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Nats More A Winner In 2005 Than Padres

[October 10th] -- Since the last game of the season, Nationals' fans have have expressed outwardly how proud they are of the team's record in 2005. So many problems were overcome: Bud Selig issues -- Linda Cropp issues -- stadium issues -- Orioles issues -- cable TV issues -- payroll issues ... the list seems almost endless. Considering all of these distractions, an 81 win season was great.

Inwardly, there is a sense of disappointment. "Sure, we finished with a .500 record, but we also finished last in the NL East, and with a little bit of luck and fewer injuries, who knows where we might have finished."

More than 3,000 miles away, the San Diego Padres won 82 games and their division. They had a few key offensive players and 2 or 3 quality starters, a great closer and steady defense. Sound familiar?

The Padres won 82 games in a divison that had only one team win more games than they lost. The division as a whole had a .459 winning percentage. In the Nationals' division, all five teams finished with a record of .500 or better. The NL East won 425 games and sported a .525 winning percentage. The average team in the NL West won 74 games while the average NL East team won 85. Had the Nationals played in the NL West, they would not only have won the division, they would have likely won another 5-10 games against the inferior divisional competition. They might have ended the season 85-77, perhaps 90-72.

That said, the Padres did win their division, and the Nationals did finish last in theirs. As their reward, the Padres were pummeled in the playoffs by the Cardinals. So all they really got for winning their division was a late start on their winter vacation. The Nationals, although they finished last, are about to get a new owner, increase there payroll and begin the process of building a dynasty [I hope]. The Padres will likely purge their payroll and lose stars like Brian Giles and Trevor Hoffman. In the warped world of today's major league baseball, the Padres [who won] lost, and the Nationals [who lost] won. The Padres are on the way down, and the Nats are about to take a giant leap forward.

After the Braves 4th straight first round loss in the playoffs, it's time for the NL East to have a new champion. It might as well be the Nats.

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