Brandon Phillips, who spent 11 seasons wearing a Reds uniform, returned to Great American Ball Park Friday night for the first time as a member of the Braves and witnessed a disturbing sight.
Someone else (Scooter Gennett) was wearing Phillips’ old No. 4. Phillips, a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner as a second baseman with the Reds, surely knew Gennett had been wearing the number all season.
Friday night Phillips had the chance to share his displeasure.
“I still can’t believe that No. 4, is… someone is wearing my number,” Phillips told WLWT-TV and FoxSports Ohio after batting practice (via Cincinnati.com). “I think that’s a slap in my face, too. But it is what it is. Man, people have their own opinions and I’m going to have mine.”
Gennett, who received the number when he joined the Reds off waivers at the end of spring training, had told the team he didn’t want the No. 4, out of respect for Phillips. He told Cincinnati.com the Reds said that was the only number they had available.
“I think he’s got a right to feel that way,” Gennett said. “It sucks that I’m the one that’s wearing it, because I respect everything he’s done in his career and for the Reds. But it is what it is. I can’t do anything about it.”
Gennett said he actually spent about a month trying to change numbers, but it was too late.
“It’s kind of crazy,” Gennett said. “You think you have the ability to switch, but they make so many jerseys in the team shop to where I would have to pay for all those jerseys. I just don’t have that available cash to be able to do that.”
According to Cincinnati.com, Phillips declined the offer to be honored by a ceremony before Friday’s game. He did receive a lengthy standing ovation from fans before his first plate appearance.
“I’m still Mr. Cincinnati, regardless of what anybody say,” Phillips told WLWT-TV and FoxSports Ohio. “I still run this piece. I’m just here to play this game and get as many wins as I can as possible against the Redlegs.”