Let's step back for a moment and remember 2007 and 2008.
My, those were good times weren't they? It was eight years ago yesterday, August 25, 2007, that the Phillies trailed New York by seven games in the NL East. Things were looking grim. Then the Phils went on a crazy rampage as the Mets fell to the bottom of the earth, making up five games in five days (aided by a late-August four game sweep at home, capped off by this incredible series finale), to eventually take the division from the shell-shocked Mets on the final day of the season.
In 2008, the comeback wasn't quite as dramatic, as the Phils trailed the Mets by just 3 1/2 games on September 10, only to rally and win the division for the second consecutive year.
The Phillies went on to win five straight division titles and a World Series. Meanwhile, the Mets entered one of their darker periods in generations, with money problems and lackluster play on the field resulting in six straight sub-.500 seasons for New York.
Met-ville had been a very dark and dreary place during those collapses, but it now appears the Mets are emerging from the catacombs, holding a 5 1/2 game lead over the struggling Washington Nationals in the NL East.
And they're enjoying it. Clearly, they're enjoying it. In their series opener against the Phils, the Mets had 15 extra-base hits. FIFTEEN EXTRA BASE HITS, including eight home runs, coming all the way back from a 7-2 deficit that included a number of exciting bat flips. On Tuesday night, they came back from a 4-3 hole to win 6-5, with lots of fist-pumps and emotion shown along the way.
Things came to a bit of a boil late in the game.
The Phils, Larry Bowa and Jeff Francoeur in particular, were upset that the Mets were quick-pitching Darin Ruf. As you can see, the Phils let off a little steam, but perhaps the blow-up had less to do with the quick-pitching and more to do with something else.
In fact, I'm quite certain it did.
The Phillies have now lost seven straight games against the Mets. They went 6-13 against New York last year, and are 1-10 against them this year. That's a two-year record of 7-23.
New York has their number. They know it, and the Phillies know it. And THAT'S what last night's madness was all about.
The Phillies can moan and whine and scream obscenities until they're blue in the face, but the only way to change the calculus on the field and shut the Mets up is to actually win the baseball game. To actually not blow a 7-2 lead after knocking Jacob deGrom out in the third inning. To actually not blow a 4-3 hard-earned lead against potential Rookie of the Year candidate Noah Syndergaard.
And hey, if you ARE upset about being quick-pitched, here's an idea. Don't put your second foot in the batter's box until you're ready to swing. Haven't we seen enough of hitters fixing their batting gloves, adjusting their cups, shining their shin guards, re-positioning their helmets, smelling the pine tar, and wiggling their hips before looking at the pitcher and getting in a position to actually swing the bat?
One of baseball's many unwritten rules states that quick-pitching is wrong. I disagree. I think it's up to the batter to be ready to hit when he's in the batter's box and not expect the pitcher to wait for him to get comfortable. In fact, it's a pitcher's job to MAKE the batter uncomfortable, within reason (and not for nothing, the umpire disallowed the pitch because he deemed it to be TOO quick).
But this incident on Tuesday had less to do with quick-pitching and more to do with the Phils' noses being bent out of joint over the Mets owning them over the last two seasons and dancing on their heads.
It's understandable that the Phillies would be upset. It's also understandable that the Mets are full of glee. In order for things to change, the Phils are going to have to do something drastic.
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