4/04/2005 09:49:00 PM
�TO STEAL A PHRASE FROM OUR FRIENDS TO THE NORTH, WHY NOT US?�
The Olde Town Team used that as their rallying cry last year as they won the World Series for the first time since 1918. Now we Mets fans hopefully won�t have to wait that long for a ticker tape parade and I don�t think we will. In fact I�m picking our beloved Mets to win the National League Eastern Division this season. Why not? Are the other four team in the division any better than the Mets? I know it�s some kind of religious tenet that we cannot talk badly about the Braves. In fact so much praise is heaped upon Leo Mazzone, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz I have to figure their names will come up when the conclave of Cardinals (I wonder if Stan Musial is invited to it?) meet in Rome to pick the new pope? Sure they have won 13 straight Eastern Division titles and all three are very, very good baseball men but sometimes I think the praise gets a bit much. If the Mets were converting a closer to a starter and had two-thirds of their outfield manned by Brian Jordan and Raul Mondesi, the NY press would have Omar on a skewer, but let Schuerholz do it and it�s Guinness Time (Brilliant!!)
The Marlins of South Florida are supposed to be the team to beat because of Carlos Delgado. In the immortal words of My Big Fat Obnoxious Talk Show Host (Mike Francesca) �Where does Delgado keep his World Series rings and MVP Awards?�. Maybe Guileramo Mota will be the real deal as the Fish closer but you know if he were the Mets closer, he would be branded as a huge question mark. Don�t get me wrong the Marlins a possibly the best team in the NL but the Mets are right with them.
Down the turnpike in Philadelphia, the Phillies are the classic underachievers. They have gone from the high strung leadership of Misugna Larry to the almost Artie form Queens like Charlie Manuel. In fact Manuel�s hiring was brought on by a request for Jim Thome as Thome and Manuel were thisclose in their Cleveland days. So like with the old Mets we see players making policy in the City of Brotherly love. The starting pitching is shaky (and injury prone) as Jon Leiber who was the Highlanders 4th starter last year is the ace of this staff. The bullpen though is very good, with Billy Wagner and Tim Worrell leading the way and the offense, especially at the Citz is lethal. So how come the Phillies haven�t won. Well the pitching and hitting are never in synch and the former manager kept everyone in the organization on edge. Even with all that dysfunction most experts think they�re better than the Mets.
The Nationals are still the Expos as they are still under the marshal law leadership of the Used Car Salesman. That means no matter how much manager Frank Robinson prods this team and gets it in gear; they won�t be adding players or payroll. Now that doesn�t mean they won�t compete it just means they won�t be able to add the players that could put them over the top. That leaves our beloved Mets.
Even with some questionable moves like David Wright hitting 8th and trading Matt Ginter, I�m still impressed by the way the team looks and handles itself. The biggest obstacle a manger has is getting his players to believe they can win and it seems Willie Randolph has this team believing it can win. The lineup will score runs and that should help balance out the results of a work in progress bullpen. But when you have a true Ace like Petey, the odds of having long losing streaks diminish. Tom Glavine has been very quiet this spring and that�s how he likes it. Glavine has always been at his best when he�s been the second banana so he should find his comfort zone this season. I�m not overly worried about Kris Benson�s pectoral injury, as it�s not torn just strained. The last two guys worry the hell out of me as the Zambrano Project and Kaz Ishii will be a roller coaster ride all season. The bullpen we see today will not be the bullpen we see in June or July as Omar will make good use of the Wilpon�s bucks to add players to make the playoff push.
The NL East is the best division in baseball as every team except for the Nats are a legitimate contender for not only the divison but for the NL Pennant. How great is it to follow the day today winnings and losing of all the teams in a division as the fight for a playoff spot?
So why not us? Why can�t the Mets win the NL East and who knows what can happen from there? Hey how about this battle cry �You Gotta Believe�
For what it�s worth I like the Cardinals in the NL Central and the Dodgers to win the NL West. The Fish will be the Wild Card and the Mets will beat them for the NL Pennant (More vodka please bartender)
In the AL, I like the Olde Town Team to win the East, The White Sox in the Central and the Angles in the West. The no good Highlanders will take the Wild Card. But the Angels win the AL Pennant and meet the Mets in the World Series (More peyote, please Chief) and of course we will lining up at the Canyon of Heroes for the Mets World Championship Parade. Please keep it down; I�m enjoying this dream ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
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