Problem is, whenever a Mets player has opened their mouth and proclaimed them the "Team to Beat" in the NL East, it hasn't exactly ended up so well for the Mets. I'd feel a little better if the Mets kept their mouths shut and did their talking on the field.
Then again, given that their main opponent, the Phillies, seems to have developed an obsessive and rather unprofessional hatred of the Mets, maybe it's just a little tough to ignore them. Maybe, perhaps, Carlos Beltran feels it better to needle them, just to make them think about the Mets a little bit more than they should.
The people doing the talking on the Philly side seem to be the usual suspects. First, it was Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins taking ample opportunity to trash the Mets at their own World Series Celebration, which I thought rather odd, why worry about the Mets when you just won the World Series?
It continued in December, when Cole Hamels, who was goaded and took the bait, called the Mets "Choke Artists" on Joe Benigno's radio show on WFAN. Again, I thought this rather odd, considering that, although the Phillies won the World Series, and Hamels was the World Series MVP and put himself into the National Spotlight as a Big Game Pitcher, the one team he struggled with more than anyone else in 2008 was, in fact, the Mets, to a tune of an 0-2 record and an ERA of 6, replete with a pair of HRs by Carlos Delgado that may still be going.
It would be preferable, I'm sure, to me and to most Mets fans, if we just kept quiet, because the Phillies seem to be doing a good enough job of making themselves look like a bunch of insecure, sore winners. Francisco Rodriguez is new here, and new to the rivalry, and I suppose he just wants to fit in a little better when he starts opening his mouth and making predictions. Predictions are cheap, and in all reality, they should be left to the writers and the bloggers to make. Even Jimmy Rollins himself, the guy who started this mess, seems to be out of the predicting business.
And all this is to say nothing of the warring factions of fans, who continue to seem intent to take over each other's stadiums, though this appears to have always been a one-sided battle that the Mets fans usually win. Particularly with Citi Field opening, 12,000 fewer seats, and far fewer opportunities to get tickets.
But it took Jose Reyes to say the one thing we've all been thinking all winter long. It took him one day in camp, and one conversation with a reporter, but Jose pretty much said what we've all been thinking. I certainly hope all his teammates are in agreement with him.
“We don’t worry about Philly. I don’t know why they worry so much about the New York Mets. They can talk about whatever they want to, because we worry about us. They are the one to win the World Series, not us, and we don’t say nothing about them. We just say congratulations to the Phillies. We focus on them when we play them, but they always seem like they’re talking something about us, and I don’t know why.”
I'm not so sure, either. It's even worse dealing with their fans, who seem to come off like an even more insecure version of Yankee fans. Tell them their concern with the Mets is insecurity, and they say something like, "SHUT UP! YOU SUCK! WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME THE METS WON THE WORLD SERIES!?"
It's a common retort to the Mets fan. We're used to it by now.
At any rate, Jose continued by talking about the Phillies' criticism of his Home Run celebrations:
I find it rather ironic that they would complain about Reyes jumping around and pumping his fist and doing some goofy handshake with Carlos Delgado, while their own guy, Little Shit Victorino, does everything short of run around with a flag whenever he gets a hit.
“I heard that. I don’t know why they say that, because I’m not the only one pimpin’ when I hit a home run. A lot of people do that. People from Philadelphia, too. They stand for a couple of seconds at home plate and nobody say nothing. So like I said, I don’t know why they’re so focused on us. We just worry about us.”
It's a recycled comment, but these 18 games are, once again, going to be very interesting, and very difficult to sit through. I'm looking forward to it.