It’s a Mets fan’s worst nightmare: Phillies vs. Yankees in the World Series. Many will simply avoid the Fall Classic altogether. The rest will begrudgingly watch — but it’s darn near impossible to invest yourself in a ballgame without pulling for one of the teams. Which to choose? Simple: the Phillies. Here’s why:
1. Because the reason you are a Mets fan is because you are NOT a Yankees fan.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone of course, but it does fit a significant portion of the fan base. If you are a Mets fan, chances are you are from the New York-Metro area. Which means you have a choice between two teams: the Mets or the Yankees. You (or your parents, or your grandparents) made the conscious decision to root for the Mets because you despised the Yankees and everything they stand/stood for. With that kind of deep-rooted hatred for the Yankees, you can’t possibly want them to win the World Series.
2. Because you are a National League fan.
If you didn’t choose them because they were the alternative to the Yankees, then you (or your parents/grandparents who handed down your Mets fandom) may have chosen the Mets because they were the New York team that represented the National League — one of the few leagues left on the planet that still plays baseball, as opposed to some sacrilegious abortion of the sport (i.e., those “baseball” leagues that allow such atrocities as a “designated pinch hitter”). If you are one of those people who believes in the purity and sanctity of the sport, and therefore also agrees that everyone who plays the field should also be allowed to bat, then by default you must also root for the NL team in the World Series, every year — just as you root for the NL in the All-Star Game. Of course you prefer that your team is in the Fall Classic, but if it is not, your next loyalty is to the Senior Circuit — the league upholding the standards and purity of true baseball.
3. Because the Mets-Yankees rivalry is much older and more intense than the Mets-Phillies rivalry.
Let’s face facts: Three years ago, you hated the Cardinals. Five years ago, you could care less about the Philadelphia Phillies — you hated the Atlanta Braves! And before the Braves (if you can remember that far back), you probably hated the Cubs — or the Cardinals (again). This Mets-Phillies “rivalry” only came about in 2007, and only because the Phillies happened to be the team that reaped the benefit of the Mets self-destructing in the final days of 2007 and 2008. Heck, the Mets beat the Phillies 11 out of 18 times in ’08 — so they were hardly a “nemesis”. If there was any true “rival” in ’08 it was the Marlins, who knocked off the Mets in the final days of both collapses.
In contrast, the Mets-Yankees rivalry has been going strong since 1962 — even without the two teams playing each other. Not unlike a big brother – little brother rivalry. Do you want to give up 47 years of hatred for a “rival come lately”? Not me.
4. Because you want the World Champion to come from the NL East.
If the best team in baseball comes from your division, then there’s at least some argument that your division is one of the toughest in all MLB. The Mets played the Phillies 18 times in ’09, and maybe all that competition had something to do with “toughening” the Phils or otherwise preparing them for their destiny. It sounds a little weak, I know, but think of it as an extension of the NL allegiance. Or, think of it this way: if your favorite team can’t win its division, don’t you want it to be because your division was led by the very best team in the world? There’s some solace in that, isn’t there?
5. Because a Yankees World Series win will be more annoying for a longer time through the winter.
This one does not apply if you live in South Jersey or within striking distance of Philadelphia. Otherwise, consider that you will have to listen to all the Yankees fans who come storming out of the woodwork — at your place of work, on the subway, on the bus, in the bars, etc., etc. — talk about the World Series win and take every opportunity possible to shove it in your face, every day from now through Opening Day 2010 (and perhaps beyond). In contrast, if the Phillies win, you will have the right to trash-talk and tease all the Yankees fans — because of reasons 1,2, 3, and/or 4.
About the Author
Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers.