Rays’ Brett Phillips wants to remind MLB that baseball is fun

Rays’ Brett Phillips wants to remind MLB that baseball is fun

The Rays have won more than any other team in the American League over the last three seasons. But in the event that they do find themselves losing—if they find themselves losing by a lot—there is no question as to what will come next. It will be time for outfielder Brett Phillips to pitch.

A certain skill set is required for a position player to become The Guy Who Pitches in a Blowout. It doesn’t matter if he has any talent for pitching. (It’s preferable if he doesn’t.) What matters instead is his comedic timing. He cannot take himself too seriously: He has to recognize this is all kind of a joke, and, more than that, he has to show that he knows precisely when to laugh. Yet he still has to make an effort: A position player on the mound is a joke, after all, but it can’t be a farce. He has to be willing to look silly but unwilling to just mail it in. He has to have fun. It is easy to find a guy who can do this once—who can’t volunteer himself for this particular brand of fun just once?—but it is much harder to find someone who can do it whenever it’s needed, no matter how bad the loss or how sour the mood, and do it with a consistent sense of joy.

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