I know that the remarks made by Cole Hamels on WFAN with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts have touched off quite a firestorm by now. Is anyone really surprised?
In reality, Hamels was basically goaded into calling the Mets "choke artists." And given the amount of disdain the Phillies have for the Mets, which borders on the insanity of the '85-'87 St. Louis Cardinals, I'm not too surprised that he went and said it.
Yes, the argument could very well be made (and has, many times over), that this is somehow some sort of insecurity on the part of the Phillies. After all, they won the World Series in 2008. The Mets got to sit at home and watch. So why kick the Mets when they're down?
I know we, as Mets fans, would like to think that we're above it all. And perhaps most of us are. But we don't like the Phillies, and the Phillies don't like us, and why should their players be concerned with the Mets at all when they're the Champs. The Mets did some talking last year to try to fire themselves, and all of us up, and it ultimately didn't work. Well, the Phillies have been talking pretty much since the beginning of 2007, and they've backed it up with postseason appearances both times. They're the World Champions now, and the Mets have had two straight years of excruciating failures at the end of the season. I can contend that the Mets didn't choke either season, they just weren't that good, and all it took was a Philly hot streak in '07 and the failures of the Bullpen in '08 to catch up with the Mets. My infamously insane co-worker can make the oft-repeated idiot's argument that the Mets had to be the better team since they won 11 of 18 from Philly (a valid point, yes, but not something that's going to change the outcome of the season). A recycled comment, but if we were so good, if we were such a great team, why were we the ones sitting at home in October while the Phillies were playing Baseball in a beautiful late-October Monsoon?
I said it before and I'll say it again. You are going to be remembered by the History you create, and right now, the Mets have created a history that will earn them the label of Choke Artists. The way I see it, Hamels can talk all he wants. There's really not much the Mets or their fans can say in response, despite the amount of chirping going on at Metsblog or any other chatboard or blog or wherever.
Which is just how it should be.
If the Mets want to shut Hamels up, if they want to shut Rollins up, if they want all the Philly fans to stop waving their Championship Banner in our faces, if they want the Choke Artist label to be removed, well, there's really only one thing the Mets can do. And that's go out there in 2009 and beat their asses. Not just the Phillies asses, everyone's asses. And don't stop until Johan Santana is taking a victory lap around Citi Field holding the World Series Trophy.
Otherwise, we should all just shut up.