"Last year and this year I think we did believe that [they were choke artists]," Hamels told the station, alluding to the Phillies winning the NL East in 2008 and '07, in part, with the help of back-to-back September collapses by New York. "Three years ago we didn't because they smoked everybody, and I think we all thought they were going to win it all. Unfortunately that didn't happen."
The Mets won 97 games and the NL East title in 2006 but lost to the Cardinals in the NL Championship Series in seven games.
"But, yeah, that's kind of what we believed and I think we're always going to believe that until they prove us wrong," Hamels said. "For the past two years they've been choke artists."
The trash talk between the two teams started before the 2007 season when Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins pronounced Philadelphia the team to beat in the NL East even though New York ran away with the division crown in '06. New York squandered a seven-game cushion with 17 to play in 2007 as the Phillies took the division and Rollins went on to win the NL MVP award.
Early in spring training this year, after the Mets acquired ace left-hander Johan Santana, normally quiet outfielder Carlos Beltran had a message for Rollins, saying the Mets were the team to beat in 2008. New York finished second in the East to Philadelphia and the Phillies went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.