Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips on and off-field antics have rankled a segment of loyal fans.
“He’s obviously enjoying himself, just having the time of his life. And it’s all the time,” said longtime fan Hub Shitler of St. Petersburg. “That’s downright disrespectful to those of us who have made a tradition of being miserable about everything this team does.”
“I’ve been a die-hard fan of being mad at the Rays ever since they made the huge mistake of trading the legendary Bubba Trammell to the Mets back in 2000,” said Louella Finslow of Gulfport. “This kid seems to be oblivious to the heritage of people who live here hating on this franchise.”
When she was asked who Bubba Trammell is, she replied, “Exactly.”
Another fan who agrees with the sentiments of Shitler and Finslow is Reggie Glink of Clearwater. “It’s like he doesn’t know that the Trop sucks or our owner is cheap or that Kevin Cash singlehandedly blew the World Series last year. That, or he just doesn’t care about those things. I don’t know which is worse, but either way it’s highly insulting to those of us who only focus on those things.”
“What I worry about is the kids,” said Maggie Crumbleton of Pinellas Park. “How are impressionable youngsters supposed to act when they see this guy not acting like a spoiled, sullen millionaire who wishes he was anywhere but here? Children are watching!”
Yet another miserable fan is Doug Handwich of Largo, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase ‘MERLOT JOE’, who said, “He’s always smiling because he enjoys his teammates, the fans and just playing the game itself. Who the hell does he think he is?”
“Whatever happened to real ballplayers like Gerald Williams, Vinny Castilla and Pat Burrell? Guys who hated being here and weren’t shy about expressing that,” he added. “These punks today just don’t get it.”
The Rays are currently 74 and 47, in first place in the American League East Division, five games ahead of the second place New York Yankees. Phillips is hitting .217 with 10 home runs, two of which were inside-the-park homers last week.
“Yeah, well, you know the old saying, ‘Winning Isn’t Everything’? They’re talking about fans like us,” said Finslow.