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Series Fifty-Three: Braves at Marlins

We had hoped all year that this would be a post-season preview. But it's not. So instead we're going to bring you a season finale extravaganza. It's not just Mike. It's not just Grover. It's not even just Chief Noc-a-Homa. We're also bringing in Yoda to help us send the year out right.

: So Chief, the year ended like it always seems to end - with the Braves winning the division title.

: Yes, all is right in the (regular-season) universe. The Braves have won the East again - and this year with the Richmond club.

: It's sad but true - at least for the rest of us. High schools in Georgia are now full of students who have gone their entire lives only knowing the Braves as division champions.

: Scoreboard we will play. Division titles win all you want. World Series titles is all settle for will we.

: As always, Yoda has a point. Is this the year that the Braves get their second title in this great run, Chief?

: I'm not optimistic enough to say that it's going to happen this year. It's unlikely in the sense that the Braves rotation is dinged up and there are questions about their bullpen. In addition, they're depending on a number of unproven guys.

But at the same time, everyone else in the NL looks mortal. The best team in the AL right now might be Cleveland, and they might not even get invited to the dance. So in that sense, I could see the Braves taking the whole thing.

: Enough post-season talk. The Marlins are out of it and all this Braves-love is giving me the willies.

It's been a long season, but there's been a lot of fun too. What was everyone's favorite moment from the year?

: Mine would have to be Jeff Francouer's debut. He started like a man on fire. Hitting .400 without drawing walks and throwing out nearly everyone on the basepaths. We'd heard wonderful things about Francoueur for the past few years, but to see him come to Atlanta and contribute immediately was something special.

: Mine is FishStripes related. We had a lot of fun at Shea Stadium (in Suite 36!). While not everyone was able to make it, a number of folks were and we all had a great time. Here's a picture of some folks hanging out in the suite after the game:

You'll notice that Carolina's not in that picture (neither am I, as I took it). I'm pretty sure that she was in the inside portion of the suite downing Bama Bombs.

: My favorite moment of the season comes from something that I didn't see in person - but only something that Mike showed me pictures of (thanks for leaving me behind again, jerk):

Yes, that's right - Rafael Palmeiro and Pete Rose together. Where's that picture from? Oh - that's the best part. It's from the Hall of Fame. In one room at the Hall of Fame they have a poster with pictures of the active and all-time leaders in various statistical categories. This year Palmeiro is the "active" leader in hits. Rose is, of course, the all-time leader. Mike took this picture right after Raffy's steroid suspension came out. I thought it was pretty funny to see two guys who aren't likely to be enshrined in the Hall anytime soon, pictured together in the Hall.

: Jerk you are. Funny it is not.

: Whatever. Moving on... So Chief - Dontrelle Willis, the A-Train, has one start left. It will come on Sunday against your Bravos. Do you think Willis deserves the Cy Young?

: Yes, I do. Maybe it's just because I've seen him more than Carpenter and Clemens, but Dontrelle has been great.

In my opinion, Carpenter has not been the better pitcher this year (and the stats prove that - after Dontrelle's strong finish and Carpenter's poor September). Don't get me wrong, Chris Carpenter has had a great year, but he's benefitted from having better teammates around him. Or at least teammates who had better seasons. If you put Dontrelle on the Cardinals this season, his win-loss record would simply sparkle.

: End on good note it is to.

: Indeed it is. Our friend Chief Noc-a-homa has said something positive about the Marlins. Let's leave it at that for this season. It's been a fun - if disappointing - year for us here at FishStripes. While this is the last of our 2005 series previews, we'll still be around. Make sure you keep checking in throughout the post-season (there will be open threads and fun stuff) and during the offseason.