124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

Getting Dusty In Here

We're not crying, you're crying: Brett Phillips hits homer for young fan with cancer

On Tuesday night, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Brett Phillips flashed some serious leather while on the mound (yes, he was pitching). On Wednesday night, he let his bat do the talking, crushing his first homer of the year.

But this was for more than just a routine solo shot for Phillips, who hit a career-high 13 homers a season ago after never having hit more than four in a single season in his previous four seasons as a pro. This first one of 2022 might be his best to date, though, despite the fact it came in an early-April, low-stakes regular season game. 

That's because Phillips hit the homer for a young girl named Chloe Grimes, an eight-year-old Rays fan who is currently battling cancer for a second time in her life. Before the game, Grimes met Phillips, her favorite player, while throwing out the first pitch. She gifted Phillips a green rubber bracelet that read "Rally for Chloe our Princess Warrior." Try not to start crying yet. 

During Phillips' second at-bat of the night in the bottom of the third, Grimes was being interviewed on the broadcast, and she was asked why he was her favorite player. "Because he has the best smile, and he's always having fun," Grimes said. "And I like how he does his ariplane," she added, referring to Phillips' walk-off celebration. As fate would have it, Phillips homered DURING the interview. You cannot script this stuff, folks:

In case the tears aren't flowing/your heart hasn't exploded with joy yet, Phillips' postgame interview ought to do the trick. Here's Phillips talking about what an inspiration Chloe was after his Rays beat the Oakland A's 9-8 in extra innings:

Good lord, we're going to need a minute, or five. Sheesh. 

"Perspective and appreciation for what I get to do on a daily basis, show up to play Major League Baseball and do this for a living," Phillips added afterward. "And you have a young girl who’s 8 years old, battling cancer for a second time, and she can smile and enjoy her life? It’s crazy."

Yeah, that sums it up nicely. By the way, Phillips was correct in believing that was the hardest hit ball of his career. According to Statcast, it had an exit velocity of 107.8 mph, besting Phillips' previous career high of 106.7. You've got to be kidding me.  

"I told her she gave me her power, and she sure did,” he said.