In the National League West, it's all over but the tradin'.
Oh, it's not that the Padres are a great team. They're one of two National League teams currently in first place despite having been outscored (the Nationals, of course, are the other, though that won't last much longer). It's just that nobody else in the division looks any better. San Diego has been outscored by two runs, and Arizona -- 4½ games behind -- has been outscored by 89 runs. The Dodgers were my preseason pick to win the division, and I still think they'll make a run of sorts, but 6½ games is a lot of ground to close in two months. The Giants are on life support, and the Rockies died a couple of months ago.
So let's assume for the moment that the Padres, negative run differential and all, are your 2005 NL West champions. What's next? How are these five franchises, four of them in big cities with profitable ballparks, going to fare in the next few seasons?