As a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals fan, I declare the 2008 Major League Baseball season, “the Damn Us All Season.” Not because the Cardinals front office is stupid enough to not only let go of David Eckstein, but also clamping loose of Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen, but because Johan Santana is officially a New York Met.
(NOTE: Now, before I delve into what is baseball oblivion for hitters in the National League for 2008, I want to talk on a different scale. The St. Louis Cardinals let David Eckstein slip away to the Toronto Blue Jays. It was expected at a 50/50 rate that Eckstein wouldn’t return to St. Louis for the renewed 2008 baseball season, but the sudden signing to the AL East team in Canada was startling. Jim Edmonds was going to be leaving the Cardinals sooner or later, and it finally happened. Edmonds was traded to the San Diego Padres for a bundle of prospects. Now, Scott Rolen is heading to the Blue Jays to team up with Eckstein once again, in return the Cardinals receiving Troy Glaus (good first name, by the way). I don’t have a problem with Glaus, it’s just that seeing two of my long-time favorite players (Rolen and Edmonds) and the guy that helped bolt the Cardinals to its first World Series since 1982 (Eckstein) is absolutely heartbreaking and clogs the 2008 season like an artery valve.)
Santana and the Mets agreed Friday to a $137.5 million, six-year contract extension, a record for a pitcher and the last major step needed to complete the team’s blockbuster trade with Minnesota. What does this mean for the batters of the NL and the New York Mets? For the Mets it means a healthy rotation that’s perennially — wait, perennially? — going to dominate their respective league this upcoming season; and for the batters of the NL, it’s one of those things where you wish for a sick day of work because you don’t want to face a certain someone for a certain, disastrous reason.
Though, I am excited to watch Santana pitch in the NL; not against the Cards all that much, but to see how much damage he enforces this year. One matchup I’ve always wanted to see is Santana vs. Pujols. It’s kinda like a dream wrestling match that you always wanted to see, like Hulk Hogan going up against Ric Flair, except this is a beautiful game when two players of this caliber are going one-on-one — real baseball that needs a shed of enlightenment bestowed upon it. When the Cards begin their first series against the Mets on June 30, I’ll be more than ready to watch. . . for a little while.
The Santana/Twins mess lasted a while, especially when the other New York team from the Bronx and the 2007 world champs were dueling it out in the budget race to craft a way to snatch Johan from Minnesota. With the talks dying down over the past month and the media not being as focused, the New York Mets came into talks, and Friday evening they landed their man.
With that, most analysts and writers tout them as the favorites in the NL East going into the season. Phillies fans, recuperate and huddle up because you’s guys gots some splainin’ to do for this clutter. The reigning NL East champions would regularly be the favorites for the next season unless the team was destroyed in the off-season, which it wasn’t. So besides one signing of a pitcher that isn’t going to play every day, why is it that the Phillies aren’t the favorites?
1.) The Mets comprised arguably the biggest choke in regular season baseball history by handing over the division to the Phillies in 2007. They had the division in the bag in September and decided to play fishtales and lose several games in a row to see if the Phils could match them (bad choice). Several Mets fans argue that it was still “their division” and they believe that — while it didn’t happen in 2007 — the division is theirs.
2.) Over the past couple of months I’ve heard Mets fans complain that health was an issue in 2007 — but didn’t they say the same thing in 2006 when the Cardinals knocked them off their high horses in the NLCS? If there’s two teams in all of sports that are going to be complaining about injuries whatsoever, it’s the NFL’s St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills. Period.
Phillies fans, you have a right to be agitated at this sore losing that’s being displayed by Mets fans, analysts and writers. You have a right to go up to Queens, New York, with a sign that says, “More Cowbell, Mets!” You have a right to go on message boards and claim your division and its title that’s ensconced in the Phillies organization. You have the rights to every entity possible to the East, while the Mets will continue to be exonerated as the team to beat in the National League in 2008.
But what about the Braves? I’m a big homer for the Braves in 2008. The late season numbers that Mark Teixeira put up in 2007 has convinced me to be a big believer in a 2008 Most Valuable Player season from him if he can avoid injuries and sustain success with the team.
For now, we’ll have a better outlook in March and April.