By Micky Shaked
Being a professional athlete is so much more than simply performing well and winning. The most successful superstars build personas that exist off the court or field, allowing them to connect with people who don’t necessarily identify with their sport.
Fans often forget that athletes have real lives when they’re not in uniform. Players have families, social lives, businesses and hobbies, too. Playing a sport is just a job, albeit a great one, that also requires athletes to have a public persona in street clothes.
To that end, lets take a look at 15 of the coolest players (and one manager) in Major League Baseball with some of the largest individual followings and oddest off-field interests.
Above all, Brandon Phillips is a baseball player, but being an entertainer comes in as a close second.
He loves being mic’d up for games. He goes to great lengths to execute the best photobombs.
As well as clever pranks. In a GQ interview last April, he admitted to putting purple Kool-Aid powder in a teammate’s shoe, causing the teammate to think he had a diseased foot!
According to this interview with Bleacher Report’s Brian Mazique, he wants to become the first dual-sport professional athlete to play baseball and bowl.
The four-time Gold Glover winner and three-time All-Star pulls some serious weight. Game developers for Sony’s MLB: The Show consulted him and Buster Posey for improvements to the game, and Phillips has fast-tracked a button for fielding grounders bare-handed and tossing the ball behind your back for a double play into production.
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