Power Rankings: Tigers jump five spots
1. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-26; Previous: 1) – Manny becomes an Isotope, which means he has the same atomic number as, say, Albuquerque teammate Jason Schmidt(notes), but is an entirely different kind of enigma.
2. Boston Red Sox (44-28; Previous: 2) – Other places Papelbon would pitch if the money was right: Cape Cod League, Brookline High School, Speed-Pitch Challenge at St. Francis winter festival, Jimmy’s Tire and Lube vs. Weehawken Red Lobster.
3. Detroit Tigers (41-31; Previous: 8) – Leyland benches Magglio, somehow neglects to consult with Boras ahead of time.
4. New York Yankees (40-32; Previous: 3) – Needing to get A-Rod hitting again, Yankees think banning cousin maybe wasn’t such a good idea.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (40-34; Previous: 9) – Audubon Society thrilled (this is so cool) to discover species of whippoorwill believed extinct in Ryan Franklin’s(notes) beard. Construction of nearby condominiums halted.
6. Toronto Blue Jays (40-34; Previous: 11) – Jays to bring Halladay back on Monday, make a long weekend of it.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (38-34; Previous: 4) – Miller Park flooded, Captain Macha bailing as fast as he can, orders pitchers to lifeboats.
8. Philadelphia Phillies (37-33; Previous: 5) – Phils go 1-8 on homestand, put Howard in hospital, can’t close out games. Good news: Lidge getting A-ball guys out.
9. Los Angeles Angels (38-32; Previous: 10) – When home runs don’t come after shaving dreadlocks, Vladdy considers more drastic measures – laying off sliders a foot outside.
11. New York Mets (37-34; Previous: 7) – Manuel says Mets lack identity, team later detained at La Guardia by overzealous TSA officials.
12. San Francisco Giants (39-32; Previous: 14) – Production shut down on “Moneyball,” Giants pitch “In the Shadow of Moneyball: How We Went to One More World Series than Beane Did During that Time.”
13. Tampa Bay Rays (39-35; Previous: 12) – Garza calls Wednesday night’s eight innings against Phillies “a huge personality win,” meaning it’s fine but you wouldn’t want your friends to see you with it.
14. Florida Marlins (38-36; Previous: 20) – Loria on Girardi: “It was never about me and Joe.” The owner further explained that, philosophically, he hates managers of the year whose teams overachieve in spite of his frugality.
15. Chicago Cubs (34-35; Previous: 15) – Ryne Sandberg says Sosa and “quite a few others” won’t be getting into Hall, volunteers to stand at Cooperstown city limits with shotgun, couple boxes of ammo. Geovany Soto(notes) overhears, can’t stop giggling.
16. Minnesota Twins (37-37; Previous: 16) – Mauer on SI cover, goes 0-for-5, narrowly avoids stray bone in snapper almondine.
17. Cincinnati Reds (35-36; Previous: 13) – Assistant GM Eric Davis says they can’t all be Greg Maddux(notes): “Our hitters are trying to think with the pitcher. You can’t think with the pitcher. The pitcher is the dumbest guy out there.”
18. Colorado Rockies (37-35; Previous: 21) – Hurdle goes on TV and claims the difference between those Rockies and these Rockies is the manager. Last manager could not be reached for comment.
19. Seattle Mariners (37-35; Previous: 18) – Griffey hits franchise’s 5,000th home run. Did not, as sometimes seems, hit the first.
20. Atlanta Braves (34-38; Previous: 17) – Hanson wins first three decisions; Glavine nods, waves, moves along.
21. Chicago White Sox (35-37; Previous: 19) – Beckham struggling, eyes return to AC Milan.
22. Houston Astros (33-37; Previous: 23) – Rangers take Silver Boot, and just in time. McLane was about to give it to Cooper.
23. Baltimore Orioles (32-40; Previous: 29) – Trembley blasts Pie for all the stuff that made Pie available to the O’s last winter.
24. Oakland Athletics (31-40; Previous: 25) – A’s honor 1989 World Series champion, marvel at how long it’s been since jokesters McGwire and Canseco crammed into that bathroom stall, the cut-ups.
26. Kansas City Royals (31-40; Previous: 24) – Farnsworth bitten in dog fight, says he would have won, too, were it not broken up.
27. San Diego Padres (31-40; Previous: 26) – Giles goes to DL, Towers wonders where he’ll find another corner outfielder to hit him two home runs and bat .191.
28. Arizona Diamondbacks (30-42; Previous: 28) – Webb nearing shoulder surgery, club asks if in meantime he wouldn’t mind pitching left-handed for a couple months.
29. Cleveland Indians (30-44; Previous: 27) – President Dolan trails team to Pittsburgh amid rumors he would whack Wedge. Sure enough, he brought a club: “I’m going golfing with a bunch of my friends.”
30. Washington Nationals (21-49; Previous: 30) – Their work done playing their way into Strasburg, Nats recommit and focus on “winning” Bryce Harper.