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Second Thoughts: Pass the mustard … Dat Dude is Reds’ MVP

I mowed the lawn Saturday before it rained (thanks for the advice, Jamie Simpson). That allowed me to watch a couple hours of the British Open. I enjoy this tournament for a few reasons: good golf, a course that looks like Kansas in September and all the investment advice during commerical breaks. If I win the lottery, I’ll give Pacific Life a call.

Brandon Phillips used to be a hotdog with great potential. Now he’s a hotdog who is the Reds’ MVP. The statistic that best illustrates how far Phillips has come in the past few years: 53 strikeouts. That’s 60 fewer than Jay Bruce and 31 fewer Joey Votto, who might be the team MVP if Zack Cozart could get on base, which would help Votto’s poor RBI total.

Phillips has driven in 77 runs, plays a Gold Glove second base and keeps things loose. Hey, baseball is supposed to be fun! Dat Dude’s focus in the clutch has been amazing; he’s batting .410 with runners in scoring position. He’s been so good that I doubt that last sentence will jinx him.

Lee Westwood has a two-stroke lead heading into the final round of the British Open today at Muirfield. Such a lead can disappear as quickly as a pint in a Scottish pub, but the fact that Westwood won’t be paired with Tiger Woods is a plus. Better to steer clear of the circus.

NFL training camps start this week. The player I’m keeping an eye on is Browns running back Trent Richardson. He says his right leg is fine, and if he’s healthy Cleveland could be tough this season. Richardson is potentially one of the league’s best backs and would take pressure off QB Brandon Weeden. Without him, the Browns are staring at 5-11.

Bryce Harper, the young slugger who competed in last week’s Home Run Derby, had his dad throw to him. Dad beaned young Bryce, and I think he was sending the kid a message: “Get a haircut; you’re embarrassing your mother.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Union City, Ind., youth baseball star Dylan Williams, who died last week after he was hit in the neck by a ball during practice. It’s hard to imagine a tougher situation for parents.

Dylan’s coach-pitch team is playing this weekend in the Minster Baseball Classic’s 8U division. Tournament director Wes Farno told me they had a moment of silence — on all diamonds — for Dylan on Saturday. I’m guessing there wasn’t a dry eye at the facility.

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