Brandon Phillips GQ 2Though he plays for a small-market team, Brandon Phillips has managed to accumulate almost a million Twitter followers, the second most of anyone in baseball. He is indisputably the Major League leader in T.P.D.’s (Tweets Per Day), opining on everything from fried Oreos to Go-Karting to teammates’ unstylish shoes. A superb defensive player—he was a human highlight reel in this spring’s World Baseball Classic—Phillips has won three Gold Gloves in the past five years. When he didn’t win one in 2012 he said, “I thought I was being punked”

The Reds lost last year’s National League Division Series to the Giants after leading two games to none. It’s the first time a National League team has lost a Division Series in which they’ve been ahead 2-0. At what point during the winter did you finally stop thinking about this?

I’m still not over it. I’m still not over it. I’m still not over it, man. I’m still living; but always in the back of my head I know that we should have won. It’s just one of those things you’ll never forget and you can always wish you can go back and change what some of your teammates did or some things that you did. We’re all human.

Is there one moment you find yourself replaying in your mind?

It’s many plays. Bunting guys over—you know, like getting guys over. Instead of trying to slap the ball to right field you wish you could bunt a guy over to make sure you get the job done. Things like that. [Reds pitcher Mat] Latos wished he would have thrown another pitch, because of [Buster Posey] hitting a grand slam [in the decisive Game 5]. Or it can be like Scott Rolen [who bobbled a ground ball in the top of the 10th inning of Game 3, allowing the go-ahead run to score]. Or for that matter myself: I wish I would have had a better at-bat against Romo to keep the inning going [in the ninth inning of Game 5, when Phillips popped out to foul territory].

You play for a small-market team, yet you have the second-highest number of Twitter followers of anyone in baseball—currently 829,717. How have you pulled this off?

Chad Johnson and my sister, they wanted me to build my fan base because they said since I was in a small market, it felt like I was too good of a player to—one of those type of players who need to be out there more. Ocho said, “And just be yourself. Just be yourself and people will love it because people will see what type of person you really are.” I like to make people’s day and that’s what I did. I take pictures, interact with fans, go to kids’ games. I did giveaways to build my fan base up. I just say real quotes. I tell people how I think. I just do normal things that professional athletes should really do.

We did a little research: it looks as if only one person in baseball, Nick Swisher, has more followers than you do.

I’ve only been on Twitter for two and a half years. Swisher has been on Twitter since it first came out, plus he’s always played for a big-market team. I heard he had like one-million-something or whatever, and when I talked to him about it he said that him and Ashton Kutcher did a contest who can get to a million followers first. When you do a contest with a celebrity like Ashton Kutcher [laughs], I mean, of course you’re gonna get a million followers. I don’t do things like that.

You’re a pretty complete player, but some fans say they wish you had a little more plate patience.

I understand what people are saying about my plate discipline; I’ll agree with that. I love to swing the bat. I love to hit. I’m the type of guy that wants to get the runners in. I would rather have a guy do that, actually, than walk all the time and not swing the bat. Because maybe things can happen when you swing the bat. Like Vladimir Guerrero: that guy, he sees balls and he gets on base. If I’m batting leadoff, like I did in ’11, when I walked more, I’ll do it. But if not, I’m gonna go up there swinging. I can add [plate patience] to my game when I really need to. But I love to swing the bat.

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