Fall 2022

Brett Phillips hits home run for 8-year-old battling cancer while she's being interviewed

Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips, one of the most fun players in the game, usually has no problem finding something to say. Tuesday night was a rare exception.

In the bottom of the third inning, Phillips launched his first home run of the season to give the Rays a 6-3 lead over the Oakland Athletics. They went on to pick up their fourth win of the season with a pair of runs in the 10th inning.

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What Phillips didn’t know at the time of his solo shot was that 8-year-old Chloe Grimes was being interviewed on the broadcast during the at-bat. Grimes is a softball player in her second battle with cancer. Phillips is her favorite player โ€” she said she loves his smile โ€” and the two connected before the game, as he was behind the plate to catch her ceremonial first pitch.

When Phillips learned after the game about what had happened, he was nearly moved to tears.

“I hope I can meet Chloe again in the future,” he said in an on-field interview with Bally Sports. “Just … what an inspiration, the energy she brought.”

Later in the interview, Phillips dedicated the home run to Grimes and said he would be praying for her.

“I’m praying for you Chloe, and your family,” he said. “You’re really cool and that homer was for you.”

Phillips was so touched by Chloe that he announced Wednesday morning that his “Baseball Is Fun” brand and the Rays will team up to help pay for Chloe’s medical bills. “I feel so blessed that God gave me the opportunity to meet you,” Phillips said.

It was an eventful 24 hours for Phillips, whom many may remember as aย 2020 World Series hero. He made a diving catch while relief pitching in the ninth inning of a 13-2 loss Monday before going yard Tuesday.

Phillips’ kindness and generosity stem from his faith in Christ, the foundation of which was laid by his parents, particularly his mother. In a recent appearance on Sports Spectrum’s “Table Forty” podcast, Phillips explained how being introduced to God at such an early age helped him stay away from temptations. He didn’t completely understand what it meant to fear God, but he knew it was important.

“I feared the Lord, which I still do now, and I think that was one of the biggest blessings that I could’ve been given at an early age, was just fearing the Lord,” he said on the podcast. “It kept me out of a lot of trouble, especially when I was alone to myself.”

Since arriving in Tampa Bay from Kansas City at the 2020 trade deadline, Phillips has become one of the most well-liked personalities on one of baseball’s best teams. The Rays followed up their 2020 World Series appearance with a franchise-record 100 wins and a third straight trip to the postseason last year. Phillips played in 118 games, hitting 13 home runs and stealing 14 bases, all career highs. He’s appeared in four of the team’s five games so far in 2022.

Phillips credits the strong collection of believers within the Rays locker room with playing a key role in the team’s success. Being surrounded by Christians during the grind of a baseball season provides both encouragement and accountability for the 27-year-old.

“We have an unbelievable group of guys โ€” like-minded guys โ€” who have a relationship with God,” Phillips said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in September. “Just going into the clubhouse each and every day, regardless of how you’re feeling, you know you have a believer next to you who is going to pick you up, and there’s no better feeling.”

Phillips and the Rays are back in action Wednesday night for the third of four games against the Athletics. First pitch is set for 6:40 p.m. ET.

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