Posted on: December 11, 2008 1:23 pm

This so-called Mets/Phillies Rivalry is NONSENSE!

I've come to realize how much sports fans (Mets and Phillies fans in particular) are tokens. We are all tokens. If you're a huge fan like me, you read the blogs, the papers and surf the internet especially during the offseason for news and rumors that could make or break your team's upcoming season. The Winter Meetings only intensify the habit. I've been a Mets fan all my life. I rooted for Darryl Strawberry and had a huge poster of Doc Gooden and his high leg kick hanging from the wall as a kid. I learned the history of the Mets from the fact that they built Shea Stadium on a swamp (and that the day before it opened in 1964, there was a terrible sewage leak in the basement) to the fact that Ryan Church made the last official out in the stadium's history. I am a token Mets fan. I went to my first Mets game as a sixth grader, worked there as a vendor during my senior year in high school and dreamed of being a future draft pick of my beloved 'Amazins'. I sift through all those rumors, and hang on every word the journalists spew about what the Mets are, aren't, should and should not be doing. I repeat, I am a token. I admit it. I've come to grips with it.  

That said, when it comes to the Mets/Phillies rivalry, I could care less. What's more, I could really care less about what the Phillies are doing. I appreciate their fortitude and combination of offensive and bullpen depth. I appreciate the hunger they brought to the table down the stretch the last two years. After over 100 years of ineptitude (much longer than the ineptitude of my beloved Mets mind you), I have no problem saying that the Phillies are the 2008 World Champions. Congratulations are in order. After overtaking the Mets during another September slide, they deserve it regardless of how it happened. Truthfully, I was rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays, not because I dislike the Phillies, but because I am a fan of B.J. Upton and the youthful exuberance his team displays.

Nevertheless for what it's worth, it's the media that builds this hype about a rivalry between the Mets and Phillies. Truth be told, these two franchises have only been relevent in playoff and division championship talk for the last two or three years. If my memory serves me correctly, the Atlanta Braves of the last decade and a half coupled with the surprising Florida Marlins every now and again dominated the division. Now, all because Carlos Beltran proclaims at the beginning of  2007 that his Mets are 'the team to beat', they are suddenly rivals with the Phillies? If you recall, the Mets were a base hit away from the World Series the October before. After the Mets' thrashing of the Dodgers in the NLDS and the see-saw battle against the 80-something win Cardinals in the LCS, what else was he supposed to say? The team had virtually the same pieces in place going into that season, so another season of dominance wasn't totally out of the question. Let's not forget that they steamrolled the National League competition that year. Let's be realistic though. When the Phillies were swept out of the playoffs to conclude the 2007 season, their team went without any major moves to speak of and Jimmy Rollins made the same claim as Beltran during Spring Training the following year. This was 2008 mind you; and he was right, but they eventually had to go through the Mets just as Beltran had stated the year before.The Mets were in fact the team to beat in the NL East. The Phillies had to go through the Mets in both 2007 and 2008 to win the NL East. Regardless of how it happened collapse and all, this is a fact. Perhaps the Mets didn't dominate the way they did in 2006, but the fact is, they held onto first place in the division for quite some time until September doomed them.

So what does this all have to do with being a token fan? Let me explain....The media loves to conjure up the fact that the Marlins were energized to beat the Mets on the last two weekends of the season in 2007 and 2008 because they were annoyed with all the dancing and choreographed elaborate celebrations. And the Marlins, Phillies and Mets fans feed into it. Phillies fans detest the Mets...and their fans because of the media's force-fed perception of cockiness. If anything, New York is a major market, so both New York clubs despite the fact the media also plays these two franchises against each other as well (there is hardly a comparison) is well equipped to make splashes in the free agent market, like it or not. It no fault of the Mets organization or their fans that the Phillies aren't capable of spending the way the Yankees and Mets do. Yes, one could argue that the Phillies won this last World Series on the basis of developing their own players; the Mets and Yankees for better or worse use their farm for the purpose of importing high ranking free agents. Lets face it, that's how it always has been. Will it continue, the state of the economy forces us to think otherwise, but really, can you be mad at the Yankees for doling out exorbitant contracts to C.C. Sabathia, Derek Lowe and A.J. Burnett? If they have the resources and the gall, nope. Fans of their rivals can only envy. But don't hate them because of it. And certainly don't allow the media to build up hate for a franchise that can do more than yours. Heck, why don't the Royals hate the Yankees? Or the Pirates hate the Mets? Because they know their limitations. So what Jose B. Reyes dances? Phillies, Marlins and Nationals fans had better get ready to take a leap off the upper deck after K-Rod converts a save. He's definitely more demonstrative than Reyes.

So give me a break NL East fans, cut the rivalry nonsense. Can the Phillies and Mets compete with one another?Of course they can; the last two years has proven that. But don't become a token and allow the media to add hype to Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins' statements made in jest a few offseasons ago to cloud up the intensity that the major league baseball season will produce in this division for years to come.      


Posted on: February 16, 2008 10:13 pm

Mets Haters

You're damned if you do and damned if you don't. Seems like the Mets can't catch a break these days. When the Mets went out of their minds in '06 and put a whoopin' on everyone in the NL, out came the haters. When the Mets 'choked' as Met-haters like to call it in 2007, all was good in the rest of the NL East. Now that Johan Santana is in tow, representing the 'ace' the Mets needed, all of a sudden I'm hearing things like: "I hope Johan AND Pedro get injured", "The Mets still aren't that good", "The Mets still have questions", etc.

Well, I have a question: Why can't the fans of other teams just concede the fact that the Mets got what they needed in Johan, and now it's going to be a competitive season in the NL East? If Johan happened upon any other team in the league, I'd be disappointed, but not hateful of that team. I'd simply wonder why management didn't do what they needed to do to get him, and express hope that either Livan Hernandez or Kyle (I'm still not signed) Lohse could help the Mets get back to winning ball games. I'm not saying one has to renounce his allegiance to their team (though joining the Mets bandwagon at this point may still be permissible), but 'geez', the Mets need for an ace was obvious in 2006 and 2007. If they had one, you can bet they would have easily beaten the Cardinals in '06; and they sure wouldn't have given, yes given the division over to the Phillies on the last day of last season. But, I don't have to think about that because Johan is down in Port St. Lucie iat this moment as a member of, and working out with the Mets...and will be for the next 7 years.  

Now that they've got an ace, LOOK OUT! The offense is more or less the same as it was last season (pretty potent), and everyone in the starting rotation is moving back a slot for Johan. Pedro is just as good if not better than any #2 in the league, John Maine and Oliver Perez as the Mets' third and fourth starter (remember both had 15 wins); and El Duque, the Mets' best starter last season regardless of how old we all speculate he is, is the fifth starter. What a luxury. The bullpen is going to be stronger and more defined not only because of Johan's presence in the rotation, but because Duaner Sanchez is healthy. The bench is deep; and everyone who was with the club in September is going to be playing this season with a huge chip on their shoulder. Note to the rest of the league: this season isn't about adding Johan Santana as much as it is about the Mets getting back to playing the kind of baseball they were playing two years ago when they were thrashing everyone in sight!

Just when you think all that is too much, Carlos Beltran goes out today and tells some reporter to "Tell Jimmy Rollins the Mets are the team to beat". Carlos Beltran??? On what side of the bed did he wake up this morning? Usually humble and reserved, Beltran must know something we don't: The Mets are hungry for revenge, they've have heard all the mess being talked about them this winter; and everything's in place to resume whipping the crap out of everyone in sight. If there weren't enough Met-haters before this, certainly there are a slew more now.....especially those living near Citizen's Bank Park.

It's going to be a great season. For all those who questioned the Mets' leadership in the clubhouse, I think we've found it....and his name is  Carlos Beltran.

Let's go, Mets!!!          

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