Analysis

Are The Nationals The Phillies Biggest Rival This Year?

Is this the start of a new rivalry?

The Phillies will host the Nationals tonight in the first of a three-game set, and the series is sure to be one of the more intense ones this year. This is because the Phillies and the Nationals have developed a new found rivalry this that has never been present before, because the Mets were the Phils biggest rival.

But ever since 2007, the Phillies-Mets rivalry has really cooled down, and with the Phils being so dominant in the division, the term “rival” didn’t really mean what it used to.

Fast forward to 2012. The Phillies have found themselves in last place in the NL East, looking up at the first place Braves, and for a little while were looking up at the first place Nationals. The Nats even took two of three from the Phils in the “Take Back Our Park” series earlier this month where the theme was to get Phillies fans away from Nationals Park.

In the third game of the series, Cole Hamels intentionally beaned rookie phenom Bryce Harper. The story made headlines, and Hamels even found himself sidelined for five games due to a suspension. Clearly, Hamels was just trying to intimidate Harper in their first ever meeting, but could Hamels have done more than that? Harper is the Nationals prized young hitter. Nationals manager Mike Rizzo lashed out at Hamels, calling him “fake tough” for hitting Harper, comments that would result in a fine.

Now think about the Mets. Think about all the intense games the Phillies and Mets have had this year, and all the suspensions and fines and exchanges of words between to two teams. Drawing a blank? Me too. A Phillies-Mets series this year is no different than a Phillies-Marlins series or maybe even a Phillies-Braves series, even though they hold first place right now.

There is just something–a spark–that exists between the Phillies and the Nationals this year, which is why I think that they are the Phillies biggest rival right now. The Mets have a longer history with the Phillies, the Braves have been more dominant than the Phillies for a longer period of time in the past, and the Marlins have never really fallen into the “rival” category with the Phils.

With that being said, who do you think is the Phillies biggest rival this year?

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0 Comments

  1. TheDipsy

    May 21, 2012 at 10:00 am

    The Braves. Is it really a discussion?

    The Dipsy

  2. bacardipr05

    May 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I would say the Braves are immediate rivals. The Nationals are a close contender to a rival but the history isnt there yet.

  3. Chuck A.

    May 21, 2012 at 10:33 am

    I don’t know…that little dust-up between Cole and GM Rizzo of the Nats certainly didn’t hurt in the creation of some kind of rivalry between the two teams. And then there was the Jayson Werth situation and his subsequent comments directed at the Philly fanbase. I would say that if the Nats and Phillies remain close in the standings all year and are vying for playoff contention then this would be a bigger rivalry than the Braves.

  4. Manny

    May 21, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Maybe it’s more of a rivalry only when they play in DC. You need fans from the rival team to show up at your stadium, and I highly doubt that there’ll more than a handful of Nats fans at CBP for this series.

    Halfway rivalry?

  5. Don M

    May 21, 2012 at 11:08 am

    a “rival” is just someone trying to accomplish the same goal as you- so all NL teams are rivals, all NL East teams, etc . . . . from there I think of a Rival as a team you hate …. to me, that’s usually the Mets… with the Nats creeping closely behind

    in terms of ON THE FIELD ….. I think we all slept on the Braves a little bit this year, (i for one picked Marlins 2nd, then Braves in terms of NL EAST finish) …

    for the same reasons that the Braves never bothered me (I admired their NL-run, never hated Chipper Jones, etc) . . . The Mets don’t really have any players i especially dislike . . . but the Marlins and Nats have a few..

    Tough question, and im sure everyone has their own ideas as to which team is the bigger rival and why

  6. bacardipr05

    May 21, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Maybe the word Rival should defined more. I guess the Braves are the biggest threats to the Phils, does that go hand in hand with been a “Rival”. The Braves starters matches our own. There bullpen is great. Chipper has been a thorn on our side seems like since forever now. There offense has been clicking. The whole Mets thing kind of fizzled out for me some time ago. However the history of these teams supposed rivalry goes back longer. Just right now as mentioned seen a Mets vs Phillie game is no different than the Phillies playing the Astros. So that rivalry has gone cold for the the time been. The Nats are kind of picking a fight with the big kid on the block, and trying to upstage us.

    • Jonathan Nisula

      May 21, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Solid point, and I agree.

  7. Chuck A.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:54 am

    An interleague rival of sorts could be the Orioles. Two great parks and fanbases (although O’s games aren’t attended well like they used to be), cities are closeby – a pretty easy drive up and down I-95. I’m looking forward to that series and plan on going to one of the games. LOVE Camden Yards! There’s really nobody on that team that I “hate” though, unless you count their jackass owner.

  8. Don M

    May 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    For some reason, a few years ago, they stopped sending the Phillies to Camden Yards – and Boston started coming here . . . . The original appeal of Interleague Play was going to be that every year you played some new teams from the AL …………….or got to watch your team play in a “new to you” ballpark … Cubs at Fenway, etc

    but a couple years in, I think the Phillies have played only 3 series in Boston, vs. a whole ton of Red Sox in CBP ……

    I think the Phillies played in Cleveland once ?? Which is a shame, because its a stadium i’d love to see . . . anyway, back to the O’s ….. that’s a great stadium, and usually gets a good number of Phillies fans… I think once that Nats moved back to DC that became a natual rivalry leaving the Phillies and Red Sox (Yanks-Mets) .. not sure who Torotno’s “NL rival” is?

    • GM

      May 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Don,

      Here is a link showing the Phils record by opponent since 1997, which includes all inter-league play. There are 5 teams that they have only visited once during the first 15 seasons: Chicago, Kansas City, Anaheim/LA, Minnesota & Texas. The Red Sox have been to Philly 5 consecutive years, but the Phils only went to Boston in 2009 during that span.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/head2head.cgi?teams=PHI&from=1997&to=2012&submit=Submit

      • Don M

        May 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm

        Thanks for that link, that’s pretty cool !

    • GM

      May 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      2010, not 2009. Boston won 2 of 3.

  9. Don M

    May 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I understand not wanting to send teams on West Coast trips too often . . . but once every 3-5 years shouldn’t be too much to ask.

    I think we just played in Seattle last year – but that would be a great trip

    but the fact that we’ve only played in Cleveland twice, KC once, Texas once, and Chicago WS once … is kind of a joke.

    I want to see less than 18 games against each NL East opponent, and more against the rest of baseball (the interesting thing is that with Houston moving to the AL West next year, there will be 15 teams in each league, and “Interleague Play” will be a constant on the schedule . . . I don’t think we’re too far off from the DH coming to the National League (or at least a 26-man roster to allow for a DH-role during interleague games)

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