Pirates and Their Fans Await Phillips in Pittsburgh


Remember the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates visited GABP? Surely you at least recall the exchange between Brandon Phillips and Pirates reliever Jared Hughes. It created quite the story when BP accused Hughes of a racial remark, even taking to Twitter to vent. Andrew McCutchen played peacemaker in the process in order for BP and Hughes to engage in a phone conversation.

After the convo, Hughes was under the impression it was over. I was under that impression. I think the vast majority of us did. It was done.

But it wasn’t, at least not in a full sense of “being over”. BP made an appearance on NBC Sports Talk. Here’s the video from that appearance.

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So after this, Hughes released a statement as an answer to BP’s TV appearance.

"“In response to Brandon Phillips’ TV interview yesterday prior to the game, I feel compelled to once again make it perfectly clear that I did not make any comment with a racial undertone or connotation during our exchange on Monday night, period. While I cannot repeat everything that I said because I did swear, it is obvious when reviewing the tape that I in no way, shape or form made any remark that was in any way connected to race. It is not how I was raised and not who I am as a person.”"

Can’t say I blame Hughes for going public with this statement. Even more so considering that he thought the incident was cleared, then, he gets sold out on TV.

It’s not news that Phillips can rub people the wrong way. He’s even said a few things that have rankled even Reds fans. We’ve heard BP’s the type of guy you love on your team, but glad you don’t have to play against him…and that does not always refer to his play. He has renamed himself, in part, as “Boo” Phillips in regards to reception he now receives from the Busch Stadium crowd in light of the Cards-Reds brawl which occurred in 2010.

(Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE)

He may well want to add Pittsburgh to the list of cities where the self-proclaimed moniker will undoubtedly apply.

Hughes is of the belief that this is still an issue solely that he and Phillips should address, and that no one else should interject themselves into the fray. Considering Hughes’ popularity with his teammates, that may be an extremely tough ask. And consider the following.

The Pirates may feel there is some unfinished business with the Reds anyway. Go back to the HBP when McCuthchen was hit by an Aroldis Chapman pitch in August. Pirates fans feel the HBP was intentional. McCutchen was visibly upset just prior to the end of the game. Payback was in order, a payback the Bucs were never able to dole out due to other plunkings and warnings being issued. Prior to the beanings and warnings, the one Reds player bantered about as the “recipient” of the payback: Brandon Phillips.

Now add this matter between BP and Hughes into the mix and it makes this situation more volatile. Whether it will happen is another thing.