The 5 Best MLB Moments from Friday

Is there anything Brett Phillips can't do?

Brett Phillips is MLB’s Most Unique Reliever


Pitching is hard. It takes a ton of raw physical talent to touch 100 MPH. Heck, I’m still in awe that pretty much every major leaguer can reach 90 MPH with ease… even if they’ve never stepped foot on the mound before.


Brett Phillips is a perfect example of that. Since his professional debut a decade ago, Phillips, who has received an 80-grade on his arm, has close to 4,000 plate appearances and zero innings pitched. Until last night.


The Blue Jays were trouncing the Rays 10 – 1 going into the bottom of the eighth when Tampa decided to give their bullpen a rest and call upon Phillips. Every reliever needs some sort of gimmick or mannerism that helps them stand out. Mariano Rivera loved breaking bats. Fernando Rodney wore his cap sideways. Phillips’ mechanics remind me of a walking Rube Goldberg machine.



Okay, it’s a bit… different. But I’ve seen some successful weird deliveries over the years. Phillips hasn’t spent years honing his pitching routine in the minors, so he’s still trying to figure out what type of reliever he wants to be. His entrance, which seems like an homage to Heath Bell, seems like he’s trying to intimidate batters before even stepping on the mound.




But it’s hard to be scared by Phillips, who golden retriever-like personality and iconic laugh make him one of baseball’s most lovable players. Phillips is just super excited for his first pitching appearance and can barely hold onto the ball



After watching his warmup, what did you expect from his first pitch? Because both myself and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. surely didn’t expect this.




94.3 MPH?! That was tied for the fastest pitch thrown by any Ray yesterday other than Luis Patiño. But what makes that even more special is that every other pitch thrown by Phillips was 50.4 MPH or slower. Phillips’ approach was literally, “throw the first pitch as fast as possible, then coast through the rest of the inning.”


Despite sitting in the high-40s, Phillips worked a respectable inning for a novice pitcher, recording a line of 1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 0 K.


Joe Kelly: Mariachi Fashion Icon


Joe Kelly isn’t afraid to let his personality shine. He wears some of the most stylish glasses in the game. His tendency to throw at rival hitters earned Kelly a spot in Dodger lore. And when the reigning World Champions visited the White House, Kelly sported one of the freshest jackets ever seen at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.



But where exactly did Kelly get this drip? A couple days ago, Kenley Jansen wanted to spice practice up by bringing a mariachi band onto the field during warmup.



Kelly used this opportunity to make a trade and expand his wardrobe.



I think Kelly won that trade.


Christian Yelich Passes the Torch


A couple days ago, one young fan made a catch so spectacular that Christian Yelich had to give him props.



The story didn’t end there. If you noticed at the end of the video, the kid tried getting Yelich to sign the foul ball. But since players rarely sign autographs during games, he had to wait until the next game.


Yesterday, Yelich surprised the budding outfield star with a gift that far surpassed the fan’s wildest dreams.



Such a great gesture to create a lifelong fan. The inscription on the bat? “Great catch! See you in the show!


Freeman Can’t Wait to Meet Tatis Jr.


There’s no denying that Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of baseball’s most exciting stars. We see that every time he steps up to the plate. You can also see it if you show up early to a game and witness the mob of Phanatics that surround Tatis Jr. whenever he signs autographs.



Want to know just how much the baseball world loves Tatis Jr.? When Freddie Freeman received his fifth career All-Star selection, both himself and his son Charlie (baseball’s most sought after four-year-old prospect) were thrilled.


Not because Freddie added one more accomplishment to his Hall of Fame candidacy. But because Charlie would have the chance to meet Tatis Jr. in person.



Friday’s Groundskeeper of the Day Goes to…


Groundskeepers are the unsung heroes of the baseball world. Without them, we literally wouldn’t be able to play baseball. So instead of paying homage to Friday’s most notable fan, I wanted to give a quick shoutout to the people in Buffalo, who worked hard squeegeeing (what a weird looking word) the field to ensure that we could witness Brett Phillips‘ major league debut.



Here’s to you, grounds crew!


Photo by Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns of Twitter)

Alex Kleinman

Journalist who loves the Yankees and the Bears. One gives me strength, the other leads me to existential dread. When I'm not obsessing over baseball, you can find me at a concert, hiking in a National Park or chasing my dog, Frankie, who has probably stolen one of my socks.

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