Game 1 for the Mets, who may not be the same old Mets anymore

Game 1 for the Mets, who may not be the same old Mets anymore

Credit where it’s due: Showalter is the best manager the Mets have had since Davey Johnson. The list since him: Bud Harrelson, Jeff Torborg, Dallas Green, Bobby Valentine, Art Howe, Willie Randolph, Jerry Manuel, Terry Collins, Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas. Only Randolph and Collins clinched a division title.

If the teams split the next four — a day/night doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday — the Mets will be 4-1/2 games ahead of the Braves. The Mets saw their 10-1/2 game cut from June 1 to a half game on July 23, but they’ve won nine of ten since then. They’ve got plenty of time to screw this up, but these might not be the same old Mets.

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About Deshaun Watson

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson signs autographs for fans following NFL football team training camp Monday, August 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

Photo credit: Nick Cammett

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson signs autographs for fans following NFL football team training camp Monday, August 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.  (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

Photo credit: Nick Cammett

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson signs autographs for fans following NFL football team training camp Monday, August 1, 2022, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Nick Cammett)

Photo credit: Nick Cammett

Photo credit: Nick Cammett

The NFL will appeal referee Sue L. Williams’ decision to suspend Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson for six games over multiple allegations of sexual abuse. Williams’ verdict reads worse than it is: She acknowledged Watson acted in an “egregious” way, but felt NFL precedent nullified a lengthy suspension.

The appeal will be heard by former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. He is under pressure. The NFL lobbied for Watson to miss an entire season; Williams ordered just under a third of them. She has not ordered a fine, nor has she required Watson to undergo counseling. However, she noted a lack of remorse.

The NFL agreed with its players’ association that it would be fairer if the league used a disciplinary board to decide such cases instead of Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL also left itself the last word. If Harvey orders a full-year suspension, Goodell will have to agree, which he certainly will — and which the NFLPA didn’t want.

The overwhelming reaction to Williams’ decision was that six games wasn’t enough, although we assume Watson hasn’t been charged with a crime. The NFL has a personal code of conduct that is not the same as state/state law. Now it appears Watson is facing a double jeopardy, which laws tend to rule out. The idea was to keep Goodell from being judge and jury, but there he sits.

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About the Fathers

San Diego Padres’ Juan Soto celebrates with his teammates after scoring at an RBI single from Josh Bell in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Thursday, August 4, 2022 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Photo credit: Gregory Bull

San Diego Padres' Juan Soto celebrates with his teammates after scoring at an RBI single from Josh Bell in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Thursday, August 4, 2022 in San Diego.  (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Photo credit: Gregory Bull

San Diego Padres’ Juan Soto celebrates with his teammates after scoring at an RBI single from Josh Bell in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies Thursday, August 4, 2022 in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Photo credit: Gregory Bull

Photo credit: Gregory Bull

You have Manny Machado. They will bring Fernando Tatis back from injury rehab. You just traded for Juan Soto. They are so highly charged that they are now seen as the next big team in the NL. Didn’t we come in here?

The Padres hired AJ Preller as general manager in 2014. He was credited with winning the subsequent offseason by landing Matt Kemp, James Shields, Derek Norris, Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton and BJ Upton. This team praised to heaven never left the ground.

The 2015 Padres finished 74-88. Kimbrel and the Upton brothers, all acquired by the Braves, were gone after a year. Shields was traded to the White Sox for Tatis in June 2016. Kemp was dumped on Hector Olivera’s contract with the Braves. (Remember Hector Olivera?) To his credit, Preller moved all in to refill his farm system. Then again, he wouldn’t have had to rebuild if he hadn’t dumped Max Fried, Trea Turner, Jace Peterson, and Matt Wisler.

Oh, and the Padres sent the Braves a 2015 competitive balance pick in the Kimbrel deal. The player taken was Austin Riley.

Preller is still in office, despite serving a 30-day ban in 2016 for not speaking out enough about the health of pitcher Drew Pomeranz, who he sent to the Red Sox. Even without Tatis, San Diego has positioned itself for the playoffs. Her only postseason appearance under Preller was after the shortened 2020 season.

Machado, Tatis and Soto are great players, but the Padres are not known for maximizing resources. Barring the 60-game COVID season, this should be the first San Diego team to finish above .500 since 2010. It could make a playoff run. It could make many playoff runs in the next few seasons. For the record, I’ll believe it when I see it.

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About the Braves 2022

Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley reacts after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Truist Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / [email protected])

Photo credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley reacts after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Truist Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in Atlanta.  (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Photo credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Atlanta Braves third baseman Austin Riley reacts after hitting a solo home run in the eighth inning against the New York Mets at Truist Park Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / [email protected])

Photo credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Photo credit: Jason Getz / [email protected]

Remember when we thought the Braves were underrated preseason? (They were, um, defending champions.) Their over/under was 89.5. On Thursday, BetOnline had reset that number to 97.5.

Overall, this seems to have been a bad year that has gone down. Nobody’s over/under was placed above 96.5. The Dodgers, Astros, Yankees, Mets, and Braves should top it all.

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