Do The Mets Have A Rivalry With Any Team?

With the Mets in Philadelphia over the weekend, I can’t help but wonder if they have a rivalry with any team. I mean a serious, hate-their-guts rivalry. They definitely don’t have anything with the spice of Yankees-Red Sox.

For two seasons, at least, they had something with the Phillies, and in 2007 and 2008 they kicked away the NL East on the final weekend. Jimmy Rollins was right when he said the Phillies were the team to beat.

But, for 50 years, Mets-Phillies was mostly ho-hum, despite the closeness of the two cities. Geography is only a small factor for it, but it can’t be the sole essence of an intense rivalry. That’s why Mets-Yankees, to me, doesn’t make it, either. So what that they play in the same city. The bottom line is the two teams aren’t competing for the same thing. That, in large part is why interleague play doesn’t cut it.

The Mets and Phillies are competing for the same prize, but the teams are rarely good at the same time. Rollins and Carlos Beltran traded jabs a couple of times and Cole Hamels suggested the Mets choked (actually, the words were put in his mouth by WFAN talk-show hosts), which was simply a statement of fact.

Early in their history, for obvious reasons, there was a rivalry with the Dodgers and Giants. In 1969, it was the Cubs. Then at various times the rivals became the Pirates, the Cardinals, and then the Braves.

Of all of them, the Braves might have been the most intense over the longest period.

When you look at the great rivalries in sports, the competition for the same goal is usually the basis. Then other factors, such as geography and certain players spice the rivalry.

From the Philadelphia perspective, much of their scorn for the Mets was personified in Jose Reyes, but he’s gone. There’s no real Met for Phillies fans to hate. Where’s Billy Wagner when you need him.

There’s really no team the Mets face that gets the blood boiling. The Yankees, because of interleague play, is more made-for-TV posturing. I covered it from both clubhouses and the responses where mostly clipped and cliche.

The only time I felt a genuine contempt by the clubs for each other was after 9-11, when several Yankees said they thought the Mets were getting more publicity for doing more than they were. Hard to understand that thinking considering the then major was at Yankee Stadium as much as City Hall.

Both teams were sincere about the community, but circumstances dictated more cameras were on the Mets at key times. The Shea Stadium parking lot was a staging area and Mets players loaded trucks while in uniform. Both teams visited local police and fire units. But, it was the Mets who had the first game back in New York.

And, the Mets threw quite a party that night.

That was the only time I thought seriously about the Mets and Yankees playing each other. The first game back? Oh, that would have been a special night.

But, when you’ve disappointed since 2006, and had limited spurts of greatness and then mediocrity for the better part of 50 years, it makes it hard to find a real rival.

I would say the Mets’ most intense rivalry for five decades has been with themselves.



7 thoughts on “Do The Mets Have A Rivalry With Any Team?

  1. The Yanks get more press because they are better. At least except for the 80’s.

    And their boss was a media whore.

    They were upset we got more press? I missed that.

    It just shows they are babies. Boo hoo. It’s not all about them. It is supposed to be about the city, the cops and fire fighters.

    • Dave: That’s what it was supposed to be about, but there was some moaning about other things. … I know why the Yankees get so much more press. Some of it is deserved, some of it isn’t. I can see when one team gets more ink than the other based on circumstances. But, there are two NY baseball team and they both deserve coverage. For one media outlet to cover one team and not the other is stupid.-JD

  2. Forgot to comment on the post.

    We don’t have a rivalry. It was the Braves cause they were better for a decade.

    But really I can’t think of any team.

    Maybe the phillies because they tried to rub our noses in it. But in the past 20 years I can only remember them being good for 4.

    • Dave: Unless both teams are good and they are competing for the same thing, then what’s the big deal? I thought there was something compelling about the Cardinals in the 1980s. Nothing right now.-JD

      • Ur right I forgot about the cards.

        They were good for a while. Good hitting team with pitching. Kinda like what I thought we were gonna be recently.

  3. I don’t count al versus nl.
    If you ask me every team should be considered a rival. Every met prior to 2000. Has said to this team. Stop being buddy buddy and talking nicey nice to the other team on field. On field hate then and want to beat them. It’s your job go out and do your job . I hear Keith say it all the time. He can’t stand seeing this team talk to a runner or fielder on opposing team as if they were teammates. This is at the heart of it in my mind. Sure be a good sport. But play to win and beat down the other team.
    With that said
    Braves and philthies . Braves cause of chipper and philthies cause well their fans are NASTY!!!

  4. Steve C: There is a lot of buddy-buddy these days and not all for the better. Going to Philly and Atlanta were always good trips I enjoyed, especially when they got new parks. Fulton County and the Vet were dumps. George King of the The Post once called the Vet as “an inflamed boil on the buttocks of the world.” George is one of the hardest working members of the press and he does have a way with words.-JD