This weekend marks the beginning of the 2011 edition of the rivalry of the Reds and the Cardinals.
Last season, the rivalry really heated up as Brandon Phillips and Yadier Molina got in each other’s faces when Phillips attempted to be friendly with the catcher after some name-calling prior to the start of the series in August. The words lead to a brawl before the first pitch of his at-bat. Punches were thrown and pitcher Johnny Cueto was seen kicking players off of him. Cueto kicked Chris Carpenter to the point where he really didn’t pitch well the rest of the season and, well, Jason LaRue is now retired due to the concussions received from the kicks.
The rivalry didn’t calm in the off season and could have boiled over after an apparent misunderstanding by Reds writer Hal McCoy. McCoy reported that Jonny Gomes was saying “Wainwright’s gone, Wainwright’s gone” — in a down right jubilant, sing-song manner. Later, Gomes said that he didn’t mean it and he respects Wainwright.
Gomes probably released the “My Bad!” due to general manager Walt Jocketty and third baseman Scott Rolen and their Cardinals history.
Cardinal fans will likely not have a case of amnesia this weekend when Phillips and Gomes take the field. What if Phillips gets thrown out trying to steal by Yadi? What if Gomes strikes out at each at bat?
It should be a fun weekend!
Now it’s my turn.
“Fun” is not the word I would use, Miranda. (Sorry!)
Until last August, the Reds were just another NL Central team. Yes, the Cards were battling back and forth with them for the division lead, but the Cards had the upper hand. And then Brandon Phillips opened his mouth.
I went back to find the original article — conveniently? coincidentally? from the same Hal McCoy mentioned by Miranda above who did or didn’t hear Jonny Gomes gleefully singing about Adam Wainwright in February. Because I wanted to remember what brought it about. I mean, why just suddenly start spouting off and call your rival team that you’re starting a huge series against whiny bitches? So here it is, from the original McCoy article:
Phillips fouled a ball off his shin Saturday in Chicago and missed Sunday’s game. But he was in Monday’s lineup and said, “I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ’em.
“I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear: I hate the Cardinals.”
Eight months later, it still makes no sense. Except it does make one thing clear to me: Brandon Phillips is an attention whore.
He’s up to his tricks already, except now he has a direct route to antagonize Cards fans: Twitter. (Sorry, no link to his Twitter account. Find it yourself if you really want to know what it is.) And, unfortunately, Cards fans are responding exactly the way Phillips and his narcissistic ego want: by flinging more and more ammunition his way with their barrage of angry tweets. There’s plenty of Twitter chatter already about booing him tonight and all weekend, which is exactly what happened when the Reds came to Busch Stadium last September.
My suggestion, which I made on Twitter last season and again last night: IGNORE HIM. He wants the attention. He wants to read your angry tweets. He likely thrives on the boos. So DON’T give him wants he wants.
The brawl last season began when he inexplicably tried to play nice with Yadi after disparaging the entire Cardinals team, and Yadi’s reaction, was completely understandable (even as the Reds’ behavior during it, especially Johnny Cueto’s, was not). But remember how Yadi responded post-brawl, in his first at-bat? Here you go, if you need a reminder. As Al Hrabosky said, “This is how you answer back.”
And what about Phillips? How does a tough-talking attention whore respond when he has a moment in the national spotlight? Like this.
Karma is the bitch, Brandon. Not the Cardinals.
And while I know my wish to have a completely silent stadium when he comes up to bat for the first time tonight will not happen, it would be amazing. Because what happens when you deprive him of the attention that he so desperately craves? I would love to find out.
Miranda is the lead St. Louis Cardinals correspondent for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @missmiranda
Christine Coleman is the senior St. Louis Cardinals reporter for Aaron Miles’ Fastball. Follow her on Twitter, @CColeman802, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also follow @AMilesFastball for the latest updates.