Not Brandon Phillips.
As much as I love that photo, and the memories of the Cincinnati series last August, Phillips is not a problem for the Cardinals in 2011. Yes, he did spout off his mouth, like many competitive players do. Sure, we took extreme exception to those comments, as we were meant to. But, Phillips owned up to them like a professional and pretty much laid an egg against the Cardinals – how about a line of .236/.276/.292. Nope, I don’t think we’re going to hear much more out of Mr Phillips for a while. Not that I admire him, I don’t, but he didn’t complain while laying that ostrich sized cackleberry.
So, if it’s not Brandon Phillips, who is the new Public Enemy No. 1 of Cardinals Nation ?
We need to have a long memory, Cardinals fans. Let’s not forget
This is the Johnny Cueto that we need to remember for the next few seasons. The one that ended Jason LaRue’s season, and ultimately his career. The one who kicked violently at other Cardinals, including Chris Carpenter. The one who just signed a contract extension, meaning he will have plenty of chances to play against the Cardinals for the next few seasons.
The proper response
Before we all start talking basebrawl or suggesting that a Cardinals pitcher throw at Cueto or any member of the Reds, please take a look at this article from I-70 Baseball where we look at the consequences of bean-ball. That is just not good baseball, and Cardinals Nation is all about good baseball.
It was an unfortunate situation for all players involved, including Cueto. It all happened quickly, and nobody really knows how they would have reacted in a similar situation (although kicking an opposing player in the head wouldn’t be in my top 10, but that’s easy to say while typing at a computer).
The proper thing to do as a Cardinals fan is make him welcome at Busch Stadium. Let’s hear 40,000+ voices all shouting out his name (and whatever else you choose to append to it). Over and over and over and over. If he walks a batter or throws a bad pitch, make sure that he knows that we are an observant audience, and pay it the respect it deserves. In the 1980’s, the sound of the crowd chanting “Darryl” had to get under Darryl Strawberry’s skin, and Strawberry was a pretty tough customer. That’s just the thing that we need to hear again in 2011, but to a repetitive chorus of “Johnny”.
Oh, this is going to be a wonderful season of baseball. I can hardly wait for it to begin.