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Opening Night is Sunday and Opening Day is Monday! Don't worry, it makes sense to Major League Baseball.

1. New York Mets - The "other" New York team opens the palatial but unfortunately named Citi Field with a World Series-caliber squad. The biggest issue from last season, an atrocious bullpen, has been solved by the off-season moves that netted them the overrated Fransisco Rodriguez and the underrated J.J. Putz. Featuring David Wright, Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, the Mets are one of the few teams in baseball with three legitimate MVP candidates.

2. Philadelphia Phillies - The defending champions return nearly the same team as last season, switching out Pat Burrell, the defensively-challenged power hitting left fielder for Raul Ibanez, another defensively challenged power hitting left fielder. The difference is Raul is a lefty and consistent and Burrell hits righty and is one of the streakiest players in baseball. The Phils won't slip much if at all, provided that Cole Hamels stays healthy.

3. Florida Marlins - The Fish have two things going for them: Shortstop Hanley Ramirez is one of the five best players in the game today, and they have a collection of scary-good young pitchers led by Ricky Nolasco and Josh Johnson. Befitting a team known for being - let's put it charitably - money-conscious, the Marlins have some serious holes. The outfield is young and untested,and the infield defense is unquestionably the weakest in the league. Ramirez is on the verge of outgrowing the middle infield, and second baseman Dan Uggla is a train wreck. See the his three-error inning in the 2008 All-Star Game for confirmation.

4. Atlanta Braves - The Braves are a team in transition, with only Tom Glavine and Chipper Jones remaining from the glory years. Atlanta is young, with top prospects Tommy Hanson and Jordan Shaefer about to break in. The pitching, now lead by free agent pickup Derek Lowe and holdover Jair Jjurjens (Yes, that IS his name. Awesome huh?)is solid if not spectacular. The issue remains the outfielder, where the rookie Shaefer will be flanked by Garrett Anderson (whose tank is just about on E) and Jeff Francour, who has status has gone from "future star" to "current mediocrity" in two seasons.

5. Washington Nationals - Tell me again why Montreal needed to be stripped of the Expos again? The Nationals are an utterly terrible team on the field and no great success at the gate either, ranking a lackluster 13th in NL attendance despite a shiny new ballpark. GM Jim Bowden is gone, resigning due to a federal investigation of a possible bonus-skimming scheme. Yeah, that's really all you need to know about the Nationals: the guy who built the team could find himself in the federal pen. And not just because of his oddball obsession with DH/corner outfield types. At one point the Nats featured 12 such guys on the roster. But hey, Stephen Strasburg, the current "greatest prospect of all time" should be on the way.

Overview - The Mets are the best team in the National League, and our pick for the NL crown. The Phillies are just as good as they were last year though, and will find themselves in the Wild Card spot. The Marlins still can't catch the ball enough to challenge and the Braves are a year away. The Nationals are a joke.

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