On Rivera's haul, Magic's eye for the game, the butt slide, and the Blue Jays' season on the Rob Ford scale.
The rankings (records through Wednesday):1. Boston Red Sox
(92-61; Previous: 3) – Red Sox give Rivera a scoreboard placard, an old stadium seat, a bullpen rubber, bunch of other stuff. Now have room in shed for that new mower.
2. St. Louis Cardinals
(89-63; Previous: 8) – Cards mull extent of wild-card celebration. A conundrum, given the town's already been painted red.
3. Los Angeles Dodgers
(87-65; Previous: 1) – Magic convinced the Dodgers will win this thing, as long as they give no silly fouls and make their free throws.
4. Oakland Athletics
(89-63; Previous: 6) – Game of Monopoly becomes all the rage in A's clubhouse. Cool thing: Whenever somebody lands on Luxury Tax, Hal Steinbrenner owes Lew Wolff $75.
5. Atlanta Braves
(90-62; Previous: 2) – Unlike many clubhouses this time of year, Braves' still has that nice Beachy smell.
6. Detroit Tigers
(88-64; Previous: 5) – Beyond the constant danger of broken ribs from rigorous hugs, Don Kelly very pleased Jim Leyland cares so much for him.
7. Cincinnati Reds
(87-66; Previous: 10) – Reds say Phillips should be ready for playoffs after small outpatient procedure for Villar-ectomy.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates
(87-65; Previous: 4) – Pirates players make strongest commitment to defense in team history. Management, of course, had been growing more defensive for years.
9. Tampa Bay Rays
(83-68; Previous: 9) – Streaker in tighty-whiteys invades The Trop. Players really hope Maddon gets no ideas about next road trip attire.
10. Cleveland Indians
(82-70; Previous: 12) – Fans to Indians: Really, it's not you, it's us.
11. Texas Rangers
(82-69; Previous: 7) – Rangers swept on homestand, and now all their vexes live in Texas.
12. Washington Nationals
(81-71; Previous: 15) – Forbes says Ted Lerner is baseball's richest owner, so obviously the World Series-or-bust thing didn't apply to him.
13. Baltimore Orioles (81-70; Previous: 13) – O's try to overcome slump with black jerseys. Didn't get any more hits, but did see spike in their Eutaw street cred.
14. New York Yankees
(80-72; Previous: 11) – All the gifts at Fenway were nice and all, but Rivera really was kind of hoping for a pony.
15. Kansas City Royals
(80-72; Previous: 14) – Fat dancing guy clearly a glutton for punishment. Also for anything smothered in barbecue sauce.
16. Los Angeles Angels
(74-78; Previous: 19) – Angels make late run to save Scioscia's job. Or maybe it's Dipoto's job. Mike Butcher's? Aw, hell, they have no idea.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks
(77-74; Previous: 16) – If you were to grade out D'backs' second half, you'd have to give the shortstop a Didi.
18. San Diego Padres
(71-80; Previous: 21) – All things considered, if Padres were going to own another city, might have picked one with a more temperate climate than Pittsburgh.
19. San Francisco Giants
(70-82; Previous: 24) – Bonds disappointed in obstruction penalty. Thought prosecutor should be awarded no more than one base.
20. Philadelphia Phillies
(71-81; Previous: 20) – Working way back, Halladay effective against Marlins. One more simulated game and he'll be good to go.
Toronto Blue Jays (69-82; Previous: 18) – As far as season goes, Jays think it rated worse than Rob Ford smashes-into-TV-camera video but way better than Rob Ford might-have-smoked-crack video.
22. Colorado Rockies
(69-84; Previous: 17) – A happy retirement to Todd Helton, a good guy who spoke honestly and wasn't afraid to laugh at himself. He goes as the face of the Rockies. Well, him and Dinger.
23. New York Mets
(68-83; Previous: 22) – Jerry Seinfeld visits TV booth, admits that after all these years he'd now really, really like to be a Pirate.
24. Milwaukee Brewers
(68-83; Previous: 26) – Braun drops by clubhouse, is pretty sure he left his conscience around here somewhere.
25. Seattle Mariners
(67-85; Previous: 25) – Wedge, under doctor's orders to avoid stress, thanks club for thoughtfulness of 34 blow-out losses.
26. Minnesota Twins
(65-86; Previous: 23) – Gardenhire three wins from 1,000. Mid-April sounds about right.
27. Chicago Cubs
(63-89; Previous: 27) – Jackson vs. Sveum might be closest to fair fight Cubs have had all year.
28. Chicago White Sox
(60-92; Previous: 28) – You know the White Sox don't actually wear white socks, right?
29. Miami Marlins
(56-96; Previous: 29) – So, Beinfest could be fired by Loria for following orders given by Loria. Really, Beinfest should have known better.
30. Houston Astros
(51-101; Previous: 30) – "Dancing with the 'Stros" charity event features owner Jim Crane doing the "Fandontgo (Please)."
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- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Blue Jays
- Rob Ford