP to have swag?

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