Mets/Phillies Feud ignites again (Photo: Corey Sipkin, New York Post)

Mets/Phillies Feud Has A Long History – And The Ball’s In The Met’s Court

The Mets/Phillies feud has been going on for years. What’s different now, though, is this time – in this year – the Mets can win the NL East.

The latest installment in the Mets/Phillies feud was penned last night at Citi Field by Rhys Hoskins when he homered off a pitch from Jacob Rhame. This was the same Jacob Rhame, however, who threw a couple of dust-up pitches to Hoskins the previous night.

Payback in these baseball situations is never sweeter than what Hoskins accomplished with one swing of the bat. In a different setting perhaps, a quick glance and a smile back at Rhame would have been enough to settle the score. But not when it’s the Mets/Phillies in action. Instead, Hoskins countered with a 34-second trip around the bases that was clearly designed as a taunt (video below).

These are men playing a child’s game, and sometimes the expected professionalism that comes with being a major league ballplayer gives way to the playground. It happens occasionally and in most cases, all is forgiven and life goes on.

But the Mets/Phillies feud is different. It covers a lot of years and ground, with players whose names we haven’t heard in a long time, but nevertheless are part of the long-running feud between the teams.

On September 27, 1989, a brawl broke out between Mets infielder Gregg Jefferies and Phillies pitcher Roger McDowell. The next day, here’s what Clifton Brown of the New York Times wrote:

Gregg Jefferies, New York Mets {Photo: Zimbio)
Gregg Jefferies, New York Mets {Photo: Zimbio)
“The game ended on a bizarre note when Gregg Jefferies and Roger McDowell of the Phillies fought in the infield after the final out. Jefferies and McDowell, a former Met, exchanged words as Jefferies ran down the first-base line. After the final out, Jefferies and McDowell screamed at each other, then Jefferies charged McDowell. Both benches emptied to separate the two players. ”Roger screamed something at Gregg,” Johnson said. ”It went back to Monday night when Roger screamed something at Gregg after he broke Gregg’s bat. Obviously, there’s bad blood between them.” Jefferies refused to comment on the incident. McDowell claimed Jefferies started the incident by cursing at him.Dayn Perry, CBS Sports

In a game played at Citizens Bank Park in April 2017, the Mets/Phillies feud erupted again, when, according to a report by Liz Roscher of Big League Stew in which she described the incident this way:

“Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos threw behind Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. It was the eighth inning, and Cabrera came to the plate with one out and the game tied 2-2. The first pitch Ramos threw was a wild one that sailed right behind Cabrera. Cabrera didn’t really like that, and that’s when things got crazy.”

Warnings were issued to both sides and things settled down, until then “Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, walked onto the diamond, which may not have been wise considering that Porter had already warned both dugouts. It took almost no time for umpire Alan Porter to eject Mackanin, and the normally mild-mannered Mackanin went pretty nuclear on Porter.”

Most observers were stymied as to why Ramos had thrown at Cabrera until it was discovered that, in a game played September 22, 2016, there was a three-run walk-off home run that Cabrera hit off of Ramos on Sept. 22, 2016. There’s a bat flip, and a lot of celebration…things in the Mets/Phillies feud are never forgotten it seems…

Mets/Phillies Feud Goes Beyond The Playing Field

Mets/Phillies feud spills into the stands (Photo: 700 Club)
Mets/Phillies feud spills into the stands (Photo: 700 Club)

It doesn’t end there with just the players being involved. In July 2009, there was bloodshed between fans in the stands. As reported by Josh Alpert, NBC News Philadelphia, the horrid scene occurred when a Mets fan was hit over the head with a beer bottle (thankfully, only plastic is served these days).

According to an eye-witness, “When the commotion started he was standing up, but he fell to the ground soon after I started watching. He was on the ground for a while and it took about 10-15 minutes for an EMT to arrive. They bandaged his head and helped him walk away. Apparently, the perpetrator was immediately led away by the police.”

And sometimes, the Mets/Phillies feud descends into plain silliness. Such as when Mets catcher, Rod Barajas, complained that Phillies Bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer, who was caught on camera peering through binoculars at Coors Field earlier in the week, was stealing signs. Paranoia, or one-upmanship, you never can tell between these two teams.

Mets/Phillies Feud Put In Perspective

The Mets and Phillies are two of the four teams in NL East who are and will continue to be, involved in a dogfight to win the Division. The ball in the Mets/Phillies feud now moves into the Mets court where it can let stand or reignited.

Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Newsday)
Mickey Callaway, New York Mets Manager (Photo: Newsday)

At this point and to his credit, Mets manager, Mickey Callaway seems to be on point when he (essentially) says the Mets are about winning ball games, and unless the team is provoked again by the Phillies, the spotlight remains on the season’s original goal – win the Division. In his own words, Callaway told the New York Post:

“If you feel people are throwing at you intentionally, you probably feel the need to protect your players,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “At this point we just go out and beat people and win and continue to execute pitches when we’re pitching, and if they want to hit us and put a runner on, we’ll hit a homer after and hit a grand slam. For now, I don’t feel anything has been intentional at us that has warranted anything from our side.”Mike Puma, New York Post

That’s the right approach and hopefully, the Mets players will follow suit, letting this Mets/Phillies feud die a natural death, without returning the Hoskins shenanigans, or any sort of payback.

Winning is enough to settle any kind of feud in the game of baseball. Just win, and everything else is meaningless.

Written by Steve Contursi, Editor, Reflections On Baseball
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