I know all of you Yankees' fans are laughing that smug laugh right now, but I don't care. The Phillies will win the Series this year.

For those wondering about the timing of this prediction, I'll tell you. I don't want to be accused of jumping on the bandwagon, when its rolling down hill.

For those who want to know how I could bet against the Yankees and their $200 million payroll, all I can say is: I believe.

I believe this team has filled the holes that cost them last year, and they didn't sell their souls to do it.

I believe that the faith they're showing in players that had off years last season, will be rewarded.

I believe the Phillies starting rotation is among the best in baseball.

I believe their bullpen, with the departure of Jose Mesa and the addition of Billy Wagner, could even be better than their starting rotation.

I believe good pitching beats good hitting.

I believe in Jim Thome. Big Jim and I have a lot in common. Before we moved to Philadelphia, we both lived in Cleveland. And...well I guess that's all we really have in common, but I believe in him.

I believe Pat Burrell will revert back to the stud he was in 2002, not the dud he was in 2003.

I believe Bobby Abreu's 2003 season was just the beginning.

I believe Mike Lieberthal is one of the best offensive catchers in baseball, and this year, with an improved pitching staff holding runners closer, his defensive numbers will improve.

I believe Marlon Byrd will develop into one of the game's best lead-off hitters.

I believe that Placido Polanco-Jimmy Rollins is one of the best double-play combos in baseball.

I believe David Bell will stay healthy.

I believe in Larry Bowa's fire.

I believe Tug McGraw was right when he said, you've gotta believe, and I believe his spirit will be with this team, this year.

Now if the rest of you Phillies' fans will only have the faith I do, I believe that's worth a lot more than $200 million.

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Mike Hastings is a staff writer for The Phoenix, and his column appears every Friday.

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