On "Prince" Fielder, Shark Week, the many Latoses, the best hands in San Diego, and Ryan Braun’s missed opportunity.
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
1. Pittsburgh Pirates (65-42; Previous: 3) – After studying levels of deforestation, changing sea levels, and species survival rates, scientists determine there is unequivocal evidence Pirates will have a winning season.
2. Boston Red Sox (65-44; Previous: 2) – Yaz statue to go up as fan attraction at Fenway Park, also as late-inning defensive replacement for Jonny Gomes.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (64-44; Previous: 5) – Rays management decides if you're gonna build a new stadium, you're gonna need a Crain.
4. Atlanta Braves (63-45; Previous: 7) – A few Braves view deadline transaction as a Loe-Downs dirty shame.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (62-44; Previous: 1) – Cards one of the great, dignified and distinguished franchises in baseball history, which dates to the hatching of Fredbird.
6. Oakland Athletics (63-45; Previous: 4) – Hoping to avoid further punishment on drug issue, Bartolo Colon's plea deal means he'll forfeit most convenient ballpark parking spot along with any claims to the last donut.
7. Detroit Tigers (61-45; Previous: 8) – If William and Kate really wanted us to care, they would have named their son "Fielder."
8. Cleveland Indians (59-48; Previous: 11) – Jason Giambi becomes oldest player to hit a walker-off home run.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (57-49; Previous: 14) – While it may be Shark Week, Dodgers get sense it's still not a bad time to be Yasiel.
10. Baltimore Orioles (59-49; Previous: 9) – O's know steaks are high, trade Delmonico for K-Rod.
11. Texas Rangers (59-49; Previous: 6) – That's the last time reliever Tanner Scheppers wears the Art Modell mask in Cleveland.
12. Cincinnati Reds (60-49; Previous: 10) – Mat Latos named his pet feline Cat Latos. Also, has cool brother named Dat Latos. Squirt gun named Gat Latos. Every day puts on Hat Latos. Once injured his Lat Latos. At deadline, Reds stood Pat Latos. Arms covered with Tat Latos. It's true about the cat.
13. New York Yankees (56-51; Previous: 12) – A-Rod doctor uses five minutes of fame to contribute to A-Rod's five years of infamy.
14. Arizona Diamondbacks (55-52; Previous: 13) – D-backs consider strategies to slow Dodgers in final months, go with Joe Thatcher and a set of tire spike strips.
15. Kansas City Royals (53-51; Previous: 21) – George Brett steps down as hitting coach, letter of resignation rejected when determined it extended past the 18-inch limitation. Brett understands.
16. Washington Nationals (52-56; Previous: 15) – Davey Johnson: "I don't regret saying 'World Series or bust.' It looks more like bust." Hey, Davey, the season's eyes are up here.
17. Colorado Rockies (51-58; Previous: 17) – Fun fact about mascot Dinger: Guy in costume sweats Rocky Mountain spring water.
18. Seattle Mariners (50-57; Previous: 22) – Promotional cash drop at Safeco Field causes stir, as game is delayed several minutes to get chief financial officer off the field.
19. Philadelphia Phillies (50-57; Previous: 16) – Cheesesteaks are great and all, but every once in a while Phillies like a good Cuban, sign pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (50-57; Previous: 18) – Jays do nothing at deadline, figure they did more than enough damage over winter.
21. Chicago Cubs (49-58; Previous: 25) – Wrigleyville to undergo $500 million makeover. Cubs fans can't wait for the before and after pitchers.
22. San Diego Padres (50-59; Previous: 24) – In same summer, Padres fans see their baseball team get no-hit and their mayor hit on everything.
23. Los Angeles Angels (48-58; Previous: 19) – Reliever rescues stray pigeon, which later explains was just trying to get away from that crazy Mike Tyson.
24. New York Mets (48-57; Previous: 23) – Harvey's Jeter envy extends to professionalism, dignity, character, work ethic. Aw, hell, it’s about the chicks.
25. San Francisco Giants (47-59; Previous: 20) – Giants go to White House, Sandoval feels oddly comfortable in Oval Office.
26. Minnesota Twins (45-59; Previous: 26) – The twins are great and everything, but Joe Mauer reminds everyone he did once play for Quad Cities.
27. Milwaukee Brewers (46-62; Previous: 28) – FDA finds steroid in certain brand of vitamin B supplements, which is unfortunate because the discovery came six days after Ryan Braun waived his right to appeal.
28. Chicago White Sox (40-65; Previous: 27) – Survey asks fans to identify what disappointed them most about 2013. Presumably, this led to a more than a few White Flag Tirades.
29. Miami Marlins (41-65; Previous: 29) – While experts doubt it can be effective, Marlins here to say a "Boycott Florida" movement can work and have the attendance figures to prove it.
30. Houston Astros (36-70; Previous: 30) – We come to the time of summer around Minute Maid Park that is romantically known as "Almost football season."
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