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The Phillies are better than the Mets because they are arrogant and condescending

Aug 6, 2010, 3:05 PM EDT

According to one columnist it's not about talent or execution. No, the Phillies are better than the Mets because the Mets are polite and lack "swagger."

Not my words! Those are the words of the Daily News’ Andy Martino, who believes that the biggest thing separating the Phillies and Mets is that the Mets lack “swagger” and lack “arrogance and condescension toward opponents” like the Phillies have:

While the roster is not the deepest, the Mets have never wanted for championship-level talent. The team has, however, lacked the swagger that, to hear those who were there tell it, defined the 1986 Mets, and has defined the 2007-2010 Phillies. Utley will slide spikes-up into any second baseman, and Rollins will publicly bash his opponents. When Colorado manager Jim Tracy this spring complained that the Phillies kept binoculars in their bullpen in an apparent attempt to steal signs, Charlie Manuel told him to “quit crying.” The Phillies manager then, without provocation, accused the Mets of stealing signs.

It all adds up to a “(expletive) you” edge that the Mets lack. From the general manager to the coaching staff to the star players to Chris Carter and Jesus Feliciano, they are almost all nice people. Maybe too nice.

Must be getting close to college football season, because that’s about the only other time you hear people talking b.s. about “swagger” being a cause of on-the-field success as opposed to an effect of it.

At the heart of this article — like so many other article analyzing the Mets’ recent failures — is a fallacy: that the Mets are as talented as the Phillies have been over the past few years.  They’re simply not.

The Phillies have not gone into any season over the past three years with the kinds of black holes in the lineup like the Mets have had in right field and second base or the kinds of nearly season-long injuries like those to Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes last year (and into this year). At the same time, the Mets don’t have a single pitcher close to Roy Halladay’s quality (sorry Johan) or a position player as good as Chase Utley (sorry David Wright).  Add in the fact that their manager can’t hold a candle to Charlie Manuel and the notion that all that separates these two teams is likability or swagger is laughable in the extreme.

It’s a comforting idea I suppose — we’d win if only we weren’t so nice! — but it’s hogwash.  Baseball rewards intensity and emotional demeanor less so than any other sport. The games are too long. The season is too long. Calm calculation is just too important.  Attitude can only take you so far.

Ultimately, winning baseball is about talent and execution.  The Mets could fill a wagon with swagger and it wouldn’t do them a damn bit of good. Because the Phillies are just better.

  1. YankeesfanLen - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    The Metropolitans try to be arrogant and condescending, but their manager is too busy cracking wise with the press to spend any practice time perfecting it.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    Couldn’t agree more. I would add that Beltran/Wright/Reyes are the core of a team that is a bunch of chokers and they should have been broken up after the team blew a 7 game lead with 17 to play in 2007. Keeping those three together after that was the move that Omar will always regret.

  3. coreynyc - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    You had me until you alleged that Charlie is a better manager than Jerry. Although it might be the difference between a grade of D- (Charlie) & a F (Jerry). Bottom line is that they are both horrible.

  4. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    LOL a typical New Yawker with no clue. Uncle Charlie may win manager of the year keeping this team together with all the injuries they have had. Jerry and his band of chokers whine about injuries…Charlie and his band of winners keep it close.

  5. Jonny5 - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Wow, well honestly it’s easier to pick up swagger than it is to pick up some key players of the caliber that play for the Phills. This team is stacked.And the Mets aren’t even going to pick up low end players. I think Andy’s just trying to make mets fans feel better. Infield of Polanco, Jimmy Rollins. Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard. Damn if that doesn’t sound like a wet dream. I guess it is because these guys have been DL’d to death! But wait, 2-3 more weeks and all will be well again. If they are anywhere close to being in first place by the time these guys are all back, look out Bravos… But then again, they could even be in first before then.

  6. grapes911 - Aug 6, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    I’m not a huge Andy Martino fan, but the guy has spent some time covering the Phillies, and now is covering the Mets. He’s been close to both teams. I wouldn’t write him off because some guy on the internet says so.

  7. Jonny5 - Aug 6, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    You know not what you speak of.

  8. Simon DelMonte - Aug 6, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    I wonder about players with “swagger” and attitude. What happens afterwards? Where does that go when you retire?
    I look at guys with swagger, someone like Michael Jordan, and feel sad to see that they can’t let go, ever. It might be a good way to stay motivated, but it’s a lousy way to live. Conversely, I am not bothered that some athletes don’t get all worked up. I get the feeling that when Jerry Manuel is fired, he isn’t going to spend the next six months snarling about it. He’s going to accept things and move on and live his life. A great manager. No, of course not. A better human being for it? Yes.
    Which isn’t what baseball or sports are about. I know that. The goal is to win. But I think I can live with rooting for people who are decent human beings, even if they aren’t particularly good ballplayers.

  9. schmedley - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    Well said, Craig. Like a previous commenter mentioned, Martino covered the Phillies the past few seasons, and I always got the feeling that he didn’t like baseball (or sports in general) and was only writing about it because it was his job and he was using it as a stepping stone to get promoted to food critic someday. He would make swarmy little comments in his blog all the time, like “there are more important troubles in the world today, but I suppose you Phillies fans want to know what’s troubling Brad Lidge ….” I don’t think he knows much about the game.

  10. Kevin S. - Aug 6, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    David Wright, Sept/Oct ’07: .352/.432/.602
    Carlos Beltran, Sept/Oct ’07: .282/.328/.555
    Wright was flat-out awesome during the collapse (and yet was the only player with any accountability, IIRC), while Beltran was more than fine for a plus defensive center fielder. The Mets’ problems haven’t come from their core (except last year, when it was hurt) – their problems stem from the fact that Minaya couldn’t fill out a supporting cast to save his life.

  11. matt - Aug 6, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    schmedley, I think your on the right track with Andy Martino. When he came to philly I didnt realize that he was from NY but it was obvious that something was odd about his writing. He did seem almost disinterested, often times arrogant in his coverage. I’m not sure if its a lack of sports knowledge or just the fact that he couldnt stand covering baseball in philly, being from NY. Either way he was awful and Im glad he’s gone. This isnt an anti-NY post. The guy was just brutally awful.

  12. Cantankerous - Aug 6, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    At the end of the 2007 season the Mets lost their final series of the year to the Marlins. At the time and into the following season, the prevailing thought, perpetuated largely by the SNY broadcast team, was that the Mets’ attitude toward their opponents resulted in the Marlins playing harder and trying to beat the Mets. So apparently attitude is the reason for the Mets recent failures, as is lack of attitude. Makes sense.

  13. willmose - Aug 6, 2010 at 8:37 PM

    The differences between the Phillies and Mets is simple. The Phillies have a lot more talent. What a surprise! The Phillies also have a better FO, ownership, and smarter fans. The teams are about even in the dugout. Of course, when the Mets get healthy, who knows what the difference might be.

  14. Professor Longnose - Aug 6, 2010 at 9:18 PM

    So are you better than the Mets, Craig?

  15. Adenzeno - Aug 6, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Agreed.

  16. Hawkeye - Aug 7, 2010 at 12:26 AM

    The Mets may have gone into this season with more holes but the Phils, not unlike last years Mets, have been decimated with injuries. The Phils however have hung in while the Mets folded like a cheap suit. The Mets have taken under achieving and choking to a new level.

  17. John_Michael - Aug 7, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    Hold on, for the first time ever, did someone just refer to a group of New Yorkers as not being arrogant and condescending enough?

  18. Westport Johnny - Aug 7, 2010 at 9:53 AM

    Forgot to mention Philly Phans are better looking, too.

  19. crkreg - Aug 7, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Winning begets swagger not the other way around.

  20. tinopuno - Aug 8, 2010 at 11:45 PM

    Martino must be describing the Bizarro World Mets if he beleives they have been lacking in arrogance and condescension. Did he somehow miss the bush league antics that Reyes, Tatis, Delgado et al would display when they won a game. Maybe he’s missed Rodriguez’ arrogant prancing when he successfully ‘closes’ out a game or Santana proclaiming at the beginning of this year that he’s ‘still the best pitcher in the National League’.
    Or maybe he ‘s thinking all the Mets are as sensitive as David Wright. (Psst! David…there’s still no crying in baseball.)

  21. 50-year Phils fan - Aug 9, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Charlie Manuel’s demeanor and wealth of baseball knowledge make him a great manager. There’s more to baseball than knowing when to pull the double switch or lifting your pitcher now or one out from now. As long as the front office continues to give Charlie players to work with, he’ll be the Phillies’ manager.

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