Around the League: Forbes’ Houston-Sized Mistake, Brandon Phillips’ Tirade, More

mlb logoA handful of interesting bits from around baseball as the final month approaches …

  • Remember that Forbes article that concluded the Houston Astros were going to be the most profitable team in baseball this year (indeed, as profitable than the last six World Series winners combined)? Many of us were immediately suspicious, and now it has largely been refuted … by Forbes. Maury Brown points out that the former Forbes article suffered from a number of factually inaccuracies, and drew some specious conclusions. The primary issue stems from that $80 million per year TV contract, which comes from a regional sports network that is hemorrhaging money … and is owned in large part by the Astros. Indeed, Brown reports that CSN Houston has actually had to ask its owners for money to keep things going. Colin Wyers at BP similarly takes the original Forbes story to task. I don’t know what protocols were in place before the original article was vetted and published, but this kind of massive error calls into question all of Forbes’ financial reporting with respect to Major League Baseball teams. These are private entities that aren’t going to open their books for Forbes, which has to do a lot of guesswork and estimating. If they were this wrong on Houston, how much confidence do you have in their previous report that the Cubs were the most profitable team in 2012?
  • Brandon Phillips is probably not a nice guy. Whether it’s (indirectly) ripping on Darwin Barney for his Gold Glove win, or calling his $75 million extension from the Reds a “slap in the face,” Phillips freely shares what’s on his mind. While that may, itself, be a laudable trait, if you’ve got bad things on your mind, it’ll come back to bite you. So it was the other day in the Reds’ clubhouse, when Phillips took issue with beat writer C. Trent Rosecrans making mention of his low OBP. Phillips exploded at Rosecrans (while Dusty Baker looked on, refusing to intervene) in a video you can see here. Phillips repeatedly calls Rosecrans a “fat motherf****r.” It’s actually quite awful.
  • Will Leitch writes about the incident, and notes – unfortunately accurately – that Phillips will probably come out of this smelling just fine, while Rosecrans may actually be the recipient of additional fan ire, even though he was the victim. Candidly, I don’t think a player should be able to speak to the media this way – relating with the media is a part of the job, because it’s one of the conduits through which fans experience and appreciate the game – and I think Phillips should be punished.
  • It seems like it isn’t discussed as much, and it feels a little untoward to speak too loudly of it when a young pitcher goes down – as Matt Harvey just did – but Russell Carleton does the dirty work the rest of us merely think about: did the Mets put Harvey at a greater risk for injury by letting him throw too many pitches this year? You can’t really draw a conclusion from one case, but the answer sounds like a maybe. Carleton has found that there is a statistically noticeable connection between pitcher injuries and having previously thrown a number of games of more than 115 pitches. If you want to oversimplify and apply to the Cubs, that’s the line of demarcation at which you pretty much don’t want to see any Cubs pitchers on the over side – even the “durable” ones.
  • The extensive scouting history of Cuban Jose Abreu.
  • The Indians have acquired Jason Kubel from the Diamondbacks for a “fringe” prospect, and the Diamondbacks are paying the rest of Kubel’s salary. Meh. The Cardinals have acquired John Axford from the Brewers for a PTBNL. Heh.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

99 responses to “Around the League: Forbes’ Houston-Sized Mistake, Brandon Phillips’ Tirade, More”

  1. Jon

    More pathetic than Phillips is Baker just looking on smiling..what a worthless f’n person, in addition to being a worthless manager. I hate that mans existence.

    1. Spriggs

      Just pitiful. I guess a manager isn’t really the boss and shouldn’t be expected to be responsible at all for how his players act in the clubhouse? Sitting there smiling is just not the right message – even if he does call Phillips out later (which seems very unlikely).

      1. DocPeter Wimsey

        Isn’t it the manager’s job to stick up for his players? I am not a huge Dusty fan be ause of the OBP issue, but this is a case where anything the manager does will get somebody to say that his job was to do something else.

        1. TWC

          I can only imagine how folks’ heads would have exploded in rage had Sveum called Castro to task for belittling a reporter in a similar fashion. (“But Dale should stick up for his players!” “Throwing Castro under the bus!” etc.)

          1. TWC

            That being said, Dusty is still a jagload.

            1. Eternal Pessimist

              Big, big jagloads (manager and player).

              I don’t blame Dusty for not addressing it at the time, but Phillips is pretty stupid for having it out like this in front of his manager…in a sense, he put his manager under the bus by doing this publicly with him present in the room.

              Privately I would let Phillips have it. Rooting against St Louis is getting harder since I want Dusty, Phillips and the rest of the Cinci jagloads to suffer.

              1. cubspong

                Agreed. I have come to dislike the Reds much more than the Cardinals.

            2. Stevie B

              I cringed when we named him manager.
              In regards to Phillips, I defer to the old adage, “if you don’t have anything nice to say……”

        2. Spriggs

          I don’t know… Is it really so different than other management jobs and manager/employee relationships that most people deal with everyday? It’s not just about sticking up for your employees all the time and being their buddies. Especially when they are so far off base. Having an employee start lipping off to a vendor in your building or something like that (in front of others) simply could not just be grinned away.

          1. hansman1982

            I think one of the questions that needs to be asked is what kind of history does Rosecrans have with the team? Has he consistently been an instigator? If so, I think a great number of managers would gladly sit back and let him get blasted for a few seconds.

            1. Spriggs

              Good point.

            2. cubzfan23

              Nope not the right message to send.

            3. Matt Snyder

              No, he hasn’t. Most players really like him. In fact, I used to work with Trent and we were able to break the news of Ken Griffey Jr.’s son going to Arizona first b/c Junior texted him with it before anyone else.

            4. Chef Brian

              C’mon, were not talking about kids here. This exchange didn’t happen on a school yard or at a bar causing a booze filled tirade. A journalist that was doing his job asked a reasonable question to a ball player. He didn’t say “Hey you lame piece of s***, why can’t you get on base?!” So Phillips in true diva fashion decided to show up a reporter with a litany of curses and insults. The fact that he did it in front of his manager further cements Baker’s faults as a manager that plays favorites amongst his players and holds no one to any sort of reasonable code of conduct. We all deal with people at work we don’t like or are annoyed by. When is it ever acceptable to unleash a volcanic temper tantrum in front of the whole work place? Dusty should have defused the situation immediately and dealt with Philips privately. Too often celebrities with the label of being “out spoken”, “honest”, or speaks his “mind” , receive a lot more rope to hang themselves strictly for entertainment value. It’s a shame and as a representative of his franchise, he owes the team and the fans more than his infantile behavior.

        3. DarthHater

          The manager helps his player by assisting him in not acting like an utter asshole in public. God forbid that anyone these days should make a civilized interjection, such as: “This is not the proper time, place, or manner to make your point, Brandon, and calling someone a fat motherf****r is never appropriate.

          1. jon


          2. Jason

            Like and +1. And any other affirmations I could possibly provide. Well said, DH.

      2. EQ76

        Don’t forget to add in the douchebag announcer the Reds have too..

    2. DarthHater

      Hey Brandon? You’re a dumb, sociopathic motherf****r. And Dusty? You’re a cowardly motherf****r. That is all.

    3. Cubswin

      I think Brandon is an asshole for doing that but hard to blame dusty for not doing anything. He jumps in to defend the writer and god forbid him and Phillips then argue in front of everyone, it would be on the front page that those two don’t get along etc etc. Lose lose scenario for dusty, he should be pissed Brandon got him in the middle of it.

    4. arta

      agree, dusty is a jerk

    5. waittilthisyear

      my hate for nick friedell, the bulls beat reporter, has left me jaded towards beat reporters. Brandon Phillips gets a lot of hate around here, but i know people in Cincinnati say he is active and great in the community and a really nice guy to boot. he is probably just a dummy. i saw some photos of him where some kid tweeted (i hate typing that word) phillips asking him to come to his little league game, and BP showed up w/o informing the press or making a deal about it. it only came out because a parent snapped some shots.

      his shots toward barney stunk of sore loser though

      1. miggy80

        I work in the wholesale HVAC industry and there is a company in town (service legends) that “gives back to the community” yet they scam, lie, cheat and steal from most of their customers. We have a saying around here for those guys. You can put lipstick on a pig, but you still got a pig.

        1. waittilthisyear

          a company and an individual are not really comparable. i doubt brandon phillips steals stuff from his fans. that’s a different red (chris leake, i believe haha)

          1. On The Farm

            The Flordia QB Chris Leak?

            1. TWC

              Mike Leake

              1. waittilthisyear

                thats the one. stole some tshirts from target or something? what a pud

  2. miggy80

    Hey Brandon Phillips never miss a golden opportunity to KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT!

  3. ETS

    Who do you think should punish Phillips? Baseball? The Reds? Dusty?

    1. Daniel

      Yea…any or all

      1. 70'scub

        Best response is for management to be quiet and to try and get value for him in a trade before he becomes a free agent. Dusty was smart to be quiet I bet if he says anything the situation gets out of control and he loses his 2nd baseman to a major suspension. This is a player that can’t be managed, the back half of his extension and/or contract will be as good as dead money.

        1. TWC

          “This is a player that can’t be managed…”

          Ryne Sandberg could manage him. Ryne Sandberg could manage ANYONE.

          1. cubzfan23

            Smartass response!

            1. TWC

              Exclamation point!

            2. DarthHater

              Smartass response to smartass response!

          2. mjhurdle

            Ryne Sandberg + Brandon Phillips + 2013 Cubs = World Series.

            1. hansman1982

              Hell, Ryno + post-Lou 2011 Cubs = WS Champs.

    2. Cyranojoe

      Smartest for everyone would be for Dusty to do it.

  4. bbmoney

    Yeah those Forbes stories always have to be taken with a grain of salt. They aren’t gospel, they not have many internal financial figures for any private entity including mlb teams. Too many assumptions involved to assume they are right.

  5. Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

    Wow I don’t mind when players and reporters get chippy with each other but what hell is wrong with you Brandon Phillips? He crossed the line and was over the top. In the middle of the frickin press conference with everyone there was completely unprofessional and uncalled for. If he’s going to mouth off like that do it in private and talk to each other.

    1. Losing makes u better 62-100 > 75-87

      I usually hate when Bud Selig fines people but should definitely fine Brandon Phillips. Terrible role model for kids

  6. hansman1982

    “but this kind of massive error calls into question all of Forbes’ financial reporting with respect to Major League Baseball teams.”

    Nah, that’s not allowed.

  7. Carew

    Man, Phillips is a DOUCHE. When are people going to realize this?

  8. SalukiHawk

    I think it’s painting with too broad a brush to say athletes should never be allowed to talk that way to the media. Let’s face it…some media guys are DBs. Jim Gray/Pete Rose. Jim Rome/Chrissy Evert. Just like some umpires, some media types go out of their way to be provocative and stir the pot. That having been said, Rosecrans asked a legitimate question, which, if Phillips didn’t want to answer, he could have refused, or just said “no comment.” There was absolutely nothing regarding the content or tone of Rosecrans’ statement that was out of line. And I agree, I think MLB should step in here with a fine. I am not always on the side of the media, but there’s no question here Phillips’ actions and words were beyond the pale.

    1. Cyranojoe

      Note that Phillips was reacting to at least one if not a series of articles/tweets calling him out. I haven’t found the offending items, but I’ve seen Reds fans ripping into Rosencrans for his “cheap shots”. Not that it excuses Phillips’ brutish/bully behavior. But a little more context may help us understand WTF is going on over there.

      1. macpete22

        He didn’t even call him out. He just said his on base percentage was 20 points lower in the 2 hole

      2. Matt Snyder
  9. hansman1982

    “If you want to oversimplify and apply to the Cubs, that’s the line of demarcation at which you pretty much don’t want to see any Cubs pitchers on the over side – even the “durable” ones.”

    Here is an interesting study (that I really wish they would have shared their raw data on):

    The conclusion was that each pitch in a game adds .007 ERA to the next performance.

    Also, there is this interesting tidbit:

    “Rest days do not appear to have a large impact on performance.”

  10. King Jeff

    Can’t really blame the Mets for Harvey without pointing a finger at North Carolina where he was consistently throwing 130 pitches a game.

    1. DocPeter Wimsey

      I think that we also have to start considering that modern starting pitching is simply difficult to survive. Before closers, starters used to pace themselves to go 9 innings. One of the big transitions for a lot of younger starters who had spent time doing long relief was to do that: if they started a game throwing the way that they did when they came in the 5th or 6th inning, then they would be toast by the middle of the game.

      There isn’t any going back: teams that have good starters go full throttle for 7 innings and then have a bullpen of any worth and an offense that is average or better are going to win more games than teams who have (otherwise) equally good starting pitchers pace themselves with identical offense. Those teams might pay the price next year, but they make post-season now. However, soft-tissues are not going to magically become more durable!

      1. TWC

        “I think that we also have to start considering that modern starting pitching is simply difficult to survive.”

        Robots, dude. We need to field robot pitchers.

      2. jt

        Spahn had a life 4.4 K/9 rate sans the DH.
        there was a reason for those who flashed leather up the middle but swung a banjo at the plate.

  11. DarthHater

    Okay, instead of “talk that way to the media,” Brett probably should have said “talk that way to journalists.” That would rule out Jim Rome and his ilk.

  12. Funn Dave

    Wow. I always knew Phillips was bitter about Barney’s GG, but…what an asshole. Maybe it’s a good thing that my work browser won’t let me watch the video.

    1. Funn Dave

      And just for the record, I have more or less no problem with the cursing–it’s calling someone fat specifically that’s completely irrelevant and uncalled for.

  13. TSB

    I think most ballplayers have at one time or another wanted to react this way to some of the silly questions the press asks them. In this case, a player that has driven in almost 100 runs, plays either the best or (second best 2B) in the league, and is on a contending team, and some smug reporter implies that “you stink, you have a lousy OBP!” Why it almost sounds like one the Cub fans posting here!

    1. DarthHater

      He said: “Reds go from a hitter with a .320 OBP in the 2 hole to one with a .310 OBP” How does that equate to: “You stink?”

      1. DarthHater

        Not to mention that it’s perfectly possible to stink and have 100 RBIs, especially if you have a shitty OBP. :-P

        1. hansman1982

          Just because I am a nerd, I ran correlations (from 2012) between RBI and AVG (.323), OBP(.431), SLG (.806) and wOBA (.716).

          A. A good OBP is NOT required for a lot of RBIs
          B. RBIs are worthless to describe how good a player is at getting on base
          C. I love it how AVG doesn’t correlate very well with anything.

          1. TWC

            “I love it how AVG doesn’t correlate very well with anything.”

            Other than blog comments, you mean.

  14. gratefulled

    I didn’t think that I could hate the Reds, Dusty Baker, and Brandon Phillips more than I already did, but I now realize that there was much more hate in my heart for that bunch of f*cking losers. Way to keep it gangsta, dog.

  15. Eric

    Dusty should have forcefully told Phillips to excuse himself and then square up the reporter. That is what a good manager would have done.

  16. Dustin S

    It never fails that every so often when time starts to fade my negative memories of Dusty Baker, that he does or says something that reminds me of why I was so happy the Cubs dumped him. What Brandon Phillips said was horrible, but he is saying that in front of his manager because Dusty condones it. That makes him just as if not more responsible for building a team that thinks that behavior is ok. I just feel bad for the beat writer that is stuck in a job reporting in what appears to be an awful situation.

  17. jon

    whoever pooped in Dusty’s dugout spot, should be given the medal of honor

  18. Steve

    Hey Hey Holy Mackeral the Cubs are on their way!!!!!

    1. Bilbo161

      No doubt about it!

  19. Bilbo161

    Well my mother always used the saying “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”. Not that she would approve of this really bad behavior. But, it should not provoke more bad behavior either.

    Dusty? He was in a bad place there. He really had no good options so he tried to stay out of it. Actually think that is an improvement over when he was the Cubs Manager. He actually caused more trouble defending his players and himself from well deserved criticizm from the folks in the TV booth with the end result that th broadcast team was sent packing. Maybe he learned something from that.

    1. Spriggs

      His answer was a silly big grin. One of his options was simply to ask Brandon to cool it for moment… and let him know this ain’t the place for outrageous douchbaggery in front of the world to see. And if necessary, then get up and walk Brandon away — for his own good.

  20. Bails17

    With all of the descrimination law suits out there, doesn’t this beat writer have some sort of civil case against BP?

    Come on you lawyers..Brett included. What is the difference in descrimation of sexual preference, race, religious beliefs and call a guy a Fat M—–F—–?

    1. Spriggs

      I think he threw in a “not that there’s anything wrong that” afterwards, so he should be OK as far as DESCRIMINATION is concerned.

      1. hansman1982

        HA! Great Seinfeld episode.

  21. Jono

    Phillips is a good guy. We all make mistakes and speak our mind when we probably shouldn’t. We all make mistakes. But he’s very nice to people on a daily basis. Even the nicest people sometimes have their moments. He may have a short temper and makes mistakes with saying things he shouldn’t, but he really is a good guy.

    1. DarthHater

      Glad to hear it. If he’s such a good guy, I look forward to reading his sincere, non-lawyer-written apology for calling someone a fat motherf****r because they stated an objective fact about his batting statistics.

      1. Jono

        I’m sure he’s already apologized, but we may never know.

        But I do know for a fact that he’s a really good guy day to day when dealing with people. Go to one of his signing events and meet him, find out in person.

        1. DarthHater

          Is it okay if I mention his OBP?

          1. Jono

            what’s your body fat index?

            1. DarthHater

              Dunno, but it definitely has gone up a little in the past month or so. … I know my belly fire index is pretty good! :-P

        2. bbmoney

          I don’t think you’re sure of that. Especially considering you admit that we may never know.

          I have no idea if Phillips is generally a good guy or not. But his actions yesterday were totally unacceptable.

          1. Jono

            There might be 3 people in the entire world who know whether or not he apologized.

            1. Jp3

              I disagree Jono, I think if he apologized he’d make sure everyone heard it because he’d hate to lose points in his image. No way he blew up like that and not want everyone to hear “how sorry he is”.

      2. Jp3

        +1 Darth, I would bet $100 that it will be the most lame, insincere apology in the history of apologies (next to Ryan Braun’s of course). That’s a Riley Cooper type rant on an overweight person without Brandon being liquered up, what’s his excuse?

    2. Sandberg

      Mr. Phillips, is that you?

  22. FastBall

    I found this to be just as humorous as Dusty. Rosecrans is not a good reporter. I work about 100 yards from that stadium and read everything this guy writes. He is lucky to not have a couple black eyes and crooked nose. The context of the situation is not apparent here. Only a question and an obviously pissed off player. If someone like a reporter wants to get up on a guy when he is pissed off he might want to check himself before doing so. Directly after a game emotions fly high with athletes. Not condoning Phillips vulgarities by any means. Maybe Rosecrans had something coming to him. I don’t think you fine Phillips for telling him off. Maybe the ownership needs to bring him in for a talk about how he want off. But if I was the owner or GM or someone up on High I would have a talk with that reporter as well because he needs a talking too. My position as the GM/Owner would be this: You want to be a negative reporter who just dishes up all the mud you can find on my team then maybe you should prepare yourself for the shit storm you might find if that’s how you want to operate around here. Also, I don’t think it’s necessary to give Rosecrans access to the locker room or any other area underneath that stadium. Report all the negative stuff you want. But guess what, you get to do it from the parking lot.

    1. DarthHater

      “Rosecrans is not a good reporter. I work about 100 yards from that stadium and read everything this guy writes. He is lucky to not have a couple black eyes and crooked nose.”

      I spent a few minutes on Google finding stuff Rosecrans has written and did not see anything to back up this statement. Not saying it couldn’t have some truth, but all I could find was stuff that looked like ordinary sports reporting.

    2. Patrick W.

      Except that’s not what happened. Rosecrans sent a tweet with a factual statement in it that simply said The Reds are batting Brandon Phillips second, replacing a .320 OBA guy with a .310 OBA guy. That’s it. That is what set him off. This was not a question put to anybody. Phillips walked into the press conference and went off the reporter. Facts apparently make Phillips angry. Stupid and angry. Mean and angry. Unjustifiable.

      1. Patrick W.

        Crap OBP not OBA

        1. hansman1982

          and now your reputation is ruined forever…

          1. Patrick W.

            “One thing about “reputation”: it’s rare that it means much of anything, be it in baseball or otherwise!” – some smart guy around here.

            1. DarthHater

              That smart guy’s a robot. He just says whatever he’s programmed to say. ;-)

    3. Patrick W.

      “Directly after a game emotions fly high with athletes. Not condoning Phillips vulgarities by any means.” Sentence one (and really most of this) is in conflict with sentence two.

  23. Cubman

    Do you all remember when the Cubs relief pitcher yelled and berated Stone and Chip on an airplane and Dusty did nothing and they both ended up leaving. Dusty has a reputation as a players manager, but I think it is apprarent that what that means is that he lets the players do anything they want. A lot of them are still pampered ahtletes and someone has to take control when they go over board or don’t know lifes coutesies, etc. Dusty has never done that. I think a lot of managers would have stepped in, not only to protect the reporter, but also to protect the payer from doing something stupid. All Dusty had to do was lead Phillips out of room. He let it happen.

  24. FastBall

    his stuff shows up lots of places not just the Cinci Enquirer. He gets quoted in blogs. much of what I get is from my die hard Reds co-workers who hate him. I am not a Reds fan and never will be. So I don’t troll on the reds blogs. This has been the topic of discussion in Cinci all day. PS: what i get is in the big email list of people at work. Just know that nobody in Cinci likes this reporter and that he isn’t a looked upon as a pro reds reporter. They feel like he should take himself somewhere else. Typically people in Cinci do not want to hear anything bad about their reds.

    1. DarthHater

      Yea, what people say on blogs can be a lot nastier than what they say in other venues. (ahem!) :-P

  25. Jp3

    What does the reporter’s weight have to do with Phillips terrible OBP? Hey Brandon, what gives on the OBP? You still haven’t answered the question😝. I will admit I would’ve traded For Brandon straight up for Barney if given the chance but after seeing that I recend that statement. He’s an utter tool and potty mouth.

  26. Frank

    Who cares about Brandon Phillips or the money he wants. It’s a proven fact that 60% of professional athletes are broke within 6 years after they retire. So give him 200 million, he’ll blow it all anyway.

  27. Big Joe

    Make no mistake…Dusty was LOVING that exchange.
    Phillips and the reporter have history. Things like that are going to happen.
    My only question would be to Phillips: truth hurt?
    The reporter was only pointing out the fact that Phillips isn’t the right choice at #2. It would seem to me that Baker would have a problem with the guy, as well. After all, Dusty makes his lineups. Perhaps, that’s why he sat there, with a smile on his face, and let Phillips rip into the guy.
    In that case, I would call Dusty out for being a weakling.

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    […] losing out on the 2012 Gold Glove to Darwin Barney (which were ultimately insulting to Barney), and he berated a member of the Cincinnati media in a completely inappropriate way, and that was that for […]

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