ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The magic of the moment, according to Brett Phillips of the Tampa Bay Rays, can be summarized in three words.
“Baseball is fun.”
Phillips shared that statement in an interview following his game-winning hit in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series between the Rays and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He hit a single that would ultimately send two of his teammates home in the bottom of the ninth inning. Then, he circled the field in the form of an airplane. Finally, after he regained his footing and caught his breath, he stepped to the microphone to revel in the fact that, yes, baseball is fun.
“So many people loved it,” said Brett’s wife, Bri. “It was the simplest statement but so many people were like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is so great!’”
The couple created a “Baseball is Fun” shirt for Brett to wear to the festivities surrounding the All-Star Game in July and, according to Bri, they received countless messages about it.
“I got DMs that were like, ‘Hey, I don’t know who else to ask because we know Brett is busy but where can we get the shirt he is wearing?’ and he got lots of DMs and comments on a post of him wearing it,” said Bri. “To hear that people really loved it was really encouraging and we were like, ‘Great! Let’s do it and dive right in.’”
Now, nearly one year after Brett uttered those three words, the Phillips’ have chosen to tie them to their new apparel company, Baseball is Fun.
“We are just trying to create a movement to remind people it is meant to be fun,” explained Bri, “and there is outside noise as you progress through this game and other sports as well and to remember why you loved it to begin with.”
While Brett has always loved the game of baseball, Bri admitted she has grown to love it. Her father, Trey Hillman, has been coaching baseball for decades so she has always been connected to the sport. That connection strengthened when she met Brett at a baseball game in 2015.
“My aunt, she is not blood but she has been a part of my life forever, she taught him at Seminole High School and introduced us,” explained Bri. “My mom and I were visiting my dad during spring training of my senior year in high school and Brett originally got drafted by the Astros. My dad was with the Astros at the time.”
Bri recalled her aunt forced the two of them to take a photo together after the game.
“At the time, I was like, ‘I do not want a photo with this guy,’” said Bri with a smile, “and, anyway, we got a photo. We followed each other on social media and I sent it to him and I was like, ‘Hey, here it is if you want it. Best of luck with the rest of your season and endeavors and everything.’”
They continued to chat weekly and then Brett did something bold to build on their relationship.
“He called my dad and he said, ‘If I get moved up to Double-A, can Bri and Mrs. Hillman come down and see me and can I take Bri out on a date?’ and my dad was like, ‘Yes but I cannot guarantee she is going to like you,’ and, sure enough, he got moved up and my mom and I drove down.”
The pair spent about three days together before agreeing to date despite the distance.
“We were like, ‘Alright, we are going to make it work,’ so we did distance our whole relationship really until we got married and then, I moved to Florida,” explained Bri.
The Phillips’ apparel company, which officially opened for business on Sept. 6, is already exceeding their expectations. They sold every one of their shirts within 24 hours of the launch.
“I was dumbfounded,” said Bri. “When you work so hard for something, obviously, you want it to go well so I think there were butterflies and jitters. My heart was beating really fast launching and then past the point of selling out, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is amazing.’”
They offered a preorder option for 48 hours after the initial launch and now, the couple is planning to unveil additional items on their website.
“We want as many people to wear Baseball is Fun as possible because the whole movement is to remind people about the goodness baseball can bring into peoples’ lives,” said Bri.
She did not reveal the release date for these new products but she confirmed it will be before the beginning of the upcoming postseason.
“It has been really encouraging that so many people love what we are trying to do and are really understanding the movement,” said Bri. “To have other people tell us, ‘This great! I am so happy you are doing this! We needed this! This is a breath of fresh air!’ I think that is one of the most rewarding things.”
If you are interested in purchasing a Baseball is Fun item, you can visit the company website.