In general, the National League East is filled with teams I don’t care about. I know that I generally loathe East Coast sports writers, but what else would you expect from some prick living in the forgotten time zone? The NL East is filled with contenders (except for one obvious exception), and since we’ve got last year’s World Champions here, this is as good a place to start for the NL as anywhere. God knows that’s what all sportswriters do, so let’s make like the herd, and get to it. Welcome to your 2010 NL preview.

1. Philadelphia Phillies

Last Year’s Record: 93-69

Predicted 2010 Record: 93-69 (OMG! Samesies!)

Pertinent Line from Real Team Preview: “Factoring in the work it takes to reach the postseason, and the “crapshoot” elements that hit teams when they get there, it’s really, really hard to win a World Series.  You need talent and you need luck.  The Phillies are an aging team that could easily experience injury problems and/or decline from key components this season.  Talent-wise, however, they remain the class of the National League.” Peter Baker, SB Nation.com

Something(s) To Love: The city of Philadelphia is easily one of the most tortured sports cities in the country, it was nice to see one of their teams not crumble in the playoffs and give the city something to cheer for, for once. Chase Utley is awesome. Roy Halladay – also awesome, and now not rotting in Canada. Phillie Phanatic is the possible father of the AIDS muppet.

Something(s) To Hate: Ryan Howard is an arrogant piece of shit and strikes out 200 times per season. Jayson Werth has douchebaggy facial hair. People from Philadelphia are generally obnoxious, so watching their team fall to pieces was top shelf schadenfraude. Every baseball article I read while on my honeymoon in Maui was about goddamn Shane Victorino. I’m tired of him.

Funniest Name on 40-Man Roster: (tie) P Antonio Bastardo & IF Brian Bocock

Fred the Homeless Dirtbag’s Appraisal: “One time I was riding the rails in Philly and Skinny Jim said to me, ‘Never pass up the opportunity to ride in a truck.’ You’ll get there faster, and if the guy makes you pay for gas, just find another truck.’ Do you have any Skoal?”

2. New York Mets

Last Year’s Record: 70-92

Predicted 2010 Record: 86-76

Pertinent Line from Real Team Preview: “Ok, I know this won’t be a popular pick, but I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy. The Mets on paper should have a pretty good offense with Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran expected to be back before May. David Wright should revert back towards his career norms offensively, and Jason Bay gives the Mets a nice one-two punch from the right side hitting behind Wright (or vice-versa). Jeff Francoeur, Angel Pagan, and Rod Barajas will look to fortify the Mets’ defense as well as making their offensive contributions.”Jon Presser, Bleacher Report

Something(s) To Love: David Wright is one of those players you can’t help but love. Johan Santana has an absolutely captivating changeup. They’re not the Yankees. They’re also not bellyaching Philly fans. No matter how you felt about the Mets before, you probably remember fondly ’86 watching them break it off in the Red Sox because you now cannot stand the unbridled obnoxiousness of the insufferable Red Sox Nation.

Something(s) To Hate: It’s still New York. This team once employed noted douche bag Bobby Valentine who wore a disguise in the dugout after getting ejected from a game. Shea Stadium looked like a horrible dump even on television. My dad still hates them for overtaking the Cubs during the Cubs’ massive choke job in 1969. That’s good enough for me. I’ll always hate the Mets.

Funniest Name on 40-Man Roster: P Tobi Stoner

Fred the Homeless Dirtbag’s Appraisal: “The other day I took a half smoked cigarette out of an ashtray and lit it back up. It tasted like Christmas ham… A clove? What’s a clove? I shoulda put mustard on it. Except you can’t smoke mustard. Not that I’m aware of anyway.”

3. Atlanta Braves

Last Year’s Record: 86-76

Predicted 2010 Record: 84-78

Pertinent Line from Real Team Preview: Thumbs down for winning one for the skipper. This is baseball. Rah-rah stuff doesn’t work. (If it did, Larry Bowa would have been Walter Alston.) The desire to send Cox out a winner might flare in September, provided the Braves are still in it, but it won’t be evident in April or June or August. These guys play 162 games. Nobody can stay geeked up for that long.” Mark Bradley, Atlanta Journal Constitution Blog

Something(s) To Love: Bobby Cox holds the all-time record for ejections in MLB history. Of course, he’s approximately 132 years old. John Smoltz was one scary-ass dude. Greg Maddux was brilliant for them and is one of the 5 least likeliest people to ever take steroids. Sid Bream made Barry Bonds look like a fool in 1992. Atlanta is the strip club capital of the USA.

Something(s) To Hate: If you live within 100 miles of Atlanta, did you enjoy the Braves’ 15 straight seasons of division titles? Of course not. Did you enjoy the Rockies bending over and taking it up the ass from these jerks for their first 10 years of existence? Do you like Ted Turner? Do you want to see these pretty boys from Atlanta boring you to tears year after year? Do we even need to mention the fucking Tomahawk Chop?

Funniest Name on 40-Man Roster: P Jair Jurrjens (How is that a real name?)

Fred the Homeless Dirtbag’s Appraisal: “I hate Ludacris. I hate rap music. I hate Atlanta.”

4. Florida Marlins

Last Year’s Record: 87-75

Predicted 2010 Record: 79-83

Pertinent Line from Real Team Preview: “But don’t pencil the Marlins into the playoffs just yet. There is still plenty to be decided down in sunny Florida. With its core a year older, the Marlins will still need some of their young guys to step up. Cameron Maybin, 22, gets another shot at locking down the center field spot, while Florida also hopes that either 26-year-old Gaby Sanchez or Logan Morrison, a 22-year-old prospect, will seize hold of the first base spot. There are also some questions about Florida’s rotation after Johnson and Ricky Nolasco, while the Marlins appear as if they will throw their bullpen to the wall and keep whatever sticks.”Michael Rushton, Miami Herald

Something(s) To Love: You can’t help but admire the Marlins’ front office as they churn and burn players at a ridiculous clip since the team has no money. Hanley Ramirez is the only one in the conversation with (and often better than) Troy Tulowitzki as the best young shortstop, and he won last year’s batting championship. Manager Fredi Gonzalez is white, which must confuse everyone that calls his house.

Something(s) To Hate: In 16 years of existence, number of World Series won: Marlins – 2; Rockies – 0. And they have no fans. This is a crime against nature.

Funniest Name on 40-Man Roster: 2B Dan Uggla

Fred the Homeless Dirtbag’s Appraisal: “The last election I voted in, I voted for the American Constitution candidate. No, I don’t remember what his name was. But I believe in upholding the Constitution. That’s why the government took my bicycle.”

5. Washington Nationals

Last Year’s Record: 59-103

Predicted 2010 Record: 64-98

Pertinent Line from Real Team Preview: “It’s easy to forget now, but when the Expos turned into the Nationals and headed to DC, the thought was that this was going to be a potential juggernaut in the NL East. Certainly, MLB initially treated the Nationals as well as it treated the Expos poorly. (It even saved some love for the Orioles.) The combination of a re-energized organization with a fanbase supposedly desperate for baseball — it had been 34 years since the Senators left — was considered a threat to the rest of the NL East. All was set up for them. It hasn’t worked out that way, and the Nationals, with the help of Jim Bowden, have squandered all that goodwill and advantage.”Will Leitch, Deadspin.com

Something(s) To Love: They’re trying so hard to have real baseball here. The beacon of hope that is Stephen Strasburg sits just over the horizon, otherwise new Congressional lobbying laws have prevented the Nationals from selling most of their pricey corporate seats in their new park. In a division with deep pockets, the Nationals have a long, tough road ahead every year for the foreseeable future.

Something(s) To Hate: Don’t kick a team while it’s down. This team’s already the worst in the league, no need to kick sand in its face. Best of luck, Nats.

Funniest Name on 40-Man Roster: P Atahualpa Severino

Fred the Homeless Dirtbag’s Appraisal: “I’ve had these pants since 1983.”

Stay tuned tomorrow where we’ll preview the Central divisions.

edagger@crujonessociety.com