|New York Mets–Philadelphia Phillies|
|1st Meeting||April 27, 1962|
|Last Meeting||September 7, 2008|
|Next Meeting||May 1, 2009|
|Number of Meetings||797|
|All-Time Series||PHI leads, 426–373|
|Regular Season Series||NYM leads 9–5|
|Current Streak||Philadelphia 1|
|Longest NYM Win Streak||10|
|Longest PHI Win Streak||10|
The rivalry is often quite intense, as the two National League East divisional rivals meet each other frequently in numerous playoff, division, and NL Wild Card races. The Phillies are trying to rid Philadelphia of the Curse of Billy Penn, while the Mets are seeking their first title since .
The rivalry has always been bitter; nevertheless, before the 2006 season, it had remained relatively low-key, as the teams had seldom (if ever) been equally good at the same time. The Phillies were near the bottom of the NL East when the Mets won the World Series in 1969 and the National League pennant in 1973, while the Mets did not enjoy success in the late 1970s when the Phillies won three straight division championships. Although both teams each won a World Series in the 1980s, the Mets were not serious contenders in the Phillies' playoff years (1980, 1981, and 1983), nor did the Phillies seriously contend in the Mets' playoff years (1986 and 1988). The Mets were the Majors' worst team when the Phillies won the NL pennant in 1993, and the Phillies could not post a winning record in either of the Mets' wild-card winning seasons of 1999 or 2000 (when the Mets faced the Yankees in the World Series).
As the season wore on the Phillies slowly regained momentum as a wild-card contender. Importantly, the Phillies dominated the Mets in head-to-head play, posting three separate series sweeps (including a pivotal sweep of a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park at the end of August which included two walk-off hits by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard and comeback victories for the Phillies in 3 of the 4 games (including 1 game which ended on a controversial interference call). As well as a crucial mid-September three-game sweep at Shea Stadium, by which time the Phillies were threatening to move from wild-card contender to division leader). With 17 games left to play, the Mets led the Phillies by 7 games; but during the final 17-game stretch, the Mets won only 5 games while the Phillies went 13–4. On the final day of the season, the Phillies won the division, backing up Rollins' quote. Mets starter Tom Glavine gave up seven runs in the first inning to the Florida Marlins, while the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals behind Philadelphian Jamie Moyer to send the Mets packing for the winter. Rollins capped his prediction by adding his first career MVP award. The rivalry portended to be even hotter during the 2008 season.
According to Baseball Prospectus, the Mets' collapse over the end of the season ranked statistically as the second-worst in baseball history.
Through the opening month of the season, the Phillies and Mets traded blows with the Braves and Florida Marlins atop the NL East; however, the Phillies and Mets both managed to come out of April locked in a tight race atop the division. Both teams ended April only ½ game behind Florida, with the Mets (14–12) ahead of the Phillies (15–13) by merely .002 in winning percentage. Over the next month, the Phillies' offense began to come on strong, powering them to a 32–24 record. Conversely, the Mets struggled through May as media reports calling for Willie Randolph's job began to surface. They finished the month 26–27, 4½ games off the pace. On July 4, the start of a 4 game series in Philadelphia, the Phillies defeated the Mets, 3–2, by a walk-off RBI single by Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino in the 9th inning. Many expected the Mets to win that game because the Mets ace pitcher Johan Santana was opposed by J. A. Happ, who was just called up from the minors to replace the struggling Brett Myers. However, the Phillies went on to lose the next three games, giving the Mets their third straight series win. The Phillies led the Mets at the All-Star break by ½ game, and passed the Phillies in the standings by beating them on July 24, putting them one game ahead of Philadelphia. However, the Phillies rode a 5-game winning streak into the end of July, and were ahead of the Mets again by two games at the end of the month. The Mets rode a pair of winning streaks through the beginning of August, passing the struggling Phillies and leading by as many as two games. On August 26, the start of a 2-game series in Philadelphia, the Phillies stunned the Mets by coming back from a 7–0 deficit to win 8–7 in the 13th inning on a walk-off single by Chris Coste, settling the Phillies atop the NL East by ½ game. The Mets retaliated the following night with a 6–3 win to regain possession of first place.
Going into the final season series, former Phillie and special hitting instructor Mike Schmidt fanned the flames of the rivalry with an e-mail to manager Charlie Manuel, later posted for the entire team in the clubhouse. "One pitch, one at bat, one play, one situation, think ‘small’ and ‘big’ things result, tough at-bats, lots of walks, stay up the middle with men on base, whatever it takes to ‘keep the line moving’ on offense, 27 outs on defense, the Mets know you’re better than they are," Schmidt wrote. "They remember last year. You guys are never out of a game. Welcome the challenge that confronts you this weekend. You are the stars. Good luck. #20. Mets players reacted quickly; David Wright replied, "To each his own. He's obviously biased in his e-mails or letters. I see a starting pitcher that goes out there and throws like Brett Myers – that works much better than a rally cry from a former player. This response came a day after Myers defeated the Mets 3–0, throwing eight shutout innings and striking out ten.
After the final season series between the two clubs, the Mets held onto first place until September 16, when a September surge moved the Phillies in the lead. On September 19, however, the Phils lost to the Marlins while the Mets beat the Braves to put New York back into the division lead. The results were reversed the following night, as the Phillies battled back to the division lead.
On September 27, the Phillies won the NL East while the Mets were eliminated from postseason the next day with a 4–2 loss to the Florida Marlins in the final game at Shea Stadium. The Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Chicago Cubs that day to clinch the NL Wild Card. This marked the second year in a row the Mets were eliminated from the playoffs on the last regular-season game. It also marked the first time in baseball history that a team had lost the last game of the season at home to miss the playoffs in two consecutive seasons.
The rivalry also can be attributed to the proximity between the cities of New York City and Philadelphia, which are approximately two hours apart by car. Mets fans often show up at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park in large numbers, and a growing number of Phillies fans attend games at New York's Shea Stadium. The Mets' fanbase comes from the New York metro area, which includes southern Connecticut, and northern and central Jersey as well as parts of upstate New York. Conversely, the Phillies' fanbase generally draws from the Delaware Valley (the Philadelphia metro area), which includes southeastern Pennsylvania, Central Jersey south of Princeton and South Jersey, and northern Delaware.
Games between the two rival teams are intense between fans, as beers are occasionally thrown, and fights commonly break out in the stands. Fans of both teams often direct derisive and abusive chants at opposing players and opposing fans whenever games between the two teams are played. It is not uncommon to hear foul language and obscenities when at a Mets-Phillies game as well.
Mets fans see the Phillies as one of their most hated rivals alongside the Atlanta Braves and American League New York Yankees, as do the Phillies who see their rivalry with the Braves along with the American League Boston Red Sox, mainly because the Phillies and Red Sox habitually face one another in interleague play.
Another major factor in the intensifying rivalry between 2005 and 2006 was the signing of former Phillies closer Billy Wagner by the Mets. Pat Burrell and Billy Wagner became embroiled in a heated rivalry after Wagner departed the Phillies, and in the 2007 regular season, Burrell hit two home runs off Wagner, resulting in two blown saves.
The New York-Philadelphia rivalry is evident in other sports (for example, the heated rivalry between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League and the New York Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers in the National Hockey League, as well as to a lesser extent, the Flyers and the New York Islanders, the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the National Basketball Association and the New York Dragons and the Philadelphia Soul in the Arena Football League).