Rivalries. Every sport has them. In football, there’s the Eagles-Cowboys rivalry. In baseball, there are the Red Sox-Yankees and White Sox-Cubs rivalries. In basketball, there’s the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Why wouldn’t the Phillies have any rivalries?
As a matter of fact they have five major ones.
1. New York Mets
This rivalry is obvious. They have been battling it out for the division the past two years. They last two titles were clinched on the last weekend of the season! The rivalry didn’t become major until before the 2006 season.
Before, if the Mets were doing well, the Phillies weren’t, and vice versa. After the Jimmy Rollins said the Phils were the team to beat before the 2007 season, the rivalry was out in the open. The Phillies won the division that year.
When Carlos Beltran said the Mets were the team to beat during the offseason, the Phils ignored it. They said Beltran was trying to pull a Jimmy and that sequels are never as good as the original.
2. Atlanta Braves
This was the main rivalry the Phils had before the Mets came along. This rivalry began about 100 years ago. It intensified in 1915 when both teams were pennant contenders. The Phils won the pennant that year. The rivalry ceased in 1954 after the Braves left for Milwaukee.
It returned in 1993 when both teams faced off in the National League Championship Series. The Phils again won the pennant. They continued to fight for the division title once the Braves moved to the N.L. East.
They battled for first place during the beginning of the millennium. Though the Braves have been out of contention the past two years, they should bounce back soon.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
To most this rivalry is dead. The two Pennsylvania teams have been rivals since the beginning of baseball. The rivalry was most dominant during the 1970s. If you were a Phillies fan, you hated the Pirates. Only three teams won the division during the '70s. The Pirates won it six times, the Phils won it three times, and the Mets won it once.
Every year the Phils won the division the Pirates were in second. The rivalry has died down since then, mostly because the teams don’t play each other as much as before.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers were the Phillies other rival during their Golden Age. The rivalry actually began while the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn when the Phils beat them on the last day of the season and won the pennant. During the Golden Age, the two teams met in the National League Championship four times.
Little things also added fuel to the fire. For example, the blown call in the 1977 NLCS, and when Tommy Lasorda assaulted the Phillie Phanatic after the Phanatic ran over a Lasorda dummy. The last major clash between these two teams was during the 2008 NLCS, which the Phils won.
5. Florida Marlins
The Florida Marlins have been around since 1993 and have been bugging the Phils since. They were much of a team until 1997 when they won their first World Series. Then they won their second title in 2003.
The worst parts of it: (1) They won two World Series before the Phils did and (2) They never won a division title. They rely on the wild card. The rivalry heated up at the beginning of the 2008 season when the Marlins were in first right away. After some battling the Phils overtook them, but they remained in contention until the end of the year.