Before Game 4 of the World Series, Brett Phillips of the Tampa Bay Rays was perhaps best known for his laugh. Now he’s known for getting the last laugh over the Dodgers.
Phillips, who hadn’t gotten a hit in a month and hadn’t had an at-bat since the ALDS, proved October moments don’t care whether you’re an ex-MVP like Cody Bellinger or one of the last guys on the roster like Phillips.
In a play you’ve probably seen by now — and that you’ll see for years to come — Phillips looped a game-tying hit to center field on Saturday night as the Rays were down to their final strike against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
The simple game-tying hit turned into a moment that will live in postseason lore for years to come when Chris Taylor bobbled the pick-up in center field, allowing Randy Arozarena to dash home. The Dodgers relay would have cut him down easily. In fact, Arozarena looked like he was going to get caught in a rundown and slipped. Then catcher Will Smith went for a swipe tag and the ball flew out of his mitt. Arozarena reversed course and scored the game-winning run.
If you don’t know anything about Brett Phillips, you got a great glimpse at his personality in the post-game interview with FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:
Here are some other things you should know about Phillips.
1. For real, his laugh is something else
Many people on the baseball internet first came to know Phillips as a Brewers prospect who had one of the most unique laughs you ever heard. It was infectious too. You have to watch until at least the :35 mark.
2. Phillps is another great Rays acquisition
Phillips only played in 17 games for the Rays after a late-August trade brought him over from Kansas City. He was mostly roster depth for a Rays team already headed to the postseason. He was there more for his speed and defense and less for his bat.
The Rays gave up prospect Lucius Fox to get Phillips, who hasn’t proven himself all that valuable in the big leagues before this. Now, though, he’ll always have this moment.
3. He used to play basketball with Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage
The best Brett Phillips factoid remains this one: Between seventh and 11th grade, Phillips’ neighbor was Randy “Macho Man” Savage. Not only that, but as Phillips recounted to MLB.com a few years back, they used to play basketball together and the Macho Man never let the kid win.
“It’s a funny story,” Phillips said. “Macho Man was my neighbor from seventh until 11th grade before he passed away. Every day, he’d see me riding my bike home from school and he’d call me over to play basketball. You would think one of the days, one of the games, he would let up on me, but that was not the case. I got beat every time. You know how kids are always like ‘one more game, one more game’? No, he was the one saying ‘one more game, we’re going again’ and I’d be exhausted.”
4. Now he’s in a neighborhood with Joe Carter
Who was the last person to have a walk-off hit in a World Series game with his team trailing? You definitely know that play. It was Joe Carter, whose walk-off homer in Game 6 of the 1993 World Series won it for the Blue Jays.
Before that? Another one the Dodgers know: Kirk Gibson in 1988.
We know which highlight will be played in Dodger Stadium and which one won’t.
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