Maybe it’s the warm Florida air or maybe it’s just the excitement of stepping back onto a baseball diamond, but for the past three years, the beginning of spring training has also brought along some serious trash-talk between the Phillies and the Mets. It all started, of course, back in 2007 when Nostra…er…Jimmy Rollins surprisingly proclaimed the Phillies the “team to beat” in the National League East. Last year, Mets center fielder Carlos Beltran echoed Rollins’ statement eight months before watching the Phillies win the World Series from home. This year, the new Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez took the honor of reviving everyone’s favorite three-word phrase that men aren’t afraid of. Yes, even the newcomers can’t resist the blooming rivalry that is Phillies-Mets baseball.
In fact, just a week ago, Mets outfielder and professional pudding-head Ryan Church came out and warned the Phillies to look out, because “we’re coming.” Church cited a “big bull’s-eye” on the Phillies back (I prefer to call it our ‘champ stamp’) as motivation for the Mets club. However, while this alternative to the oft-used “team to beat” is welcomed, its politically correct structure doesn’t exactly get your blood boiling.
Enter Beltran. Driven by comments made by World Series MVP Cole Hamels in the off-season (listen here) and the recent statement by K-Rod, Carlos had this to say:
“Well, you know, [Hamels] made a comment,…The only thing that I know is that he will be watched every time he faces us and hopefully we kill him. And then he’ll have to deal with the situation.”
The former mild-mannered Royal has certainly developed a taste for upping the ante in New York. Granted, Beltran’s intent was probably nowhere near as malicious as the words appear in print, but “kill” was still a poor choice of words. Especially when you’re playing in a city whose media has a knack for blowing things out of proportion. My guess is Carlos has the same publicist as Chris Carter.
If nothing else, this adds fuel to a fire that doesn’t look like it will be burning out anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what reactions come from the Phillies side and to see if an internal rivalry between Hamels and Beltran develops from this (though it seems unlikely given Hamels Californian “chill”). In the mean time, my advice for Mr. Beltran: learn from past mistakes and keep you mouth shut.
This post was made by my good friend Corey known as fightins89 on the PSD Phillies Forum. Keep a look out for more of his content on this site in the coming months.