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Phillies/Mets Shea Stadium, July 22, 2008

From roughly 2007 to 2011, baseball was king in Philadelphia. Over those five seasons, the Phillies won five straight division championships, two National League pennants, and one the 2008 World Series. Every single home game was sold out over that period of time. I have been a lifelong Phillies fan, but those years were really special. There is nothing quite like when your baseball team, and a city, livens up with a red hot baseball team. The excitement is like nothing else I have quite experienced. 

In a rare moment in the 54 years of the rivalry, both the Phillies and the Mets were in contention, leading towards some really fun games. Historically one team has been in down years, while the other has been doing well. As you can see here, the winning seasons for the teams do not line up, except for the 2006-2008 seasons. 
Mets: late 1960s, late 70s, mid 80s, 1999-2000, 2006-2008 
Phillies: early 1960s, late 1970s, early 1980s, 1993, 2007-2011 

2007 was the tipping point for the Phils and Mets rivalry. Phils Shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed that the Phillies were the "team to beat" in the NL East. That proclamation seemed to be a point of ridicule for the team had not reached .500 until May, and then did not stop hanging around .500 until well into August. The Mets did the opposite, they had a hot start, but things started to go south come August. Back into August, the Phillies would win 8 straight games against the Mets. The last of which was at Shea Stadium, a game that I decided to go to on a whim. The Phillies had a wild 10 to 6 win in the game, with the Mets shaky pitching tying the franchise record for most pitchers ever used in a game. With 17 games to play, the Mets had a 7 game lead on the Phillies for the NL East Division Title. Over this period the Mets went 5-12, capping one of worst collapses in the history of modern sports. To put salt in the wound for the Mets, the Phillies went 13-4 over the last 17 games, including a three game sweep of the Mets, and would go on to win the division crown on the last day of the season. 

2008 would go on to be a very competitive year between these two teams throughout the entire season. The Phillies would go on to win the division crown (and subsequently the NL Pennant and World Series) with a three game lead over the Mets in the division. The rivalry between these two teams was red hot. We decided to go to New York and the old Shea Stadium in its final year before the Mets moved to the house that bailout money purchased sponsorship rights for, Citi Field. Here is coach Charlie Manuel getting interviewed before the game.
Sandy Alomar, then Mets pitching coach, and "Sarge" Gary Matthews, then Phillies broadcaster, chatting it up before the game
The scene in Shea's final season
The chairs had definitely seen better days...
You can see Citi Field nearing completion in the outfield
This game happened to be Joe Blanton's first start as a Phillie after having been traded from Oakland.
It was a shaky start in that he gave up five runs over six innings. It was a long game that did not seem to be going anywhere. The Mets were up 5-2 into the 8th. The Phils would go on to score 6 runs in the 9th and win the game 8-6! Easily the best comeback I have ever been in attendance for. 

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