Cincinnati star second-baseman Brandon Phillips is an honest player and an honest person who tells it like it is. So says teammate Joey Votto, who added that he likes that about Phillips, even when that honesty reflects badly on him.
After an interview with Cincinnati Magazine ('Brandon Phillips is The Most Entertaining Player in Baseball: And he's got a nice smile, too") it could be understood if Votto took umbrage at Phillips quotes implying Votto was boring and overpaid and that he, Phillips, took a "slap in the face" from Reds management so they could sign Votto.
Brandon Phillips: "Plain Jane Joey"
Phillips signed a six-year $72.5 million deal last year, that only days after Votto, the 2010 MVP of the NL, got an extension that will see him make some $225 million over 10 years. "For (Reds management) to do something like that and tell me they didn’t have any more money, that’s a lie. But what can I do? I just feel like it was a slap in my face. But how can someone slap you in the face with all that money? It’s a nice slap in the face.”
That might have offended Votto a little, but what should have really ticked the slugging Canadian first-baseman off was what Phillips said about Votto's style and personality: “Joey doesn’t really have a personality. He just goes out there and plays," Phillips said.
"He’s just Joey, you know what I mean? Plain Jane Joey. I hit the ball, I catch the ball, and I make money—that’s Joey. But I bring excitement to the game. I make it interesting. And my teammates love that.”
Joey Votto: Variety the spice of life
Maybe it's that nice guy Canadian image that keeps Votto from firing back, but whatever it is, Votto, 7th in the NL in hitting (Phillips is 40th) not only wasn't bothered by the remarks — he liked them.
"I love playing with him. I really have an immense amount of respect for him," Votto said about the Phillips interview. "Those comments have nothing to do with me. It doesn’t change a single thing, it makes me like him more, to be honest with you.
"Not many players are very honest, usually they give catch phrases, similar to what I’m doing right now. He’s a refreshing guy because he is honest and he does tell people how he feels. You can tell how he feels in that given moment and that’s a great thing. It’s great playing with someone like that. Variety is the spice of life and I love playing with Brandon."
So one player is ticked off after signing a contract for $72.5 million, so much so that he calls it a "slap in the face," while the other isn't ticked off, in fact seems to like, being called "Plain Jane Joey" and someone "who doesn't really have a personality."
Cincinnati Reds fans likely don't care, given their team is right now in a position for a wild card berth, how much money which player makes, or who does or doesn't have an excitable personality. But if salvos like this were to continue and the team dropped out of contention?
For fans, it might be a slap in the face.