The rivalry between the Phillies and the Mets is one of the best in all of sports, but with the Phils in the middle of a rebuild and the Mets continuing to ride their 30-year championship drought, all has been fairly calm.
That is until the Phillies had the audacity to design a wall in their spring training complex using the words of their Wall of Fame closer Tug McGraw. I mean, how dare they use the slogan “Ya Gotta Believe,” one in which McGraw made his life motto and continued to say long after he was traded from the Mets in 1974?
McGraw did first say the words in 1973 when he was still a member of the Mets. Therefore, the Mets obviously own the slogan, and not even the team and city in which he made his home should be allowed to say it, let alone paint it on a wall.
It doesn’t matter that McGraw actually pitched in the World Series he won with the Phillies, unlike in 1969 when the Mets decided not to play him in the World Series despite a 2.29 ERA in 100 innings that season and a scoreless showing in the ’69 NLCS. Or that he played longer for the Phillies than the Mets. Or that he lived here after his playing career, working as a reporter on Philly-favorite “Action News” and as spring training instructor for the Phillies.
To be fair, the Mets have had endless opportunities to use the rallying cry. Like in the 2006 NLCS when all Carlos Beltran needed was a single with the bases loaded to send the Mets to the World Series. Or in 2007 when the Mets blew a seven-game lead with 17 to play. Or in 2008 when they collapsed yet again in September. Or in 2015 when they lost to the Royals. You know who beat the Royals in the World Series? The Phillies. And who was on the mound at the end? Right.
On second thought, maybe the Phillies shouldn’t embrace the quote. It seems as if no matter how hard the Mets and their fans believe, their dreams are never fulfilled.
Personally, I like the first slogan that caused a stir up in Queens better. “Team to Beat” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?