The Hall of Famer’s words, sent to manager Charlie Manuel, were intended to fire up the Phillies, and it reminded the players of their come-from-behind charge to capture the National League East last season.
Philadelphia opened a crucial three-game series at Shea Stadium with a 3-0 win over New York on Friday night. A sweep would create a tie for the lead in the division.
The message from Schmidt read:
One pitch, one at-bat, one play, one situation, think ‘small’ and ‘big’ things result. Tough at-bats, stay up the middle with men on base, whatever it takes to keep the line moving. Hot offense. 27 outs on defense. The Mets know you’re better than they are. They remember last year. You guys are never out of the game. Welcome the challenge that confronts you this weekend. You guys are the best.
Jimmy Rollins, whose “team to beat” prediction proved true last season, focused on the line, “The Mets know you’re better than they are.”
“That part’s true,” Rollins said.
Are the Phillies in the Mets’ heads?
“It’s only natural, if we win all three games,” Rollins said. “If not, they’ll take a deep breath and get a chance to regather themselves. But if we win all three games, you’re going to think back to that. It’s human nature.”
A special hitting instructor for the Phillies in Spring Training, Schmidt follows the club closely, and he watched the Mets’ seven-game lead evaporate with 17 games remaining last season. This year, New York has won 10 of 16 meetings with Philadelphia, with two more remaining.
“I liked it,” Manuel said of Schmidt’s message. “He wanted me to put it on the board, and I wanted the guys to see it. I have a lot of respect for Mike. It seems like we’re kind of on the same page when we talk. The entire message was good. He was reminding them how good he thinks they are.” (H/T Phillies.com)
Okay, fellows, Michael Jack has just told you that he believes in you. Don’t let him down, guys. Now go out there and beat Mets’ tail!!!