Media Analysis: Phillips packs a ton of fun into his game.

Phillips packs a ton of fun into his game.

Jerry Crasnick‘s profile on Brandon Phillips addresses misconceptions about Phillips as a player, and also attempts to explain why less American black athletes play baseball.

Crasnick starts his story by comparing Phillips and LeBron James. He doesn’t use this comparison in a negative way (given James’ recent PR troubles), but shows the differences in decorum for baseball and other sports.  He then writes about the current player and media perception of Phillips.  Crasnick addresses his cockiness and explains how Phillips arrived at and accepts this perception.

The piece then balances Phillips cockiness with positive comments from people who work with him.  Balancing the perception with other quotes tells the reader that they are taking a deeper look into a person they might only be vaguely familiar with.

The story splits into two different sections.  ‘Natural athlete’ goes into the early background of Phillips’ life and sets up his talent that has been on display recently.  The article also talks about how Phillips struggled to become the player he currently is.  This allows the writer to demonstrate change and growth through the storytelling narrative.

The next section, ‘Welcome O-Cab’, shows how Phillips has matured through the eyes of Cincinnati’s new shortstop Orlando Cabrera.  It paints Cabrera as a mentor and father figure for Phillips.  The story also mentions “J” Harrison as another person who has seen Phillips as someone who should be looked up to.  The story provides good perspective on the individual by juxtaposing cockiness with other things that make someone viewed as a good human being.

This profile does a good job of showing, not telling.  It uses quotes from Phillips and others to provide the reader with a real character that is deeper than the game he plays.  It also shows that black athletes (which are getting rarer in Major League Baseball) might act a certain way because of cultural differences.

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