by Philview and The Phanatic

PHILADELPHIA, PA – World Champions. World Bleepin’ Champions. That’s telling it like it is. It’s certainly not a position we’re familiar with down here.

It’s a strange feeling; this euphoria. Very peculiar. And as a result, despite the domineering economic uncertainty that strangles our everyday thoughts like a warning from Ralphie’s mother (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”), we feel, well, GREAT. A sports team; a group of players – a piece of entertainment, nothing more – gave warmth to an otherwise bitter winter. And even now, the expectations of this same home team are allowing us to tolerate, as best we can, the precarious bubble between recession and depression that we’re all resting upon. That’s why we’re fans, we suppose – for the taste is so sweet after so many sour decades. World Bleepin’ Champions.

That said, it’s a new season. And the chances of repeating in this day and age, even with a slightly improved cast, are about as rare these days as an honest, intelligent statement from Alex Rodriquez. The NY Football Giants, heavily favored, found that out. What the Yankees did from 1996 to 2003 – eight playoff appearances, six pennants, four more World Championships, including three straight – may truly be the last run of its kind; or at least in our lifetimes. But the next few years should be a fun ride.

Around the NL East, many pundits are picking the Mets to win the division this year. They are assuming that the bullpen, their one glaring weakness (other than their inability to breath normally in late September), has been addressed, and the Mets will now roll through the division like Sherman through Atlanta . Well, as so stated in “Beauty and the Beast,” one of our children’s favorite films, looks can be deceiving. And so can statistics.

The stat that lazy ESPN and Yahoo morons use, in referencing the K-Rod improvement, is “the Mets blew 29 saves last year,” as if they would have won the division by 26 games otherwise. Well, in reality, the gap isn’t quite so monstrous. While Brad Lidge was perfect last year, the Phillies’ bullpen wasn’t.

Say, did we mention “STATISTICS?” For those of you who may recall with less than stellar enthusiasm, you might think that this new incarnation on MTM would seek to steer away from the Philly Phanatic’s Phamous statistical research and conclusions. Well, you’d be incorrect, friends, for our motto will continue to remain, even in this jointly prepared column – “any stat worth repeating is repeated.”

So, about those lazy writers – what they don’t tell you is that the supposedly perfect Phillies bullpen had 15 blown saves (47 of 62). Not zero. Thanks to Brad Lidge, of course, a glossy success rate of 75.8%. But it’s not like the Mets set new standards of inadequacy. Truth told, the other three NL playoff teams converted 63, 64 and 65%. The Mets were 43 of 72 (59.7%) which is not that far below the National League average of 62.4%. Had the Mets converted the league average of 62.4%, they would have had 45 saves, rather than 43, and still finished one game out.

In conclusion, for this first column, we are neither pundits nor prophets; we just wait for the damn games. Pundits are idiots anyway. Just last fall, the Cubs were supposed to beat the Dodgers, the Dodgers (because they beat the Cubs) were supposed to beat the Phillies, the Angels were supposed to beat the Red Sox, the Red Sox were supposed to beat the Rays, and the Rays, a one year wonder if there ever was one, were picked to beat the Phillies, because they somehow beat hallowed Boston after the Sox, a franchise that (or so we’re told) even Jesus roots for now, made a great comeback and forced a seventh game . Well, let’s see – wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. At least the prophets were consistent. And the team from Philadelphia won it all. World Bleepin’ Champions.

For the record, we don’t believe in Nostradamus either, and we won’t until someone shows us the quatrain that clearly states “Jets 16, Colts 7.”

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