Sports Spectrum Weekly

Will Brett Phillips, one of the most fun players in baseball, earn his place with the Milwaukee Brewers?

This story appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Sports Spectrum Magazine. Support our ministry and subscribe here.

Baseball leaders & Jesus followers

Brett Phillips is one of those guys everyone wants to hang out with. You spend five minutes with him and you feel like you’re his best friend.

His stories are hysterical. Like the time in seventh grade when his neighbor constantly asked him to shoot hoops after school. The 60-something man was Randy Poffo, better known as Randy “The Macho Man” Savage.

“My family told me he’s a wrestler, but I wasn’t star struck,” Phillips recalled on the Sports Spectrum Podcast. “I didn’t follow wrestling growing up and I just wasn’t into that sport. So it was more just, ‘This old man wants to play basketball with me, all right. This is going to be easy.’ He was older, he was in his 60s, and I kid you not, I did not win one time. And I’m talking months and months of playing HORSE every single day. He was like a kid literally wanting to play over and over again, and I think he got so much joy out of just beating me. It wasn’t even the fact that he was getting exercise, I think he was getting super pumped that he just whopped up on a little whippersnapper.”

Or the time a former MVP asked him if he was the guy with the laugh. As Phillips became more well-known, videos surfaced of his uncontrollable, contagious laugh.

“Andrew McCutchen came up to me in private and he said, ‘Hey, not to be weird, but are you that guy with the funny laugh?’” Phillips said. “This is Andrew McCutchen, and my response was, ‘You know, I play a little baseball too.’”

That he does, and well. The 23-year-old outfielder made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers on June 5, 2017, in which he got his first big league hit, showed off his canon arm by throwing out a runner at second, and had his evening immortalized with a highlight segment on ESPN featuring his laugh and the Macho Man.

In 2018, Phillips will start the season at Triple-A — a casualty of a crowded and talented Brewers outfield. But his speed, arm and defense make him tough to keep out of the majors for long.

Wherever Phillips plays, he remains grateful. After getting called up last summer, Phillips phoned his mom first, then “everyone who has impacted my life and helped me get to the big leagues. I made about 75-100 phone calls.”

His promotion came right in the midst of his relationship with Jesus growing more than ever. He accepted Christ in seventh grade at a youth group meeting, but felt led to get baptized at a Christian conference in November 2016. He left that event with a reading plan that would take him through the entire Bible in a year. He says he never missed a day, even if he had to do the reading at 2 a.m. after a game.

It’s never been clearer to Phillips why he plays this game.

“I play because of Him and I play for Him,” Phillips says. “And I play just because He’s blessed me with the gifts and the opportunity, not me. I’ve got nothing to do with it.”

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