They added in some new clubhouse wall art at the Phillies’ spring training stadium, recently renamed Spectrum Field. Among images of Ryan Howard and World Series banners, there’s this:
Some Mets fans took umbrage with this, seeing McGraw’s “Ya Gotta Believe” slogan as something that is part of Mets lore. It even inspired a Mets fan-apparel account to tweet their own doctored version of the banner:
You can see the remnants of CBP over his shoulder, and the brick pattern is the same from Zo’s Ryan Howard image.
But who does “Ya Gotta Believe” belong to? The answer isn’t so clear.
The easiest answer is that it belongs to Tug McGraw. Ya Gotta Believe was uttered by Tug, and it serves as the title of his autobiography. McGraw coined it with the Mets and then brought it to the Phillies when he played here. It’s the tagline for the Tug McGraw Foundation. And there is definite photographic evidence that it relates to the Phillies – including fans who used the phrase on signs in 2009.
But when Phils fans used it 10 years ago, Mets fans took issue with it. The New York Daily News said:
Seven years later, McGraw registered the final out of the Phillies’ only World Series Championship.
Now, 28 years later, the Phillies have a chance to actually win something and what is the first thing many of their fans do? Rip off the old Mets’ rallying cry?
Yes, the late McGraw coined the phrase and was a great Phillie. But any real baseball fan will tell you “Ya Gotta Believe” is a McGraw/Met thing, not a McGraw thing than can be transferred from one franchise to another.
Here’s what happens when you image search “Ya Gotta Believe”:
Saying McGraw can’t take the phrase with him when he’s the one who came up with the idea is a bit insane. Even though Mets fans latched on and popularized it, it was McGraw who said the words.* But at the same time, it was the Mets’ rallying cry, and it resulted in this amazing picture of McGraw, a “Ya Gotta Believe” sign, and a nun.
The phrase was Tug’s creation, and therefore Tug’s to bring with him wherever he chose. But still, I’m sorry guys, it’s a Mets thing.
*The only similar thing I can think of is “Trust the Process.” Granted, the Sixers haven’t won a title, but those words – first uttered in the Sixers’ context by Tony Wroten – became the fans’ rallying cry after being popularized by Spike Eskin and Mike Levin on the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast. If Wroten found himself back in the NBA and on another team next season, could he take “Trust the Process” with him? I guess he could, but you know damn well that shit wouldn’t fly here.