Everyone knows That Guy. He’s the one who eats pizza with soy sauce and calls its a superfood. He’s the one who does the robot transitioning into the worm whenever he’s forced to dance. The one who played four sports in high school and still talks about it. That Guy is always the subject of water cooler talk whenever water cooler talk occurs (Does water cooler talk still occur? Can someone in the work force confirm?). That Guy makes your life more interesting simply because his is so unpredictable.

A week before Christmas, it seemed the Reds had lost their version of That Guy–or should I say Dat Dude. The deal had been confirmed, the teams were in agreement, the tweets had been sent, but…nothing. Now with the Nationals’ signing of Daniel Murphy, the Brandon Phillips trade train will sit comfortably in the station for the foreseeable future. The entire sequence of events that culminated in Dat Dude remaining a Red after breaking the story of his own trade and then refusing to waive his no-trade clause is the pinnacle That Guy moment in a career full of them.

For the past ten years, Brandon Phillips has been the Reds’ defensive savant (four Gold Gloves), at times an above average bat (one Silver Slugger), but mostly the resident clubhouse goofball. From helping revolutionize how athletes use Twitter (@DatDudeBP) to shunning all Cincinnati media, Phillips has made waves over the years, cementing his place in Reds’ folklore along the way. He’s long been That Guy for the Reds in a way only he could be. In light of recent events, I’ve tried to compile the most memorable times when Brandon was That Guy (no, the botched trade is not included because…well I don’t have a reason, it just isn’t). What follows is a list neither exhaustive nor entirely baseball focused but is most definitely #ALLREADY.

That Guy with a penchant for flipping the ball between his legs

To start anywhere other than one of BP’s many absurd defense plays would be lunacy. Dat Dude is datdude because of his fielding. It’s the reason he’s won four Gold Gloves (should be five), the reason the hashtag #ImGlovinIt exists, and the reason John Kruk has retained his job with Baseball Tonight (just go with me, it makes sense). BP is to impossible glovework as Steph Curry is to long-distance three’s. To narrow all of the highlights down to just one defining web gem just cannot be done. Or can it?

Of all the plays Brandon Phillips has made over the years, only one has been uniquely made by him. Bare-handed jump throws? Difficult, but frequent. Behind the back double play starter? Happens about once a week. No-look catch over the shoulder? Cool, but Willie Mays did it first. And don’t even ask about ricochets off the pitcher because Asdrubal Cabrera reigns king in that realm. No, the only play that is singular to Brandon Phillips is the charging, between the legs, no-look flip to first.*

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Click the picture for video

All you need to know about the play is a) Jason Bourgeious is really, really insanely fast, and b) Joey Votto’s reaction is that of  a kid who has just been told he can keep all of his Halloween candy. The magic of the play lies not in the play itself but in its circumstance. Between the legs is cool and all (basketball players do it all the time), but then you realize it’s a do or die play and BP opts for the single most difficult technical flip to execute it. Also, BP outdid himself two years later when he again flipped the ball between his legs, but this time started a 4-6-3 double play.

*Yeah, Mark Buehrle might have lucked himself into this same play a year earlier, but does a bumbling, flailing blind luck successful attempt really top the coordinated skill of BP’s play? I think not.

That Guy who went to a fan’s game…because of a Tweet

Currently at 910,000 Twitter followers, Phillips is no longer atop any most followed lists, but a few years back, he was one of the few influential athletes on the site. Phillips used Twitter to connect with fans through mostly playful banter and hosted frequent contests, giving winning fans game tickets or autographed memorabilia.

Yet, back in 2011, Phillips once again became That Guy when he attended then fourteen-year-old Connor Echols’ baseball game after the young man reached out through Twitter. Going above and beyond his contracted duty to the young fan, Phillips showed up at the game and watched Echols go 3 for 5, signing autographs for all the players afterward. Four and half years later, Phillips might have lost some of that goodwill with Reds’ fans but Connor Echols is playing baseball at Dayton so we’ll call it even?

That Guy who just really does not like the Cardinals

We all remember it: the Great Brawl of 2010. The brawl that ended Jason LaRue’s career and branded Johnny Cueto negatively for the rest of his. The brawl that saw Chris Carpenter and Scott Rolen morph into mirror images of the same scruffy, irate white guy. The brawl the Jonny Gomes ripped his jersey in (which in hindsight was probably less a byproduct of the brawl and more just because Jonny Gomes wanted to rip his jersey).

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Click image for video

Outside of the brawl’s outcomes, most of us remember it for its instigators: BP and the Cardinals’ own, Yadier Molina. Even five years later, BP’s name-calling of the Cardinals resonates with Reds’ fans. Despite the lack of fan-friendly language, Phillips’ choice words accurately described the feelings that many fans have for the St. Louis team and endeared the second baseman as that guy who cares as much as the fans do.

That Guy who refused to talk to the media

What most people forget about being That Guy is the distinction can be achieved through disgust as easily as through admiration. Being That Guy does not necessarily shield you from criticism, and sometimes it invites criticism instead. Unfortunately, Dat Dude has become all too familiar with unwanted notoriety over the years.

First, there was the incident with the Cincinnati Enquirer‘s C. Trent Rosecrans. After a pair of seemingly innocuous tweets about BP’s OBP, Phillips lit into the reporter during a post-game interview with Dusty Baker. Using some particularly choice words, Phillips became That Guy who can’t hold his tongue amidst negative claims.

Then, prior to the 2014 season, That Guy reared his head again when Phillips swore off talking to the Cincinnati media. Once again, Phillips took exception with some writing that claimed he was declining as a useful Major League baseball player. Regardless of whether the claim of deteriorating skills was factual (BP’s 2014 and the general process of aging support it) or not (his 2015 makes a convincing counter), not talking to the media because he didn’t like what they said was the grown up equivalent of BP putting fingers in his ears and shouting. And while sometimes we all wish the media would just stop talking already, BP’s way of handling criticism probably wasn’t the best.

That Guy who…well, you know things happen 

Sometimes, even That Guy can defy the already low threshold of expectations and maybe that’s why Brandon goes by Dat Dude. Over the years, BP’s antics have gotten so weird that even this column dedicated to his weird antics needs a catch-all bucket.

Remember that one time the BP tagged Jonathan Villar between his legs (I sense a theme), and Villar slid face first into BP’s posterior?


Or that time that Brandon dressed up as Devo with Shane Victorino, Justin Upton, Evan Longoria, and Giancarlo Stanton?

Photo from ESPN the Magazine via datdudebp.com

Photo from ESPN the Magazine via datdudebp.com

What about when Phillips got himself out by high-fiving Yuniesky Betancourt? They say you can’t predict baseball, but I can’t help but wonder if they ever expected someone as unpredictable as Brandon Phillips when the phrase was coined.

That Guy who had a 30/30 year after being traded for Jeff Stevens

At the end of the day, the most That Guy thing Brandon Phillips has ever done was entirely out of his control. Picked up by Cincinnati from the Cleveland Indians for the infamous player to be named later, Phillips launched his career with the Reds and became the 31st player to join the 30/30 club just one year later. That the PTBNL ended up being Jeff Stevens, a pitcher who just sniffed the bigs with the Cubs, made the trade one of the most lopsided in the history of baseball.

In the ten years that followed, Phillips has become as large a part of the Cincinnati landscape as Skyline Chili. Okay, maybe just Gold Star Chili, regardless; he loves the city and the city (mostly) loves him. Calling Reds owner Bob Castellini a liar (twice) didn’t exactly help endear BP to Cincinnati, but Phillips will always be a fan-favorite for his charisma.

Maybe this post is premature. It was initially written as a response to Phillips’ trade, and since Phillips is still a Red and looks to stay so for the immediate future, the timing might be a bit forced. But with the franchise finally (trying to) commit to moving on from the old guard, it only seems right to honor that core. Whether on the field or off, Phillips is a Red through and through, giving his all (yes, his all) to the organization and forever staying Dat Dude for an entire generation of Reds’ fans.

22 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    Nice work.
    DatDudeBP has become That Guy. Between he and Chapman, he now has forced the Reds bumbling front office to have to re-build “The Re-Build.”
    One of my favorite BP gaffs was I believe the Betancourt incident you mentioned. The time he was picked off 2B while chit-chatting with the other team’s shortstop.
    DatDudeBP probably becomes “That Guy” who now gets released. It would be a fitting end especially after this Nationals debacle. If he won’t go to a contending team that is now managed by his buddy Dusty Baker, then dynamite cannot get him to loosen his grip on the Reds roster.

    • VaRedsFan

      Maybe he didn’t go to Washington BECAUSE Dusty is there….hehe

    • Karen

      Management might as well trade Votto too. I hate to see his abilities wasted on the REDS, if he had hitters in the lineup around him pitchers would not have to easily pitch around him all the time. Pitchers would then be forced to pitch to him and his numbers would explode. All the other good REDS players were traded and MANY ended up with world series championships after they left the reds. Look at Jonny Gomes for goodness sake. Votto is a much better player and amazing 1st baseman, He should have a chance to win a world series ring along with Brandon Phillips. I’m sorry the management of the reds do not want to pay for good players or build a good championship team. THe REDS should change their status to the major league AAA team of the MLB. Since all the reds players end up somewhere else on championship teams. We have the talent just can’t keep it together. Bummer. It’s all about the money anymore not about winning. Unless your New York.

  2. DEN

    I think the “odds” of the Reds flat our releasing him are slim and none. You want total revolt by your fan base, then release this guy is bad enough, but have nothing on the books showing a return. Next year is going to be a tough season, HUGE number of fans don’t like the trades and believe that winning through building through young players at the expense of you favorite players is the way to go. Like it or not that is how the majority of Joe Fan looks at the sport. I think Brandon will be a Red till either he is traded or his contract ending.

    • ohiojimw

      I agree about the odds of Phillips being released.

      I wonder what the response of those calling for his release would be when he ended up playing for a contender while the Reds are paying all of his remaining salary except for the MLB minimum amount because that is what would likely result.

      • WVRedlegs

        A no return on BP is better than a negative return on Phillips. It might be worth $27M to rid the roster of BP and opening a 25-man roster spot for a good young 2B.
        A negative return is having BP on the 25 man roster for 2 more years, having The Re-Build stalled, and not developing the Reds new 2B. It is sheer lunacy to have BP in the lockerroom full of younger, impressionable players. His Me-me-me attitude will only grow more robust and more carcinogenic for the Reds as time passes over the next 2 years.

      • Yippee

        Big shoes for a new 2B to fill: .294 BA, 12 HR, 70 RBI, and only 68 K’s in 588 AB’s. Reds could do a lot worse and just outright cutting BP is a lot worse…

    • Chuck Schick

      The only thing dumber than most fans is a team that does things to appease said fans. If BP negatively impacts the rebuild and he is not tradable then he needs to be released. Some fans will be mad…..but they’re already mad….most have been mad since George Foster was traded.

      Everything the Reds do needs to be based on achieving success in 2018 and beyond. A portion of the fan base doesn’t understand that, but you can’t run a team appeasing the lowest common denominator. Wisely running a team isn’t about what’s popular at Price Hill Chili.

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    While I do agree with how effective he has been for the Reds. For the recent years before 2010, BP was pretty much the only reason to go watch a Reds game. There simply wasn’t much else to go watch.

    I haven’t taken to a bunch of his showboating antics. Like the toss between his legs, at least the one I am thinking of, that was entirely needless and could have cost the Reds the out on that play. If I recall correctly, he beat the runner by about 3-4 steps. If he went with a regular toss, he could have still beat the runner by 2-3 steps, hardly missing a beat. But, the chance of mis-throwing the ball by trying to go between the legs, it would have cost the Reds the out.

    I recall his “banana in the tailpipe” pick off second against the Phillies.

    I recall his self-promotion during the last year if his last contract. For those who remember, before that year, there was never that much talk about his doing anything like that, and there hasn’t been that much talk since then. Well, why all of that during that season? I believe he was self-promoting himself during that season, getting the fans to consider him as the face of the team, in order to get the FO to get him an extension, another reason why he was pouting when Votto got his extension first.

    I recall his rant against C. Trent, absolutely needless, especially to get personal about a reporter simply trying to do his job.

    And, now, he didn’t approve the trade? As far as I am concerned, it would have been an entirely stupid move by BP. He would have been playing for a manager he approves of. That manager would have most likely been playing him everyday. So, BP’s numbers would have been staying up, almost guarantee-ing (sp?) him a contract extension with someone else afterward. But, instead, he denies the trade, to play for a club who he most likely won’t be renewed by, who most likely won’t be playing him as much, keeping his numbers down and making a “solid extension” by another club less likely? And, above all, it holds back our needed rebuild. We can’t move on as well or as much until his contract expires.

    The trade was best for him, best for us, best for everyone involved. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t have approve it. That’s why I wonder just went on with it. I remember hearing a lot of different things; nothing seemed very definite. I heard BP was looking for an extension on his current contract, from someone. That would have been stupid for the teams involved. I heard BP was simply looking for some money. But, then, there’s the Reds history of making trades. For, I believe they had asked for too much in some previous trades. I heard from someone that when the Reds went calling to the Nats, the Nats asked the Reds what they wanted in return, and the Reds couldn’t answer that, taking too long to determine just what they did want in return from the Nats. With the Reds recent history in making trades, I would bank more on the Reds FO rather than on BP. But, I wouldn’t put it past BP, either, to deny the trade.

    • ohiojimw

      There is deferred money in Phillips’ contract. The Nats wanted those future obligations settled by the Reds so they would not have to assume them when they took on the contract.

      We don’t know the amount or terms of the deferred payments. We don’t know what sort of settlement the Reds offered. Thus can we really say it was in the best interest of Phillips to take the offer and accept the trade?

      • reaganspad

        I do not get why the Reds would not have paid the deferred money. That is work that he already put in for the Reds.

        Totally understand why any team trading for him would want the deferred money paid by the Reds. I do not understand why the Reds would not have jumped on that issue and it should have been taken off the table as a trade issue.

        Now if it was beyond that, paying parts of his next 2 years of service for another team to trade for him then I totally get it and agree.

        As far as Phillips in the clubhouse, It wouldn’t be an issue for me if a team captain emerged for this team. Unfortunately, Votto has never become that person and Frazier is no longer.

        If Mesoraco stays healthy, maybe he can become that player. Brandon just needs a player to keep him in check, and to date the Reds have not had that player

  4. Hotto4Votto

    Or remember that time when That Guy didn’t understand how scoring runs, or baseball works? And simultaneously threw Joey Votto under the bus (the worried about getting paid comment along with the OBP comments) and then turns around and doesn’t care about playing on a winning team but just adding years/money to his contract.

    “I don’t do that MLB Network on-base percentage (stuff),” Phillips told USA TODAY Sports. “I think that’s messing up baseball. I think people now are just worried about getting paid and worrying about on-base percentage instead of just winning the game.

    “That’s the new thing now. I feel like all of these stats and all of these geeks upstairs, they’re messing up baseball, they’re just changing the game. It’s all about on-base percentage. If you don’t get on base, then you suck. That’s basically what they’re saying. People don’t care about RBI or scoring runs, it’s all about getting on base.

    • RedsFaninPitt

      Any thoughts on a possible trade to the D-Backs? My understanding is that they are still interested. This is the only trade possibility still out there. Does anyone know if he has definitively said if he reject any trade to the D-Backs? They have several infielders that I think could help the Reds now and down the road – Brandon Drury, Isan Diaz and Sergio Alcantura. Since 2016 is down the drain, the Reds should do what it takes to maximize the return – take on a large portion of Phillips contract, take on Hill’s remaining contract, and/or pay Phillips a few mil. to accept the trade. Phillips was a very good player, but he is now just a good player who has no long-term future with the Reds and should be looking to maximize the benefits at the twilight of his career – which wouldn’t be with the Reds.

      • TR

        After nixing the trade to the Nationals, a team on the brink of the WS and led by his former manager, I doubt Phillips will ok a trade from the Reds. He’ll serve out his two remaining years, get his deferred money, and what comes after that is his choice.

      • RedsFaninPitt

        Hope you’re wrong, but you may be right. At some point, you would think that he would read what others are saying about his value and determine that his best window to win and perhaps get some additional cash from Reds to in the process is to leave now for a team that will compete in the NL west .

      • ohiojimw

        Another way of looking at this is that the Reds could agree to live up to the contractual obligations they made, in which case Phillips would probably agree to a trade.

        Whatever the deferred sum is, it is guaranteed in the contract and the contract is a guaranteed contract. The Reds owe him the money unless he agrees to waive their obligation.

        I think it reasonable to believe that the sum of money involved could be quite large even in baseball circles. Otherwise, why wouldn’t the Reds have just sent it along to the Nats to resolve the deal?

  5. jim t

    This is a business decision for BP. I’m sure when he negotiated his extension to include a no trade clause in it he had to give up something to get that included. Its how contracts are negotiated. To say give that up because we now want to trade you is not going to happen. All this, he can go play for a winner is speculation. Washington was supposed to win last year as well. How did that turn out?? If the reds and gaining team want to move him they will need to satisfy his demand which I’m sure is a extension on the back end of this deal and may include a payment of deferred money. Another perk he gave the reds to sign him. He knows his playing days are nearing a end and he wants to get as much revenue as he can. Really can not fault him for that. Ownership and Players understand this is a business.

    • TR

      And the New York Mets were not supposed to win last year. And how did that turn out?

  6. Creigh Deeds

    Datdude need to be 3b in 2016, then a bench player who can pinch hit in 2017.

    • DEN

      Bench players don’t make what he is making. He will be the second basemen for the Reds until he is either traded (which is on the Reds, not Brandon) or his contract is up. What is best baseball wise isn’t always what a franchise does.

  7. Scott

    Baseball rumors is saying the Reds and Yankees are close to a deal for Chapman.

  8. james garrett

    I hope both parties give some and work it out.Hate to see BP stay under these circumstances because it won’t serve anybody any good but it is a business so we will see how it unfolds.