Over the last two seasons, there seems to be something missing from the Phillies/Mets Rivalry. The 2007 and 2008 seasons went down to the last weekend of the season until the division winner was crowned. Each season the Mets had a lead in September and both seasons they watched the Phillies on TV in the post-season. The special ingredient that’s missing is the lack of a winning team up in Flushing. It doesn’t seem to long ago that the Phillies and Mets where fighting it out in September for the right to represent the NL East in the Post Season. Since the Mets epic collapses in 2007, the Phillies have won 4 consecutive NL East Crowns, 2 National League Championships and the World Series Title in 2008. During that same time frame, New York has failed to reach the post-season.
There are two things that all Phillies Phans hate; the New York Mets and Billy “the Rat” Wagner. But both of them played an indirect role in the Phillies acquiring Doc Halladay prior to the 2010 season. So you might be thinking, the trade was just between the Phillies and the Blue Jays. How did the Mets have any part in it? When Billy Wagner ran his mouth and signed with New York after the 2005 season, the Phillies received compensation in the form of draft picks because Wagner was a Type A FA. One of those picks was the 29th overall pick, with that pick the Phillies drafted pitcher Kyle Drabek. After he spent a few seasons in our system, he was eventually the center piece in the deal that gave us Doc! Doesn’t that just put a smile on your face, that Wagner and the Mets had a part in getting us the best pitcher in baseball!
The rivalry between the two cities has been around for as long as the teams have existed. It doesn’t matter the sport, we don’t like New York. The Miracles at the Meadowlands were great by themselves, but you add the fact that we did it to New York , it makes it that much sweeter. When we won the division in 2007 it was amazing, but the Mets choking made it extra special. Everything from Jim Bunning's Perfect game at Shea Stadium to putting up 10 runs on Johan last year. Legendary Phillies Pitcher Tug “Tugger” McGraw was in the middle of the rivalry having played for both teams during his career. I was too young to witness his speech during the Parade, but what he said sticks in my mind. Here is what the Tugger said on that day.
“All through Baseball History, Philadelphia has had to take a Back Seat to New York City, Well, New York City can take this World Championship and STICK IT! CAUSE WE’RE NUMBER ONE!”
The current Rivalry can be dated back to Rollins comments before the start of the 2007 season. The previous season the Mets had won the NL East and had what was thought to be a young team that would own the division for years. The Phillies were a team that just couldn’t seem to get over the hump. In an interview Rollins said,
“I think we are the team to beat in the NL east.”
These were strong words for a team that had failed to reach the postseason since 1993. Rollins lived up to his end with strong play, but the team just didn’t seem good enough to overtake the Mets. The Mets were cruising through the season; they had a 7 game lead with just 17 games to play. Carlos Delgado even had the famous quote about how “good” he thought his team was.
“We are so good, it gets boring.”
As we all know the Mets fell apart and the Phillies took full advantage. The season all came down to the final day of the regular season, both teams were tied and it looked as though a one game playoff would be needed to name a winner. But Tom Glavine couldn’t make it out of the first inning while Jamie Moyer led the Phillies to a win over the Nationals. It was one of the most epic collapses in baseball history. Over the last 4 seasons, the “Mess” have looked like a team that tries not to lose games, while the Phillies try to win them. I believe the problem in the organization starts at the top, it is an organization that breeds losing, just ask Brian Schneider and Wilson Valdez.
How quickly times have changed, the “Mess” are quickly becoming the laughing stock of baseball. They were one win away from going to the World Series in 2006. Things are so bad in the organization that they are struggling to pay their bills. They reportedly needed a $25 million loan from MLB to pay their operating expenses and are in the process of securing another loan. As much as I love seeing them fail miserably, it takes a lot away from the rivalry. It’s a lot “phunner” to ruin their season in September.
Over the last 4 seasons the Phillies have become a team that expects to win a World Series every season, while the Mets just hope to have a competitive team. The Phillies are selling record amounts of tickets and have had to stop selling season tickets. While our neighbors to the North are actually giving away tickets for FREE! The rivalry isn’t what it was a few years ago. But I can’t tell you how much fun it was to see the faces of bewildered Mets fans leaving the Bank after watching their ace give up 9 runs in one inning last season. Jose Reyes, you can keep celebrating and doing dances with each teammate after a home run in the 1st, we will keep winning CHAMPIONSHIPS! Great players win games, but Great Teams win Championships! The rivalry between the two clubs seems to have hit a stall, but the Mets will eventually become better and the rivalry will be revived. The players and coaches will come and go, but us Phans will always be here rooting our team on and rooting for the failure of the Mets!