The Braves won their 6 straight division title in 2000. There are still some who insist that the string goes back to 1991 but they are incorrect. I would agree with them if they were right, but they are not. In 1994, the Expos won the division. Had the Braves been closing ground when the season ended, they might have an argument, but the fact is they were losing ground to the Expos, having lost 2.5 games in what turned out to be the final 2 weeks of the season. We didn't have a world champion that year, but we had postseason awards. So anyone who insists that that year's standings didn't count because there was still plenty of season left to play, must also disregard the Cy Young awards given to Greg Maddux and David Cone and the MVP awards given to Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas. After all, who's to say that Matt Williams wouldn't have broken Maris' record that year - he had 43 homers in 112 games when the season ended and over the first 50 games of the following season had 19 more. Or that Tony Gwynn wouldn't have hit .400. Either one of those accomplishments would have given them the nod over Bagwell's terrific season. But the real clincher is in Total Baseball, the official encyclopedia of the sport. There's a section that gives the record of each manger and where his team finished each year. Under Bobby Cox in 1994, it says "2E" for 2nd in the East. This topic is getting kinda old, and I'm getting sorta tired of bringing it up. But until people stop saying silly, unsupported things, I guess I'm gonna have to keep reminding them. So please, tell all those writers and broadcasters to stop saying such silly things. Thanks.
New York Mets
I believe this is the year the Braves string ends and for 2 very big reasons: 1) their pitching and 2) their competition. With Smoltz's health a big question, Millwood's mechanics in disarray, the very good chance that Maddux and Glavine, especially Glavine, could struggle with the new strikezone, and the lack of quality depth in their bullpen, the Braves success will depend largely on their offense, which is decent, but not good enough to carry them to the division title. The Mets didn't do themselves any favors by letting Hampton go, nor is their offense going to improve with Ordonez getting 600 at bats this year. However, they still have Mike Piazza, a good supporting cast on offense, a great bullpen and a decent rotation. The Marlins have some guys who can put the ball out of the park and a very good young rotation, but their bullpen isn't as good as it looked last year. The Expos have some great young players, a solid pen if they don't trade Urbina, but have very little depth in the rotation. Oddly enough, it's the Phillies who have the fewest question marks. They have good talent in the rotation if Wolf's arm doesn't fall off, a potentially very good offense and a bullpen made up of guys who have had very good years... just not recently. In a division where no team wins 90 games and no team loses more than 82, I'm going even further out on a limb and say the Phillies win the East.
2) New York