It's not always news when a baseball player does a nicety for a beat writer who covers said player's team. But when Reds infielder Brandon Phillips ran into Cincinnati Enquirer beat guy (and Jordache jeans model) John Fay this week, Phillips' kindhearted gesture prompted Fay to blog about it:
So today on my way to the ballpark, I stopped at the Cuban place around the corner from the hotel and had a bowl of soup. When I went to pay, the waiter said it had been taken care of. Phillips was the only other person in the place.
I thanked him on my way out.
"You're welcome," he said.
We left it at that. Whether he'll talk to me or not, I don't know. But it was nice gesture.
Two questions come to mind: (a) what kind of soup was it? and (b) why aren't Fay and Phillips on speaking terms?
It goes back to spring training. We had a brief period where we were on good terms. But it blew up again when I asked him about not hustling. He doesn't talk to Mark Sheldon of mlb.com either.
Nice to rope Sheldon into the feud there. But yeah, in the world of sportswriting, 'Brandon Phillips' and 'hustle' go together like artisanal olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar: they just don't mix unless you shake them up really hard with a half-teaspoon of Dijon mustard in there for binding purposes.
Earlier this season, Phillips was called out by several scribes (including Fay) for a lack of hustle while failing to properly leg out an extra base hit. That incident prompted me to issue a call to writers that they should be careful who they accuse of a "lack of hustle". Sure, Phillips may be a brash, brawl-inducing young guy, he's also a sensitive human being who can give a guy the silent treatment when he feels he's getting bad press.
So let this serve as a warning to all you lazy writers out there: overuse these hackneyed cliches against the wrong person and you just might end up with a steaming bowl of free black bean soup.