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Chloe Grimes’ cancer battle moved Brett Phillips and Rays fans everywhere

One girl’s battle brought a lot of tears and hope in Tuesday night’s game.

Oakland Athletics v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

During Tuesday night’s postgame interviews, Tricia Whitaker took a moment to chat with the game’s center fielder, Brett Phillips. Phillips is obviously no stranger to a cheeky postgame chat, having only days earlier taken the mound for two innings as a pitcher, and making what many considered to be the “play of the year” to that point.

But in this particular interview, things were a little different. The usual boyish enthusiasm was subdued, and Phillips — who hit a solo home run in the bottom of the third — audibly choked up when he spoke with Whitaker. The first pitch of Tuesday’s game had been thrown out by a young girl named Chloe Grimes, who was attending the game that evening with her entire softball team as well as her mother. Chloe, unfortunately, is now in her second battle with cancer in her young life, and Phillips just happens to be her favorite player. He was behind home plate to catch her pitch, and she gave him a custom bracelet that celebrates her fight.

Phillips wore the bracelet the whole game, and was wearing it in the third while Chloe herself was being interviewed by Whitaker. As Chloe explained why Phillips was her favorite player — she likes how much fun he has, and especially his airplane move — Phillips hit one into the catwalk. It was a moment that couldn’t have been timed better if it was scripted. Chloe, so caught up in her interview, didn’t even realize it had happened right away, but was soon doing her own version of Phillips’ signature move.

After the game, when Whitaker talked to Phillips about it, Brett got choked up talking about Chloe’s battle, and how the home run had been for her. And in true Brett Phillips fashion, he wasn’t all talk. On Wednesday, he took to Twitter to share the GoFundMe information for Chloe’s medical bills, and to announce how his own group Baseball is Fun, and the Rays Charities would be getting together to help shoulder some of the enormous financial weight of her fight.

The entire story is not only a testament to what a genuine, nice human Brett Phillips is, but it’s the kind of story of how baseball can touch the lives of fans, and bring a little hope in times of struggle. For Chloe, the chance to throw out the first ball at a game became something magical, and for Rays fans, it was a chance to see something really beautiful unfold.

Below we’ve captured some of the best moments, and other articles that have been shared. And if you’re interested in helping Chloe’s GoFundMe, you can find the link here.

And a totally vital update: