May 6, 2009, 4:08 PM EDT
After splitting a pair of games with the Phils in Philadelphia, the Mets bring the fight back to their new home turf for the first time for another mini-series between the NL East enemies. It's a setup that you've got to love–a nationally televised rivalry game, in brand new digs, with the Mets throwing out their best pitcher (Johan Santana) and us throwing out ours (…Chan Ho Park). The best part? With their 10-7 victory over the Cardinals last night, the Phils not only moved into first place in the division, they increased their lead over the Mets to a full two-and-a-half games–ensuring that even if the Mets somehow won both games, they still wouldn't be able to say shit.
Speaking of being able to say shit–the Phils trip to New York will not only be their first visit to the new enemy territory, it'll be their first time coming to the Big Apple as returning champs (and with the Mets as two-time chumps). Before, the inter-fan bickering at Shea used to be relatively even-handed, usually following the general script of:
- Mets Fan: "Hey, nice Utley jersey. You guys looking forward to watching us in the playoffs this year?"
- Phils Fan: "Uh, who was it that made it to the post-season last year, again?"
- MF: "Oh yeah, how many games did you win there, again?"
- PF: "Hey, at least we made it. We didn't choke it away with a month to go."
- MF: "And when was the last time anyone in your city actually really won anything? The 1970s or something?"
Fair enough. But now that we've won a championship, it's gonna be more like:
- MF: "Hey, nice Utley jersey. You guys looking forward to Santana kicking your team's ass tonight?"
- PF: "Uh, WFCs. And you guys would have to win like five straight championships to make up for half the humiliation we've put you through the last two years."
- MF: …
Which is a good thing. Except that now–especially after we've apparently bloodied one of their own in our home grounds–the previously good-natured ribbing has a chance to turn somewhat dark. I'll certainly be looking over my shoulder as I make the trip uptown dressed in my Moyer jersey, watching carefully who I sit next to on the 7 train, checking my Shake Shack food twice to make sure nobody spit in it (or worse). But hey, I'm looking forward to it–it's not a real rivalry until the stakes have been raised a couple times, and lord knows things will be taken to a new level tonight.
7:00 tonight on ESPN. If I don't make it back alive, tell my non-existent wife that my last thoughts were of her, blinding and torturing Jose Reyes.
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