Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
In case you were wondering about Andy Phillips and his family...
From the NY Times:
A Former Yankee Applies Big-League Lessons at Alabama
Andy Phillips was on a recruiting trip Wednesday when tornadoes ravaged his hometown, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Phillips, a former Yankees infielder who is now the hitting coach at the University of Alabama, said his family and his players were accounted for. But some players lost everything, he said, and friends told him the campus had been devastated.
“There’s almost a milewide path the tornado went through,” Phillips said over the phone. “They said you could literally stand a mile and a half away from the Coliseum, where there used to be homes and buildings in between, and now there’s nothing.”
Phillips, 34, is a proud Alabaman, finally home after a 12-year professional odyssey. He played for three College World Series teams at Alabama, then toiled in the minors for six seasons before the Yankees called him up in September 2004. He spent much of the next three seasons with the Yankees, jumped to the Cincinnati Reds and the Mets in 2008, and played the past two seasons in Japan.
Last December, Phillips worked out on campus for the Boston Red Sox. When he was done, the Alabama head coach, Mitch Gaspard, told Phillips he had an opening on his staff and would hate to fill it without asking Phillips first.
Phillips immediately called his agent and decided to retire from playing — “on my terms, not as a roster casualty,” he said — to stay at home and coach for the Crimson Tide. He said the transition had been smooth.
“I could have done the whole minor-league-invite thing, gone to Triple-A and fought my way to get back for a few months,” Phillips said. “But I looked at it and I thought, Is it really going to get any better professionally than what I’ve already done? No. And I was cool with that. I haven’t thought about playing one time.”
Phillips, who hit .250 in 259 career games, said he often shared techniques he picked up from Don Mattingly and Kevin Long, his coaches with the Yankees. From Manager Joe Torre, he said, he learned the importance of staying consistent emotionally.
After Florida swept the Tide in a three-game series last weekend, Phillips told his players about a pep talk he received from Derek Jeter when the Yankees were struggling in 2007.
“We had a losing record in April and May, and we were 14 games back,” Phillips said. “I remember talking to him one night and saying, ‘What do you think?’ And he said: ‘Everybody shows up tomorrow. Everybody decides they’re going to get a little better, elevate their game a little bit. Then we’ll win tomorrow, do the same thing the next day, and at the end of the year, we’ll be where we want to be.’ ”
The Yankees, who were 14 ½ games behind Boston on May 29, indeed rallied to capture a wild-card berth, but Phillips was inactive for the playoffs. He broke his wrist on an errant pitch in early September, when he was batting .292.
The injury ended his season, and Phillips never played for the Yankees again. But five years in the majors, and more time striving to get there, are paying off now.
“Looking back at my playing career, there were a lot of positives to all different positions I had to learn,” Phillips said. “That’s really prepared me to help our guys now.”
Labels: Andy Phillips
Add a comment