I am not sure if the N.L. deserves credit for being first, it has been a hundred years. I believe the Red Sox won the first World Series in about 1901.
I have to give credit to Shawn Green for his conviction. In the days of money ball I am pleased to see an athlete take the stance that some things are more important than sports. This is not the first time he has missed time under similar circumstances. As to Sandy Kofax, I believe that Don Drysdale started in his place on that day ... Not a bad replacement. Additionally, this bit about Shawn Green wouldn't even be news if the Dodgers had just taken care of business and not let 6 games drop off their lead.
As to the NL East: Bobby Cox is the best manager in baseball. It doesn't matter who plays for him he just wins. Of course, he has a good eye for latent talent, a good trait for a manager. In short, he is remarkable. The Milwood for Estrada deal looked great for the Phillies at the time but now it looks like the Braves were touched with genius.