Coming off a humbling three game sweep at the hands of the Florida Marlins, the Phillies were suddenly back in the position they found themselves the past two seasons.
Only this year their main adversary was not their friends from up north.
The intense rivalry that reached its fever pitch last September has been belittled to nothing. The New York Mets are not an obstacle for the Phillies this year on the road to another October.
For that, I am sad.
The late inning rallies. The bullpen implosions. The dominating pitching performances. The never ending trash talk.
You couldn't help but get caught in it.
On the heels of a World Series victory, this year, more than ever, set up the Phils and Mets for a pressure packed September.
Unfortunately, the most the Mets can hope for is to play spoilers.
Of course, how could anyone expect the Mets to compete with several of their top players such as Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, JJ Putz, and Carlos Beltran all firmly entrenched on the pine with a litany of injuries?
A season is obviously wasted when Jeff Francoeur is second in ABs for those Mets.
The intense play on the field was obviously the spark that started the flame between the two passionate fan bases. The smack talk only further perpetuated the rivalry.
But that was September. That was the pennant race. That's what baseball was all about.
A game that is innately flawed - teams threw the World Series, mounds were raised, balls were juiced, players were juiced - all of it was forgotten for a few balmy, September nights.
Nights that transformed to pure symphonies for one fan base, and for the other, well, good luck sleeping.
In a game of monotony, the rivalry was out of the norm. It increased the intensity. It drew media attention. It made the game fun.
Now the Phillies find themselves hoarding off the likes of the Marlins, who couldn't draw 30,000 fans if they gave away the tickets, and the Braves, who simply don't have the firepower to compete for the top spot.
The Mets were the perfect partner for the Phillies. The close proximity and relatively evenly matched teams made for a poetic war. A war I hoped to enjoy at least one more year. A war that made for dramatic ending after dramatic ending.
A war that will hopefully spill into next season.
Dear Mets, please come back.