New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies rivalry needs a playoff battle
By Tim Boyle
Until the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies meet in the postseason, their rivalry will never have the infamy it should.
The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies are natural rivals. Their geographical location feeds into it as does their placement within the same division.
Though they’ve had plenty of battles in the regular season, the rivalry between the two is quite hollow.
When the Mets are good the Phillies aren’t. When the Phillies play good baseball, the Mets are typically nearer to the bottom of the standings. It’s unfortunate because these two teams in big market cities could have a much better rivalry. Instead, it’s pretty weak.
What this rivalry needs is a playoff battle. Until recently, it was impossible. The introduction of the Wild Card and now the second Wild Card has opened up the possibility for this. More teams make the postseason and division rivals actually have a chance to play each other beyond the regular season.
We may have to wait a little longer than we would like to see the rivalry flood over into the postseason. The Mets don’t appear poised to make the playoffs anytime soon while the Phillies could do so as soon as this October.
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At some point, though, I have to believe these two organizations will have winning teams at the same point. Even in the years where one is trending downward and the other up, there isn’t much overlap. When the Mets are bad they tend to be really bad. The same is true for Philadelphia.
This doesn’t mean games between the two are pointless. Playing in the same division means spoiling the other’s season late in September. In 2018, this is what the Mets have a chance to do.
There are few rivalries in baseball with long-lasting juice. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have one of the best rivalries. It may be hard for some to imagine, but before the last 25 years, it was rather one-sided.
More playoff teams have given us better matches in the postseason. While it’s nice to see a Los Angeles team play one from New York, it’s not as bitter. Those teams see each other six times in the regular season. The far more intriguing matchup is one between teams who know each other well.
Hopefully, we do see these two teams meet in the playoffs one day. Even if it’s one game, the stakes between the two need to raise.
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The Mets and Phillies need a sudden death situation. They need to know if they lose, they’ve handed their enemy a championship opportunity.