Hey Philadelphia – learn how to win

I wasn’t going to talk about the Phillies winning the World Series on here, because frankly, it’s not something that brings me a lot of joy.  I don’t like the Phillies.  It’s hard to like a group of people who have kicked you in the mouth for two straight seasons.  Whether they may be a good team, it’s hard for me to appreciate them, because what they do directly affects the Mets in a negative light.  I can appreciate other good teams; I have appreciated the good Red Sox teams, for instance, and the Tampa Bay Rays were often a delight to watch in 2008.  It’s not that I can’t appreciate good baseball, it’s that I can’t appreciate good baseball when it hurts the Mets.  So there…those are my biases.  I admit them.

At the same time…I have heard a lot about the Mets this postseason than I would have expected for a team that once again failed to make the playoffs.  It seems that Phillies fans have taken as much delight in the Mets’ failures as they have in their own triumphs, and I just find that to be particularly sad.  This is the first championship for the city of Philadelphia in 25 years, and I would think with winning, most of these fans could get over petty rivalries.  I guess that simply isn’t the case.

Let’s start with the Dodgers series.  Game 2, Shane Victorino hits a home run that helps the Phillies win the game.  Hey, congratulations, you should be thrilled.  While running the bases, Victorino held one finger in the air, reminiscent of Jose Reyes during a key Phillies game back in August.  Teammates later taped a picture of Victorino running the bases with the caption “J. Reyes” to the locker.  And hey…it’s kind of funny, I’ll admit, although referring back to a game that happened two months ago to a team that they ultimately overcame comes off a bit obsessed, and for an event that pretty clearly got under the skin of the Phillies for allegedly showing them up, it sure was hypocritical of them to do the same thing to the Dodgers.  I’d like to think that they had by now gotten over the Mets since they had beaten them for the second season in a row, but it’s clear that the Mets are still lingering in the Phillies’ minds.

After that strange incident, there was then talk from Phillies’ GM Pat Gillick about how the rest of the NL East ”hating” the Mets is the reason the Phillies have won the past two years, particularly mentioning taunting by other players.  This struck me as particularly odd.  First, it’s not the Mets themselves that have a tendency to be particularly celebratory; it’s Jose Reyes, who plays the game with his heart on his sleeve, for better or worse.  Everybody else on the team seems pretty subdued to me, even a guy like Pedro Martinez (who, frankly, hasn’t had much to celebrate in 2008 anyway).  So again…it really feels like Gillick is singling out Jose Reyes and his “antics” as the reason the Phillies have won the division the last few years, because teams are playing them tougher as a result.

Is that really true, though?  It sure seemed like the Braves played the Phillies tough the last week of the season; they took 2 of 3 in Philadelphia, and there were some bench-fights in that series, too.  In fact, for all of Jose Reyes’ taunting, quite frankly, Shane Victorino has come off as at least as much of an asshole as Reyes, particularly with that little league helmet of his.  The Mets played the Braves, Marlins, Phillies, and Nationals a total of 72 times, without incident; in fact, the Mets failed to get into a single fight all season.  Sure, the Marlins don’t seem to have a whole lot of love for Jose Reyes (or Mike Pelfrey, for that matter), but frankly, the Marlins’ pitching had been good all season; their pitching had at least a fighting shot at beating the Mets in the last series because they sent three pretty good pitchers to the mound.  Hatred for the Mets did not determine this season, and hatred for Jose Reyes sure didn’t determine this season; fact is, the Mets just didn’t play well enough to make the postseason.  Gillick sells his own players short when he says things like this.

And then, there’s the World Series championship itself.  Congrats, Phillies fans, your team finally ended 25 years of futility for the city.  You would think talk would be about how great this team was, and how they perservered through a tough 2005 and 2006 when the core just missed out on making the playoffs two straight years, and how they made some big breakthroughs to bring the championship home. Surely, the story would be about the Phillies and their great players that helped get the job done.  Players like Chase Utley, who has emerged as one of the best overall players in the big leagues, or Ryan Howard, one of the premier sluggers in the game, or Cole Hamels, who should be one of the top 5-10 pitchers in baseball over the next 10 years.  This is the story, right?

Well, sure seems like Harry Kalas is more obsessed with an event that took place one month ago, or that Mitch Williams is still talking about a guy who has been sitting at home watching the playoffs on TV.  What’s the point, to piss off Mets fans?  Isn’t that a bit petty?  We aren’t the story here, folks.  We haven’t been the story since September 29th-ish, after the Mets were eliminated.  We aren’t that important at this point, and frankly, we haven’t been in some time.  While I’m sure you guys are pretty happy that the NL team with the best record against the Phillies didn’t make the playoffs, shouldn’t you guys be over us by now?  We stink.  We’ve been done for months.  Get over us.

Look, I know the city of Philadelphia doesn’t know how to win.  I understand that, because they haven’t won anything in 25 years, this is a new concept for them.  But part of winning should mean getting over past slights, which…to be honest, I can’t think of any major slights the Phillies have endured against the Mets.  The two seasons that have ever seen a Mets/Phillies pennant race in the history of baseball went in favor of the Phillies.  The Mets are the ones who should have a complex here (and trust me, we do have a complex about this).  We’re the ones who just suffered back to back heartbreaking losses at the end of the season at the hands of the Phillies (and Brewers).  We’re the ones undergoing questions by stupid talk radio hosts saying that we need to break up the core (even though without the core, we finish 10-15 games back instead of 1).  The fact that Phillies fans, players, and announcers have this weird complex about the Mets, a team that hasn’t finished in the playoffs in two straight years, at the expense of the Phillies, just strikes me as sad.

9 Responses to “Hey Philadelphia – learn how to win”

  1. papreps says:

    Word Effin Champions.
    What follows is the greatest championship speech in the history of sports.

  2. papreps says:

    World Champions, baby. Read it and weep.

  3. PhilsWin says:

    Let me explain as a Phillies fan. Each year, your fans take over our ballpark and taunt our fans. Those fans are rude and obnoxious. Look around Shea Stadium when the Phillies play there. There are a handful of our fans. During a game where there was a rain delay, when the game resumed, there were still a lot of Met fans there. They chanted “Jose Jose Jose” in our ballpark.

    Jose is not the only one who celebrates. Jose and Pedro have a special dance they do together, and Carlos Delgado, who is entering the 500 club with some very impressive baseball names, looks like a child dancing and handshaking with Reyes. Fernando Tatis runs sideways from third to home after a homerun and then raises his arms to the sky.

    Perhaps there were no incidents recently with the Marlins and it’s because Hanley Ramirez, God love him, almost tore off the head of Reyes for behaving that way. Mets are afraid to pull that crap with the Marlins. Mets have been downright rude to Atlanta and their players as well. That’s why they have it in for them.

    As for Jose raising his finger against the Phillies, what kind of an idiot would do that after they collapsed so badly the year before at the hands of the Phillies. And what exactly has this team won to make them so cocky?

    What you are seeing is the backlash to the years we had to put up with NY being in our faces. The last great team the Mets had was the 2000 Mets who were players who did their talking on the field minus the showboating. They played hard and with class. Nobody ever complained about them.

    What you have night after night in the Mets dugout is a circus. It should make you so angry as a fan. Even the great Goose Gossage said there’s not enough mustard in NY for Jose Reyes. It’s not just Philly.

    YOU get over it.

  4. tjv101 says:

    I hate the Phillies…plain and simple. I hate the Yankees more but I am starting to think that I hate the Phillies as a very close second. The difference between this team and the Mets team of 2008 is one player named Brad Lidge. Their bullpen of Madson, Durbin, and Lidge pretty much closed the book on any team when the Phils were leading especially after the 8th inning when they were 78-0.

    Its amazing to me that Charlie Manuel was nearly run out of town a few years ago and now he’ll probably get a contract extension. Granted, the Phillies are a good team but no one (minus subjective, opinonated Philly fans) thought this team was good enough to be in the World Series let alone walk off carrying the championship. So as much as I hate them, they did something that I am jealous of as Met fan which is win a championship with talented players. It should motivate Omar Minaya into doing whatever he can to dethrone the two straight NL East champs if it means overpaying for K-Rod or Sabathia.

  5. Chris Wilcox says:

    See, i don’t think this team NEEDS a K-Rod or Sabathia. The secondary players on this team, by and large, stink. Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis, and first-half Ryan Church were the only players beyond the nucleus who offensively asserted themselves this year. They need better players at catcher, perhaps second (if Murphy can’t play there), and LF; they don’t need GREAT players, just players who aren’t bad.

    Same with the bullpen; the bullpen guys generally have talent. They do need a “bullpen ace,” but I don’t think they need to go crazy and get A-Rod to have that ace. Brian Fuentes or a trade target (provided they don’t overpay to get that target) would be more than adequate. Same with the rotation; Sabathia is unnecessary on a team that has Santana. They just need to fill the rotation out. I just want to see the team spend smart, not necessarily spend big.

    As for the Phillies…I thought they had peaked before the playoffs, and winning the World Series didn’t change my mind. I suspect we have seen the best Phillies team we are going to see for quite some time; the Mets need to take advantage next year and blow away the NL East.

  6. tjv101 says:

    Having a 1-2 punch of Santana and Sabathia at the start of your rotation basically negates a need for a bullpen two days a week. Right now, its not intimidating with Santana, Maine, and Pelfrey alone. Also, I don’t know what team you were watching this year but this bullpen was awful. It is the single pressing reason this team was not in the playoffs nor ran away with a division. Where did you see talent? I saw blown lead afterblown lead. I have given up on Heilman, Schoenweis, Sanchez, and Ayala. I would flip a coin to keep Feliciano or not. The only one I would keep would be Joe Smith. Spend the money on K-Rod. He wants the ball on a nightly basis so give it to him. I feel his biggest problem this year was his overuse and the beating the saves record.

    The core is good enough so leave it be one more year and take your chances with Daniel Murphy playing second base if you can’t trade Castillo. It was pitching that sunk this team’s ship more than anything and as a Mets fan, I would not be happy if they retained most of that awful ‘pen for next season. They need to make a big splash (again) this offseason to get that taste of the last two failed years out of my mouth.

  7. Chris Wilcox says:

    If the Mets sign Sabathia, there isn’t any money left over to rebuild the bullpen (certainly not to sign K-Rod as you seem to be in favor of doing), or fill spots at catcher, second base, and left field, not to mention the other starting rotation spot that’s still open. The notion that “with Santana and Sabathia, the Mets won’t need a bullpen two days a week” is ridiculous; look at how many times Santana left games this year with the lead only for those leads to be blown by the bullpen. The Mets have too many areas they need to improve that price them out of the Sabathia race; it would be nice to think they could start Santana and Sabathia, but it’s simply not realistic.

    Aaron Heilman has talent; I don’t think anybody is disputing that. There’s a very good chance he was hurt all season, which is the reason why he didn’t pitch very well. He had pitched well every season before that, and he’s still young. The guy has talent.

    Duaner Sanchez had talent before his injury. Now, there’s a very good chance he won’t ever regain that talent, but there is also no good reason why the team should abandon ship on him when it won’t cost him much to do so. Cutting him loose when he isn’t even looking at much of an arbitration award would be a bad idea.

    Pedro Feliciano has talent; he can get left handed batters out. In the past, he’s shown an ability to get right-handers out too, but that seems to have gone away, but as long as he has value as a lefty-specialist, and as long as the Mets aren’t carrying two Pedro Felicianos (hint: Scott Schoeneweis has to go), he’s not a bad guy to have around.

    Joe Smith and Brian Stokes have talent. Nobody is saying they don’t, though, so I won’t defend them.

    I just counted five guys who the Mets have under control for 2009 who have talent and who the Mets should bring back. They need a relief ace; they don’t need the BEST relief ace, but they need somebody who can pitch the ninth. They probably need another pitcher after that, maybe two, maybe more; but going out and signing Francisco Rodriguez doesn’t solve all of their problems, and for what he’s looking for, he’s too expensive.

  8. Chris Wilcox says:

    First, to the Phillies fans – I apologize for not approving your comments sooner. Because of spam, I do not allow first-time comments until I approve them, and I didn’t see your comments in the queue until this evening.

    To papreps: Congratulations on the Phillies’ World Series championship. Also, thank you for proving the overlying point of what I wrote, that Phillies fans do not know how to win gracefully. Hopefully, the next Philadelphia championship will be less than 25 years from now (preferably in a sport I don’t care about, like basketball) so you can get some experience at this.

    To PhilsWin: First of all, here is an idea to keep Mets fans out of your ballpark; try selling the place out with Phillies fans before Mets fans can buy the tickets. I’m not going to apologize for Mets fans who care about their team enough to drive 2 hours from New York to watch their team play in person. If Phillies fans were buying those tickets, Mets fans wouldn’t be sitting in them. If Phillies fans cared about their team enough to drive up to New York to see them, we would have more of this element in our ballpark.

    I won’t excuse Mets fans if they act out of line, perhaps by drinking to excess and screaming at the 13 month old nephew of another team’s player (oh wait – I’m sorry, that was Phillies fans). If you had a specific argument other than “Mets fans care so much about their team that they…they…drive 2 hours to watch them in another city and cheer them wildly!” I would not defend Mets fans. If we act drunk and belligerently, I would not defend that. But having been to many Mets/Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park, all I have ever seen is exuberance by Mets fans who care about their team. If you don’t want Mets fans there, sell out your ballpark.

    As for Hanley Ramirez, if he (or for that matter, any Phillies fan) had a real issue with Reyes, wouldn’t there have been a real altercation this year? I watched most of the Mets’ 162 games; the Mets didn’t have one fight all season long. For a team that is supposedly so hated by the Marlins, Phillies, and Braves, not one of these teams chose to act on their hatred. With this reputation Jose Reyes has as a serial over-celebrator, would you care to guess how many times he was hit by a pitch in 2008? One time. For his career, spanning 3,485 plate appearances, Jose Reyes has been beaned 5 times. If teams REALLY took issue with how he celebrated, why isn’t he getting any brushback out there?

    At least you mentioned other players in your argument about how the Mets are this cocky, arrogant team that walks around baseball like their poop doesn’t stink. Too bad it’s mostly false. Pedro Martinez didn’t celebrate much of anything this year; it’s pretty hard to take part in celebrations, after all, when only 6 of your 18 starts can be considered “quality.” Carlos Delgado, like all Mets players, has a handshake he does with Jose Reyes after a home run, but is pretty far from excessively celebratory; he was in fact criticized by the New York papers (unfairly, in my opinion) for not celebrating enough when Mets fans asked for a curtain call after a two run game in April. I also can’t claim to remember anything particularly cocky about Fernando Tatis, although perhaps you’re referring to the big two-run homer he hit at Citizens Bank Park in the 12th inning that helped give the Mets a lead. And considering the big spot there and the fact that he was out of baseball for four years…I’ll give him that one.

    Still…even if we give you all four Mets’ serial overcelebrators, that leaves…what, four players on the entire roster? That’s only 1/6 of the team. Guys like David Wright, Carlos Beltran, Brian Schneider, Ryan Church, Johan Santana, John Maine…these folks don’t seem to do anything particularly celebratory. I’m sure if prompted, I could name four particularly brash members of the Phillies (Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins immediately come to mind). I don’t really care; they are who they are, and excessive celebrations don’t really bother me on the whole. If they bother you, hey, that’s your opinion. We’re allowed to disagree, that’s cool.

    I would just like to think that, in the midst of the greatest sports accomplishment in this city in 25 years or more, that the Mets would rank fairly low in the minds of most Philadelphia Phillies fans, considering that the Mets had been eliminated a month ago, had last played the Phillies over six weeks ago, and that the city of Philadelphia had better things to talk about on that day and time, namely their championship baseball team, the first championship since 1983. Our obnoxious, terrible fans had already had our hopes dashed. Our horrible team of serial overcelebrators had already been sitting at home for a month watching reruns of Mama’s Family and playing bridge with the neighbors. Your team accomplished something great, and still could only talk about our lousy ass baseball team. What does that say about your team, your front office, your broadcasters, and your fans?

  9. PhilsWin says:

    Wow, Chris. There is much to cover here from your reply. Regarding selling out our own ballpark, I am only one person. It’s like saying “don’t buy gas if the price is too high”. And I’ve been to that ballpark enough to know that the Mets fans who are getting these tickets have connections with the season ticket holders. They sit in the best seats in the house.

    I am married to a diehard Mets fan who loved Tom Seaver as a kid and it grew from there. We are both from South Jersey. He is as passionate as I am about his team and the sport. He is mid-40s. I am early 40s, so we are not children. When one of our teams is in the post-season, the other supports it. I have had many parties here during the 2000 series against the Braves and then against the Yankees. I loved that Mets team. This team, not so much and neither does my husband.

    Last year during a game against the Phillies at CBP, Jose Reyes was caught stealing. He argued the play. At the bottom of the inning when the Mets were throwing the ball around the infield, Reyes dropped his glove to his feet and refused to participate. I asked my husband “what is he doing” and my husband said “showing up the ump”. A complete disrespect to the game. Jose Reyes hides in the dugout when he’s slumping. He does not rally his team or rise to the occasion. He’s a selfish baby. As for Delgado not celebrating after hitting the second homerun, it was just another example of childishness. He refused to play under Willie Randolph, so he was basically a no-show the first half of the season. He ired the fans with his play and when they wanted to show their gratitude for his incredible game, he had to be dragged out of the dugout. That is the mentality of the Mets team.

    There were no confrontations with the Marlins this year. You are correct. Because it happened in 2007 and it was a big brawl. And the next day, the Marlins beat the crap out of the Mets knocking them out of the playoffs. They made their statement and the Mets behave themselves with the Marlins now.

    Search around and you will find Pedro and Jose dancing it up in the dugout, even when Pedro was not pitching. As for Tatis, he slides sideways from third to home after every homerun. Mike Contessa on WFAN has mentioned it numerous times; he’s amazed that Fernando Tatis would have the gall to act like this after he has been out of baseball for so long. As for Wright, Beltran and the others you mentioned, they are fine, but the other team only remembers what they see, not what they don’t see. Watching the Mets on Saturday baseball on Fox once, Tim McCarver expressed his anger over Jose Reyes’ excessive celebrations on the field and in the dugout and argued with Joe Buck that that’s the reason why teams want to beat them. Look it up, the exact quotes are out there.

    Jimmy Rollins made a comment about the Mets during the celebration at CBP after the parade. I was there. Mets are Phillies rivals. Remember when Rollins said that the Phillies, based on the moves they made in the off-season, was the team to beat in the NL East? No other team took offense, only the Mets. There are four other teams in the East. Mets took it as a direct insult to them when the guy was merely trying to ignite his team. That’s their problem. Anyway, a year later, Beltran calls out Jimmy Rollins. What was that all about? Mets can do it but the Phillies can’t?

    I’ll say that Rollins made a point of mentioning the Mets because even as the Phillies were rolling along in the post-season, the nonsense from NY never stopped. Evan Roberts from FAN was so certain that Tampa would win the World Series, he launched a campaign encouraging callers to call in and vote on the best way for the Phillies to lose the World Series – did Met fans want a quick four game sweep or did Met fans want a slow torture and watch Brad Lidge blow his one and only save of the season in Game 7. During that broadcast, I was listening to 610 and a Phillies fan from New York called in and reported what Roberts was doing. Further evidence of how the Mets, who never won anything, play their games to ire the fans of Philadelphia and agitate the team. When Jimmy Rollins made his statement, that was redemption for all of the non-sense that went on throughout the season, ending with Evan Roberts’ little game. And by the way, he’s not laughing now.

    So NY, if you want to call out the Phillies over and over again, be prepared to take the backlash. Your response to me was just another example of a fan living in denial who cannot be objective. Hey, you should be mad at the Mets for parading around that way. They never won anything. Therefore, they are not winners. They are losers. And one other question – do you think that if the Mets took the time they spend on learning their dances and their handshakes, put that time into batting practice, that maybe Daniel Murphy’s lead off triple agains the Cubs might have meant something and they could have won that game which may have been a deciding factor for them in getting into the playoffs?

    You should get mad, Chris. They are making a mockery of the fanship and the game. They are not a team, they are a bunch of individuals who put on a Mets uniform. But, fortunately for you they have Santana. He’s gangstaaaaaa.

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