Phillips flashes 'pterodactyl laugh' in The Show

April 23rd, 2020

Look good, feel good, play good: It’s a mantra that Brett Phillips took to heart as he took center stage in the MLB The Show Players League on Wednesday night.

The Royals center fielder prepared for his four games just like he always would. He threw on a Royals long-sleeve undershirt, smeared on eye black, grabbed his sunglasses and hat and headed to the virtual ballpark. He may have hoped for a better outcome than going 2-2 on a night he was featured on MLB’s main livestream, but Phillips had more than just tough opponents to overcome, including a stern meeting with his team and his “pterodactyl laugh.”

After taking down Dwight Smith Jr. of the Orioles, one of the Players League's hottest players, in his first game of the night, Phillips popped out with the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the third and final inning in a 10-7 loss to the Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr. Phillips had entered the third with a one-run lead.

“My guys, it’s like they just lost it,” Phillips said as he held back a chuckle. “Mentally, they were thinking about after the game what they were gonna eat for dinner, what movie they were gonna watch at the movie theaters. Like my guys, they were literally thinking about anything but the game, and it showed out on the field. And honestly, I’m not happy with them.”

Phillips said he would address his team in the clubhouse after the game, and he turned the page in time for a matchup against longtime friend Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros). The two played against each other in youth baseball leagues in Florida as kids, were in each other’s weddings and put together one of the most entertaining three-inning games in The Show history -- even before it started.

“I’m going to tell you a story that’s more tragic than Shakespeare right now,” McCullers said as soon as he hopped on the livestream.

The Astros hurler then went into a detailed story describing how a burrito that he ordered had a bite taken out of it before he even opened it. He called his wife, who was upstairs at their house, hoping that she was the culprit, but when she said no, he assumed it was the delivery driver. The story prompted a laugh out of Phillips that only McCullers could elicit. It’s what the Astros righty called the “pterodactyl laugh.”

“That’s Brett’s laugh 2.0,” McCullers said. “That’s rare. That’s a rare laugh I just got.”

Phillips grabbed his chest as he gasped for air in between each squeal of laughter. The stories between the two friends continued as the game eventually got underway, but Phillips struggled to keep his mind on the field. He had to shut off most of his casual chat in order to come back for a 7-4 win after facing an early four-run deficit.

Phillips' 2-2 night moved him to 9-11 on the season, as he sits in third place in the American League Central behind Lucas Giolito (White Sox) and Trevor May (Twins). While the chemistry that Phillips and McCullers share certainly stole the show Wednesday night, let’s take a look at other highlights that took place around the league.

Garrett and Pirates meet again
Reds left-hander Amir Garrett and the Pirates have quite the history. When the two parties are mentioned, it’s hard to recall anything other than the brawl that was started between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh with Garrett on the mound on July 30.

Though Garrett faced the Pirates four times last season after the incident, Cole Tucker took advantage of bringing back that memory by getting a reaction out of Garrett on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning. Tucker had Jameson Taillon plunk Phillip Ervin in the middle of the back, as he watched the screen with a smirk and a quick shrug of the shoulders.

“Oh!” Garrett yelled. “Tucker, you’re gonna do that? Tucker you need that smoke, bro. We coming out there with it.”

Garrett went on to secure a 7-5 win, and by the end of the night, he improved his National League Central-leading record to 12-8.

"Come on, man. That’s not how it is, bro."
Nationals outfielder Juan Soto had the perfect go-ahead opportunity for his virtual self in the bottom of the fifth inning against Garrett and the Reds. His character had already hit a solo homer in the second against Trevor Bauer and had a runner on second with two outs in extra innings when Garrett decided to intentionally walk him, which made the real-life Soto upset.

“Oh, come on!” Soto yelled with his arms spread out in frustration. “Why are you walking me? Come on, man. That’s not how it is, bro.”

Soto got his revenge in the bottom of the seventh, when he launched a go-ahead homer with Howie Kendrick to give him a 6-4 victory. The 21-year-old went 3-1 on the night to improve his overall record to 9-10.

Thursday’s games to watch
The man to beat will be back in action Thursday night. Joey Gallo (Rangers) will try to improve his AL West-leading 17-3 record in three games against Jeff McNeil (Mets), Phillips (Royals) and Carl Edwards Jr. (Mariners).

But Gallo isn’t the only powerhouse that players will be looking to take down. Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) has gone 9-3, Giolito (White Sox) is 13-5, Gavin Lux (Dodgers) is 14-5 and Smith (Orioles) is 14-8 after going 2-1 on Wednesday.

Where to watch
Over the next few weeks, the league will be livestreamed on MLB social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), MLB Network's Twitch site, "MLB The Show" social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch), the clubs’ social media accounts and Each player will also stream it from their individual Twitch or YouTube accounts.

Aside from those streams, in order to provide a full gameday experience, MLB Network will provide a livestream in which it will select the best one-on-one matchups and look into other game results and friendly banter.