NL East Infection: The Orphans Will Never See it Coming


Miami Marlins

Part of the sheer joy of watching the NL East standings this season has been the relative stability of them.  Look at all us, flopping in the breeze like a bunch of flaccid, lifeless corpses, all within 3-4 games of each other, all similarly threatened by the notion of “.500.”

It’s been a wild ride!

**Chews popcorn quietly**

Maybe it’s because the Marlins haven’t competed for a division flag in a while, but they don’t seem to understand:  this isn’t fun unless we all sit around staring at each other for five months, and then one of us collapses and everyone laughs, and the other three arrange themselves in varying degrees of “not good enough,” and one team wins it all and it’s great.  Also the great team is the Phillies.  That’s how this works.  That’s how we all enjoy it.

But the Marlins went ahead and had the best month in franchise history in May, going 21-8, fueled mostly by the ungodly stamina of human barbarian Giancarlo Stanton, whose May stats are so impressive (.343 BA, 37 H, 12 HR, 30 RBI) that Josh Johnson’s son has adopted a new father figure.

So, great.  Thanks Giancarlo.  Keep this up and there won’t be any sixth consecutive Phillies division championship for all of us to enjoy.

Washington Nationals

Those conniving Washington Nationals are at it again.  But this time, instead of pretending to be awful for years in order to stockpile draft picks or keeping Phillies fans’ ticket money out of their wallets (how they discovered our money-poisoning plan we’ll never know), they’re rounding up all the baseball equipment in Washington D.C. for god only knows what reason.

“Come on in,” they’re saying to Braves fans, probably because they know Braves fans are a figment of MLB’s imagination.  “Please, bring your old baseball equipment to donate to the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation.  We’re not going to burn it in front of orphans at all.”

The worst part of the Nationals’ plans is that they are always so devious, we never know what the endgame is until it has already happened.  I’m sure Mike Rizzo is in his office, laughing like a lunatic and smoking like 60 cigars at once like some kind of supervillain with no knowledge of how cigars work.  But I think it’s pretty obvious that this selfless act being performed by an up and coming franchise of likable youngsters is motivated by something disgusting and probably illegal.  Who collects a bunch of children’s baseball equipment without planning to use it in some kind of hopes-and-dreams fueled nightmare device?

Well, they never figured that we’d stumble upon their plan.  Of course we technically haven’t yet, unless you count “brazen, thoughtless speculation” as a “plan.”  Which we do.

Maybe that’s something they’ll think about before this shady, classless organization sticks Bryce Harper out there without even the courtesy of warning him some pretty boy ace pitcher is thinking of beaning him in the spine for no reason.


Atlanta Braves

Fortunately, to counteract all the Marlins’ encouraging success, we have the Braves, who for some reason are terrible, despite Freddie Freeman’s corrective eye goggles.

They’re not hugely confident in their offense in the future, so they’re looking to draft for some reassurance.  They’re not hugely confident in their defense, so Taylor Pastornicky doesn’t start at shortstop anymore.  And they’re not hugely confident in their divisional chances, as they’re drawing from that endless source of happiness they call “the ’90s” in order to inspire confidence.

Sadly, even after a constantly ballooning streak of losses, they still aren’t lower than us in the standings.  And they’re also not eliminated from the playoffs, because it’s only May.  So, even after the ’90s, the Braves are apparently not sick of winning the division, but at the moment, seem like the best bet to be our first hurdle on the way to the top.

**Folds arms, nods**

New York Mets

The Mets are keeping pace with everyone in the division, except for us, to whom they have been playing far superior, until this last series with us, when they lost a bunch.

But where the Mets are not keeping up with everyone is in the “paying $162 million court settlements” category.  The Mets will be doing this because of that whole Bernie Madoff thing they got entangled in because of how good they are finances.

Yes, I hear you.  “Can you really comment on financial integrity, Justin?  You gave a briefcase full of Monopoly money to your grandmother for Christmas and told her it was the profits from your Temple of Bloggery.”

Well, only one person believed that was a thing.  Two, if you count the state of delusion that I was in after repeating the story for days into a mirror just to get my delivery right.  So that puts that matter to rest with absolutely no follow-up questions.

No, the Mets will probably have to live with this shame for a very long time.  Fortunately their team is full of blissfully unaware young players who are performing as if they don’t know they are the Mets.  Which is kind of beautiful.  But mostly awful.