Macy's picks Phillips
BY JOHN ECKBERG | JECKBERG@ENQUIRER.COM
Two Cincinnati stars - the Macy's red star and Cincinnati Reds fan favorite Brandon Phillips - are teaming up in time for Father's Day.
The national retailer has tapped Phillips to be a baseball star featured in its "Boys of Summer" sales promotion.
"I shop at Macy's. I like Macy's, and I think Father's Day is a real important day," Phillips said during an interview in the Reds clubhouse this week as he prepared for a game with St. Louis.
"It's a good thing to make sure that we have at least one day for the fathers."
With 900 professional baseball players to choose from, Phillips is in select company as only 15 players were chosen to represent the retailer.
Like Phillips, all are stars: Yankees closer Mariano Rivera; New York Mets manager Willie Randolph; St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre; Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine and others.
Macy's officials said there is no mystery to why Phillips was chosen.
"Brandon is a terrific role model for the kids in Cincinnati," said Ellen Fruchtman, a Macy's spokesperson.
"With 30 home runs and 32 stolen bases in 2007, he became just the second second-baseman in major league history to reach that plateau in the same season," she said. "He is a winner both on and off the field."
The Reds are backstopping the effort in a number of ways:
Saturday's game is on Flag Day, and the first 20,000 in attendance will get a free Reds team flag presented by Macy's.
Through Monday, fans can register at Macy's stores to win prizes.
They include a prize pack for thw Reds' June 30 game: four game tickets, on-field experience, a meet-and-greet with a Reds player and food/beverages during the game.
Fans who want to get a closer look at one of the best second basemen in the big leagues will have an opportunity Monday when Phillips signs autographs at Macy's Kenwood from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The appeal of athletes such as Phillips is lasting and genuine with most avid sports fans, said Jackie Reau, chief executive of Game Day Communications, because their passion for people and the game is genuine.
"I've been on the Reds Caravan with Brandon Phillips and he is truly a fan favorite," Reau said. "He has a magnetic smile, poses for countless photographs, signs autographs and understands that it's important to be involved in the community."
What's more, said Michael Maul, president and founder of Wordsworth Communications, a public relations firm located downtown, baseball players are appealing because of the non-violent nature of the game they play.
"Baseball is a Norman Rockwell game," Maul said. "It's a lifelong thing and stays with families for generations."