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November 02, 2008

Grow up!

I have a joke for you that I just made up.

Q How many Phillies players does it take to screw in a light bulb.

A Two. One to install the light bulb and one to talk trash about Jose Reyes.

The Phillies finished first in the NL East this year over the Mets, went on to beat the Brewers, followed by the Dodgers. In the World Series, they beat Tampa Bay. OK, congratulations. Nice job.

Now, what's the deal with this?

PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Jimmy Rollins made the most of another opportunity to take a dig at the New York Mets.

Speaking at Friday’s celebration for the Phillies’ World Series victory, the shortstop mentioned Mets left-hander Johan Santana and the crowd booed. But Rollins was loudly cheered after saying New York forgot one thing. As he put it: “It takes more than one player to bring home a championship.”
Let me get this straight. The regular season ended a full month ago, and the Phillies finished ahead of the Mets. The Phillies won three post-season series in a row to take the world championship. There's a celebration for them, and Rollins takes the opportunity . . . to "take a dig" at the Mets? WTF?

Look, this year, the Phillies won 92 games. The Mets won 89. Last year, the Phillies won 89. The Mets won 88.

Fine, you won, fair and square. But the fact is, your team is only one step above mediocre. The Mets are 3/4 of a step, maybe only a half a step, above mediocre. But powerhouse teams don't win a mere 92 games. These world champions won only 92 games. So let me put this a different way: If the Mets suck, the Phillies suck plus three wins. What's with the trash talk?

Seriously, there's something borderline pathological about this. As Matt Cerrone points out at MetsBlog, the Phillies are "obsessed" about the Mets:
Speaking of Reyes, during today’s broadcast on Comcast SportsNet of the Phillies World Championship parade through Philadelphia, host Michael Barkann asked his co-host, Mitch Williams, “I wonder if Jose Reyes is watching,” continuing, “Do you have anything to say to Reyes.”

Williams responded by saying, “This is what happens when you shut up and play.”
Did I say bordeline pathological? Make that full-bore pathological. It goes from the lowly fans to the broadcasters to the players all the way up to General Manager Pat Gillick (third item).
Phillies general manager Pat Gillick, in an interview with, expanded on his belief that the Phillies were aided by the animosity other NL East teams felt for the Mets. "I think sometimes it's good to be celebratory, but sometimes it reaches the point where they're taunting the other the team," Gillick said. "Everyone should have the opportunity to celebrate. But there's a fine line, and sometimes they tend to go over the line and taunt the other team."

Rollins agreed with Gillick's original assessment in the New York Daily News that the Phillies benefit in their division battle with the Mets by the hatred other NL East teams have for the Mets.

"Yes," Rollins said succinctly in answer to a question about whether the others in the NL East -- the Marlins, Braves and Nationals -- detest the Mets.
For those of you who live outside New York, you probably think we have a lot of palookas among our fans. And you're right. But there's nothing like Philadelphia fans in the realm of palookadom. In the 1960s, the Phillies brought up a great power hitter named Richie (later "Dick") Allen. It was said about the Phillies fans that if Allen hit three home runs and struck out his fourth time up, when he came to the plate for his fifth at-bat, the fans would boo him. I think little has changed.

Check out this photo (linked at MetsBlog). Better yet. check out this video of a fan who climbed onto a lamppost in downtown Philly, only to be knocked down by another fan throwing a bottle (via DPUD).

Really classy stuff.

And speaking of classy, check out what Chase Utley had to say:
Utley says he didn't even know he was going to address the crowd until 10 minutes before.

Utley smiled as he approached the microphone and proclaimed "World Champions!" The crowd cheered.

Then he smiled wider, leaned in and repeated the phrase, inserting an F-bomb between "World" and "Champions." The fans erupted and cheered for several minutes.

Later Friday, shirts and caps featuring Utley's phrase were offered for sale on the Internet.
Phillies Nation has more, including a video, if you give a [expletive]. Personally, I don't. When either the Phillies or the Mets climb out of mediocrity -- my not so arbitrary cutoff is 96 wins, minimum -- then let's talk again. Without expletives.

Meanwhile, I have some advice for the Phillies and their fans: GROW UP!

Or, as Chase Utley might put it, GROW [EXPLETIVE] UP!