They say there’s no place like home.
For Brandon Phillips, home is exactly where he is.
The Atlanta Braves’ new second baseman grew up just a few miles from SunTrust Park. He went to Redan High School in Stone Mountain. After 15 seasons in the league, most of them in Cincinnati, Phillips is home.
“We could not just hardly believe it. We’re so happy that he’s here,” Lue Phillips, Brandon’s mother, said while watching her son make his Braves debut on Friday as the team opened their new stadium in Cobb County.
Lue, and her husband James, sat right behind home plate, watching Brandon live out his dream of playing for his hometown team.
“Who would have ever thought that he would be here, in Atlanta, playing for the Braves,” Lue said.
Phillips grew up a Braves fan. He was a bat boy during the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. The Braves traded for Phillips after Sean Rodriguez was injured in a car accident in Miami.
"Just growing up being a Braves fan, that was the number one thing. I never thought the Braves would be interested in a Georgia boy such as myself, but when I got the call, I was like, boy, this is going to be something epic, it’s a blessing in disguise," Phillips said. "The only time I really ever wore a Braves jersey was when I was 16, and I had to work out at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. And one day I looked at myself in the mirror and said, 'I’m going to wear this jersey.' Look at me now."
It must be in the Phillips DNA. Brandon has a brother, P.J., who plays professional baseball, a sister, Porsha, in the WNBA and parents who never lose that anxious feeling while supporting.
“Nervous as a rail. You’re always nervous. You want your child to do well, and it’s still nerve wracking because you want them to perform good,” James said.
For Phillips and his family, the support keeps pouring in.
“At least about 20 phone calls in the last hour from different people and they are really congratulating us,” James said.
They’re appreciative to everyone that’s helped Brandon along the way.
“I appreciate everything that DeKalb County and the neighbors, his classmates has done for us to keep this going,” James said.