Posted on: November 29, 2008 12:51 pm

Hatred Towards Sports Rivals.

Why do we hate? Is it from pure dislike of the rival fans? Or is it because of winning? Winning does fuel hatred!

Why do fans across the country hate the Yankees, Red Sox or Mets? Or all the New York sports teams for that matter? Do rival New Yorkers hate one another so much just because we cheer for the opposing squad? Why hate the Cowboys, Patriots, or Raiders? The Lakers,etc. You get the point!

Speaking from a New York state of mind....I believe everyone not in New York hates the New York teams because we spend money, lure all the free agents, and compete to win. I believe everyone hates New Yorkers because it is labeled by so many the “greatest city in the World”. Is that what fuels the hatred? Just because the city that “never sleeps”, or the “Big Apple”, has so many knick names, does it drive residents from other states insane? New Yorkers are wonderful, passionate, opinionated, and stubborn when it comes to their sports. Just like every other fanatic in the world.  So many of you hate Philadelphians, or Bostonians; why?

Yes, Philadelphia fans threw snow balls at Santa Claus. That was really, really classy. But Rangers fans dressed up like Santa Claus at the Nassau Coliseum and then Islanders fans rumbled with them. I ask again, where’s the love? What is it about the Phillies, or the Eagles that drives Mets and Yankees, or Jets and Giants fans nuts? I realize the Phillies won the NL East this year and last, taking it from a collapsing Mets team. But to hate the fans? I need some concrete information about what makes Philly fans so terrible. They yell, they cheer, they make obnoxious comments at fans that wear the opposing colors of their teams, and they drink plenty of alcohol at the games. News flash New Yorkers, so do we. Do Philly, or Boston fans hate us just as much, or our winning teams?

I honestly believe that because New York wins, opposing fans hate our teams, and then the fans that associate with them. I ask you, do you really care about the Kansas City Royals? What about the San Diego Padres? Maybe you care about the Detriot Lions? I can tell you that it made me sick when the last out was recorded at Shea Stadium and the Phillies won the east again. I hated those Phillies. But, I thought it was amazing to see Citizens Bank ball park rocking into the wee hours of the morning for the World Series and thought, it should have been Shea! When the Red Sox finally won their World Series in 2004 after that endless drought, I am sure all Yankees fans were screaming, “I hate the Sox.” But does the hatred trickle down to the fans that are celebrating something that they deem sacred, that they have waited for during their lives. Listen New Yorkers, we do the same thing!

All in all, hate is a pretty strong word. Mets fans will hate the Yankees because of all the championships. Jets fans will hate the Patriots because they stole Bill Belichick and won all the championships. Yankees fans will hate the Red Sox because Boston is stealing the Yankees spot light, and so on, and so on. Hatred fuels the rivalry. But the passion fuels the hatred.

Posted on: October 9, 2008 6:08 am

NLCS Preview - Dodgers/Phillies

What the Dodgers need to do in order to advance to the World Series.

The Phillies have two pitchers in the top 30 in the majors in K/9. Both Hamels and Myers average almost 8 strikeouts per nine innings. Jamie Moyer averages 5.64 K/9. Blanton averages a shade over 5. If the Dodgers are going to beat the Phillies, they are going to have to overcome Philly’s pitching, which has miraculously morphed from a weakenss to a strength seemingly overnight. Specifically, they’ll have to:

  1. Hit home runs off Brett Myers. During the first half of the season, Myers gave up 24 homers in 101 innings. After a brief minor league tour he returned and only gave up five home runs in 88 innings. Myers’ second half resurrection had everything to do with his ability to keep the ball in the park. The Dodgers need to swing for the fences.
  2. Make the Phils’ starters throw pitches. That’s how the Brewers beat Jamie Moyer in Game 3. I’m not sure if playoff strike zones are smaller, but it sure seemed that way to Moyer on Saturday. If the Dodgers can get to the Philadelphia bullpen early, they’re golden. The Phils’ bullpen was solid all season, but showed signs of fatigue down the stretch. Chad Durbin and Brad Lidge are running on fumes. Lidge, in particular, is building towards his own Mitch Williams moment.
  3. Don’t pitch to Utley. He’s so due.
  4. Start Clayton Kershaw. He’d be murder on the Phils’ lefty bats.
  5. Don’t play Juan Pierre. Ever. Not even a little.

What the Phillies need to do in order to advance to the World Series.

This should be a tough series for the Phillies.  While the Phillies have a better offense on paper, the Dodgers have good starters, a good bullpen, and play solid defense, being much better than the Brewers in all of those categories.

People are saying that the Phillies should not be afraid of Manny Ramirez, and I agree.  Although Manny has been a monster with the Dodgers these past two months, the Phillies have actually managed to contain him this year, holding him to a .212 average with a .333 slugging percentage and two extra-base hits and five RBIs in 10 games against them this season. The Phillies say they have a game plan for Manny, and they should stick to it, even if Manny gets a big hit early in the series. Because the Dodgers have enough good hitters to make you pay if you pitch around Manny too much - guys like Ethier, Martin, and James Loney.

Actually the Phillies would be well-advised to pound the strike zone in general against the Dodgers.  With the glaring exception of Matt Kemp, who set a Dodgers team record for strikeouts this year, the Dodgers lineup is surprisingly full of patient hitters who are willing to take a walk rather than get themselves out.  In addition to Manny, Rafael Furcal, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, and Blake DeWitt all have above average command of the strike zone, as they showed in burying Ryan Dempster with 7 walks in game one of the NLDS, so the Phillies should avoid pitching too fine against these guys (Although by all means, extend the strike zone against Matt Kemp).

Finally, the Phillies need to play with confidence that they are the better team.  The Dodgers’ top three starters are all groundball pitchers, which seems like a good combo to limit the home run power of the Phillies lineup, so it may be tempting for to try to mix it up and go with some small ball and try to “make things happen” to get something going against worm killers Lowe, Billingsley, and Kuroda, but this would be a mistake.  As hot as the Dodgers have been since Manny arrived, going 30-25 since the trade, the Phillies were much better, going 34-21 against better competition.  The Dodgers searched all year for a power bat until they finally found Manny, who hit 17 homers for them down the stretch, but the Phillies have Ryan Howard, who hit 18 homers in that same span, not to mention Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, and Jayson Werth. The Dodgers may have a slight edge in starting pitching, but the Phillies would seem to have a huge edge in power hitting, which should give their pitchers some room for maneuver.  The secret to the Phillies beating the Dodgers is recognizing that their is no secret and sticking to their game. Trickery is for teams that are not as good and need to find an edge.  The Phillies are the better team, so they should stay within themselves and make the Dodgers adjust to them.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 7, 2008 8:52 pm

First Half Review

AL East: Are the Rays for Real?

A year ago, Boston, Detroit, and Los Angeles were leading their divisions while Cleveland had the best record among the rest. The Red Sox and the Angels went on to win division titles, the Indians blew past the Tigers in the second half to capture the Central, and New York went to the whip and earned the wild card spot. Boston had the best record in baseball at the All-Star break and won the 2007 World Series by beating the Angels, Indians, and the Colorado Rockies in the postseason.

Tampa Bay owns the best win-loss mark this season. Can the Rays pull a repeat of what the Red Sox accomplished in 2007? By winning seven in a row and 11 of 12, the upstart Rays have now opened up a five-game lead in the East and are now the hottest – if not the best – team in baseball. A 200:1 shot to win it all before the season began, Tampa Bay's odds have dropped to about 11:1 behind only the Red Sox, Cubs and Angels.

In just one year, the Rays have gone from worst to first in the AL. Get this, Tampa Bay's run differential has improved by almost 200 runs or nearly 2.5 per game. It's taken time – a long time – to build this franchise but the average age of the major league team, the strength of the minor league system, and lots of flexibility in payroll suggest the turnaround is for real.

Spring Training picks: 1.Red Sox 2.Yankees 3.Blue Jays 4.Rays 5. Orioles

Current Standing: 1.Rays 2.Red Sox 3.Yankees 4. Orioles 5. Blue Jays

AL Central: Surprise, Surprise 

The two Chicago teams are leading their leagues in run differentials. A Windy City World Series may not be what 28 other cities would like to see but would be pretty good for baseball (or so says this lifelong New Yorker). I'm not as surprised by the Cubs as I am by the White Sox I figured them for third in the AL Central. But what do I know? I didn't see it in 2005 either.

Minnesota caught me off guard as well. I picked them for fourth. With a five-game winning streak and an overall record of 50-38, the Twins are only one back of the White Sox. In what appeared to be a rebuilding year, Minnesota finds itself in the thick of things after the July 4th weekend. To think that the Twins would be contending without Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano means the pitching staff is performing at or better than most expectations.

Cleveland has lost eight games in a row and management appears to have called it a season with the reported trade of C.C. Sabathia to the Milwaukee Brewers for 2007 first rounder Matt LaPorta, a former college home run champ at Florida, and three other minor league prospects. The Tribe's run differential is only minus six but when you are behind the Kansas City Royals in the standings and 14 games back of the division leader, it's time to reassess your club's chances. It's hard to fault Cleveland for trading Sabathia, who turned down a four-year, $72 million contract during the spring. Good luck to Milwaukee and/or the team that gives C.C. a five-year, $100 million deal.

Spring Training picks: 1.Indians 2.Tigers 3.White Sox 4.Twins 5. Royals

Current Standing: 1.White Sox 2.Twins 3.Tigers 4. Royals 5. Indians

AL West: Same Old

Six games in front of Oakland, the Angels have the biggest lead of any division leader and probably the clearest path to the postseason. However, the Halos may not be as good as their record indicates. The team has won six more games than what would be expected based on their runs scored and allowed. The pitching has been superb, while the hitting has been mediocre at best.

The A's have allowed the fewest runs (324) and the Texas Rangers have scored the most runs (511) in baseball. Each club benefits from favorable park environments but their success goes beyond that. Both teams are playing .500 on the road. Only the Angels and Yankees sport better than .500 records away from home.

Spring Training picks: 1.Angels 2.Mariners 3.Athletics 4.Rangers

Current Standing: 1.Angels 2.Athletics 3.Rangers 4. Mariners

NL East: Philly's Stake Looks Promising

Playing in a hitter's ballpark and Brett Myers having pitched his way to the minor leagues, who would have thought the Phillies would be third in the NL in runs allowed? And Cole Hamels didn't make the All-Star team? Philadelphia is one of two teams (the other being STL) in the league with a winning record on the road.

Florida has been an even bigger surprise than Tampa Bay, at least to me. The Marlins have been hanging tough all year and are in second place and only 2.5 games back of the Phillies. In a year in which Chipper Jones, Lance Berkman, and Chase Utley have gotten most of the press, Hanley Ramirez is doing his best to win his first Most Valuable Player award.

Spring Training picks: 1.Mets 2.Phillies 3.Braves 4.Nationals 5. Marlins

Current Standing: 1.Phillies 2.Marlins 3.Mets 4. Braves 5.Nationals

NL Central: Three Team Race

Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Louis own the three best records in the NL. That said, only two of these teams, at most, will reach the postseason. All three clubs have positive run differentials with the Cubs ranking first in the league in runs scored and fourth in runs allowed.

Cincinnati has won four in a row and would like to nothing better than to work its way into this race. Whether the Reds are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline will most likely determine their fate.

Spring Training picks: 1.Brewers 2.Cubs 3.Reds 4.Astros 5. Cardinals 6.Pirates

Current Standing: 1.Cubs 2.Brewers 3.Cardinals 4. Reds 5.Astros 6.Pirates

NL West: Wide Open

Just as it looked as if this division was looking like a powerhouse, all five teams out west have records under .500 and rank among the bottom ten in the majors in ESPN power index.

Arizona and Los Angeles, the first and second place teams, both have scored more runs than allowed. The Dodgers, in fact, have given up fewer runs than any defense in the NL. The problem is that LA ranks third-to-last in runs scored. Injuries have been a factor for sure but Rafael Furcal may not be back this season and Andruw Jones does not look like the $18 million man.

The Diamondbacks, all the rage in April, are 24-37 since the first month of the season. The good news for Arizona fans is that the D-Backs still sit atop the NL West. The bad news is that the club ranks 23rd in the Power Index. Nonetheless, one of these teams in the West will find itself playing in October and, remember, the Rockies were in fourth and clinging to a .500 record a year ago – so there is hope.

Spring Training picks: 1.Dodgers 2.Daimondbacks 3.Rockies 4.Padres 5. Giants

Current Standing: 1.Daimondbacks 2.Dodgers 3.Giants 4. Rockies 5.Padres

Posted on: February 22, 2008 8:59 pm

The Mets-Phillies Rivalry!

As Mike Vaccaro of the NY Post writres  - "Well, hell, it's about time."

This is becoming an intense rivalry, sometimes called the "Turnpike Series" due to the New Jersey Turnpike connection between the two cities.

The Mets-Phillies rivalry has been  said to be the second best rivalry in baseball after the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.  I'm would not go that far as of yet, but it sure has the chance to be.

Back in Jan. 2007 Rollins made a quote that may have set the rivalry in a dead heat. Rollins stated that: "I think we are the team to beat in the NL East -- finally."  Many Mets fans and players laughed at the prediction, but the Phillies dominated the Mets in wins that season. On the final day of the season, the Phillies won the division, backing up Rollins' quote.

This year Beltran stated that, "Without Santana, we felt, as a team, that we had a chance to win in our division. With him now, I have no doubt that we're going to win in our division. I have no doubt in that. We've got what it takes. To Jimmy Rollins: We are the team to beat."

Mets fans often show up at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park  in large numbers, while smaller pockets of Phillies fans attend games at New York's Shea Stadium. 

The Phillies are fighting the  Curse of William Penn - sometimes used to explain the failure of professional sports teams based in Pennsylvania to win championships since the March 1987 construction of the One Liberty Place skyscraper, which exceeded the height of William Penn's statue atop Philadelphia City Hall. Since then, no Philadelphia major sports team (baseball, football, basketball, or hockey) has won a league championship.

The last professional team to win a championship in Philadelphia of the four major sports in was the Philadelphia 76ers  in the 1983.

There is even a movie on the curse  by the same name, The Curse of William Penn, was produced in 2006.

The Fanbase:

  • Mets' fanbase comes from the New York metro area, as well as southern Connecticut and northern New Jersey
  • Phillies' fanbase generally draws from the Philadelphia metro area, as well as eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and parts of Delaware.


  • Both team won a World Series during the 1980s. The Phillies in 1980 and the Mets in 1986.
  • 1st meeting April 27, 1962
  • number of meeting 783
  • all-time series -  PHI leads, 419-364
  • current streak - PHI 8 straight wins
  • Longest Mets winning streak - 10
  • Longest Phillies winning streak - 10
  • Both teams have a historic collapse. The  Phillies gave up a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 to play in 1964 - the Mets gave up a 7 game lead with 17 to play in 2007

The Phillies:

  • 1 World Series Championship
  • 5 League Championships
  • 7 Division Championships
  • 0 Wild Cards

The Mets:

  • 2 World Series Championship
  • 4 League Championships
  • 5 Division Championships
  • 2 Wild Cards

In the 46 year history between the two teams they have only finished 1-2 four times.

  • 1986 Mets 1st place Phillies 2nd place
  • 1995 Tied for 2nd place
  • 2006 Mets 1st place Phillies 2nd place
  • 2007 Phillies 1st place Mets 2nd place

Do you welcome the Rivalry?

Category: MLB
Posted on: January 27, 2008 9:00 pm

What's missing: Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies - RH Bat, Starter not named Adam Eaton. Relief Pitching

And I'm back in reality. The 2007 NL East Champs (it pains me to say that) should have no problems scoring runs in the coming season. They led the National League in runs scored (2nd in MLB) and the lineup remains largely intact. While there is no such thing as a sure thing, the big three of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and (ahem) MVP Jimmy Rollins come close. And Pat Burrell will continue to be denied his just praise by the Phillies fan base. The only real change in the lineup comes in the form of Geoff Jenkins, who will most likely get the bulk of the time in RF, while Shane Victorino moves to Center to replace the departed Aaron Rowand. I was a bit surprised by the Jenkins deal, as I thought that the Phils were already loaded with hitters capable of hitting from the left side. Howard, Utley, Greg Dobbs, Rollins, Victorino, and now Jenkins are all either lefty or switch hitters, leaving only Carlos Ruiz and Pat Burrell hitting from the right side during most games. Jayson Werth should see some time in lieu of Jenkins against lefty pitching, but I do wonder if they should get an additional rightly capable of swinging the bat.

I do have to admire the Phillies for obtaining Brad Lidge from Houston on the cheap. This has of course allowed the team to move Brett Myers back into the rotation, and he and Cole Hamels should be a formidable duo atop the rotation. However, much like Atlanta, the rest of the rotation needs work. There are mixed feelings on Kyle Kendrick. So far in his brief MLB career, he hasn't induced nearly enough ground balls (1.55 GB/FB ratio) to make up for the fact that he strikes out far too few (3.8 K/9 IP. 3.8!!!) . His peripheral stats project him as someone who should have an ERA in the mid-to-high-fours. I do expect Jamie Moyer to be slightly better than he was in 2007, but this does assume that his magic anti-aging powder was not discontinued. Plus, Moyer had an ERA over 5 last year, so “slightly better” in this context doesn't have much weight. But compared to Adam Eaton, I'll take Kendrick and Moyer any day. Here’s a general rule of thumb: bringing an extreme fly ball pitcher into an extreme home run hitters’ park is generally a bad idea. Just think Philly fans, only two more years and $16.135 million to go! At this point, Chad Durbin would most likely be the safer option.
While I still have faith that Brad Lidge can be a fine closer, I do wonder about this team’s bullpen. Tom Gordon (can we stop calling him Flash now?) is no longer reliable, and they have no viable lefty option after J.C. Romero. Will someone step up?
Category: MLB
Tags: Phillies
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