There are statistics that plenty of baseball fans, coaches, analysts will make regarding how the Philadelphia Phillies won the NL east. Those would be QUANTITATIVE reasons. I, however, think that the Phillies took this year's crown from QUALITATIVE reasons (non-numerical). I have created a list of 3 non statistic evidence for why the Phillies will be the team that has the privilege of putting up the division banner in the following year.
1) Pre-season/Mid-Season Work
Ok. Obviously in baseball and most other professional sports nowadays, a large aspect of how teams do can depend on acquisitions. In baseball, not every team has the same salary cap. In the NL East, the Braves, Mets and Phillies are the higher market teams while the Marlins and Nationals are considered the lower market teams. For sake of equality I will compare the Phillies with the higher market teams, the Mets and the Braves. The Mets made a sexy off-season deal netting in Dominant lefty Johan Santana. The Braves made a sexy off-season deal netting in first baseman Mark Teixeira. The Phillies did not make a move of this caliber, but they did make two moves in key times that I think made them BETTER than the two other high market teams. Locking up Brad Lidge, whom I will talk about later, and picking up Joe Blanton before the deadline. Also, the addition of Matt Stairs, whose main contributions have seem to come in the playoffs. Maybe in the years to come Santana will prove more important than these guys, but as for this year the Phillies have won the offseason/midseason battle.
2) The Bullpen
When the NL East came down to the wire, it was basically a rematch of 2007, Mets vs. Phillies. This year it was not decided by the power of Ryan Howard or the speed of Jose Reyes. It was decided by the bullpen. The Mets bullpen was clearly beleaguered, but even WITH the staggering Mets bullpen, had Phillies closer Brad Lidge had a Good year, the Phillies would be golfing. Instead, he had a great year. I promised I would not use numerical statistics, but Philly fans know what I am talking about.
3) Under the Radar
The title of this last reason may seem confusing but I consider it one of the most important reasons the Phillies won the N.L. East. The Braves- Constant pressure from Bobby Cox to do as well as he did in the 90s and constant problems with superstars lacking to live up to paid potential. The Mets- Constantly plagued with the shadow of the 2007 collapse, combined with stirring early season issues with the status of Willie Randolph kept this team constantly in question in the minds of sports fans. The Phillies- While all of the other teams' issues were piling up, the defending NL East champs really just stuck under the radar. For example, when the Mets were 3 back the questions were: Another collapse?. When the Phillies were 3 back, Mike Schmidt wrote a letter to the team to relax and be confident because they are the better team. Sense a difference? Also, it appeared the Phils WORST media issue of the year was the relationship between Rollins and the fans. (Not THAT bad of an issue)
Overall, numbers can back up why the Phils won the division. I think they won because of these reasons not because of numerical stats. I would appreciate feedback on this article as it is my first. Either comment or email Drl5064@psu.edu and I will surely respond regardless if negative or positive.