ESPN's Jayson Stark hosted a debate with fans today to try and predict the team that will win the NL East. I didn't participate, but I looked at the Web page. Can't really help myself when it looks like ESPN is actually going to write something about the Marlins. But was Jayson Stark's feature about the NL East really coverage of the Marlins? That's debatable.
To start, Jayson laid out the case for the Phillies, then the Mets, then the Marlins. Then, he issued a verdict that failed to mention the Marlins at all. And he picked the Phillies to win the division. Gutsy pick, Jayson.
But wait, it gets better. About halfway through the so-called debate, someone pointed out that there's been no talk of the Marlins. In a comparison of position players, nobody even mentioned Hanley Ramirez or Dan Uggla.
This is where Jayson really put his foot in his mouth. I'll let his words speak for themselves:
You're right. It's time to introduce the Marlins into this discussion. I can't give them Uggla over Utley because of defense, although it's close. I obviously give them 2B over the Mets. I agree at shortstop, although again, the perception that Reyes hasn't had a good year doesn't match reality. Check his numbers again. Right now, you'd give the Marlins the edge in both corners over the Mets but in neither corner over the Phillies. If Church returns, that's a different story. The question is how we evalutate their pitching. I've been a bigger Marlins booster than just about anybody you'll find in the national media. But depending on young pitching, especially when it's this inexperienced, this time of year is too dangerous to make them the favorites. Nevertheless, you make a good point that their position players line up better against the Mets than the world seems to realize.
I couldn't help putting the 'Marlins booster' comment in bold. What a joke. The guy disses the team, then he calls himself a booster.
I'll let you sift through the rest of the debate transcript if you want to see Jayson's other misguided thoughts about the Marlins. Like his assessment of Jorge Cantu. Not as good as Pedro Feliz? Really?
Reading Jayson Stark's debate about the NL East makes me think Ralph Nader should have been a baseball player. Because it's pretty hard to get elected president when the big boys don't let you into the debates. But you can still win in baseball -- even if ESPN columnists aren't smart enough to give you their vote.