Coming off mild eyestrain, I considered abandoning these rankings with still a month to go in the season, saving my strength for next year’s rankings, not to mention a long and potentially fruitful career of rankings. My editor thought that was ridiculous.
The rankings (records through Wednesday’s games):
1. Washington Nationals (77-47; Previous: 1) – Pressing first topic in Presidential debate: Pitch or shut down Stephen Strasburg.
2. Cincinnati Reds (76-49; Previous: 4) – Minor leaguer Billy Hamilton breaks stolen base record, celebrates by hauling down antelope and treating teammates to mid-afternoon feed.
3. New York Yankees (72-52; Previous: 3) – Police report says Pineda had great top-end velocity, but lacked lane command.
4. Texas Rangers (72-51; Previous: 2) – Rangers think hard, even retrace steps, know they left Angels around here somewhere.
5. Atlanta Braves (71-53; Previous: 5) – Fredi Gonzalez tells mlb.com he occasionally touches Chipper "to make sure he's not a hologram." Chipper asks Fredi to keep it above the diffraction area please.
6. Tampa Bay Rays (69-55; Previous: 15) – Republican National Convention comes to town, many delegates staying at Luke Scott's house.
7. Baltimore Orioles (67-57; Previous: 12) – Showalter proud of organization now "in the same boat and rowing with the same oar." Club looking into purchasing second oar.
8. San Francisco Giants (69-55; Previous: 6) – Investigators become suspicious when Melky produces receipts from www.easyalibis.com\ipeedtestosterone.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (67-58; Previous: 14) – Seeking big entrance, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen considers riding Todd Coffey in from bullpen in ninth.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (67-57; Previous: 7) – Pirates lead league in wins against Astros. They're really going to miss those guys.
11. Oakland Athletics (67-56; Previous: 8) – Slight misunderstanding in team photo; A's had room for Weeks, but not his luggage.
12. Chicago White Sox (68-55; Previous: 10) – White Sox lead league in losses to Royals, can’t believe how lucky Pirates are.
14. Detroit Tigers (66-57; Previous: 9) – AL strikeout race becomes intramural affair between Verlander and Scherzer. Winner gets a T-shirt and $100 gift certificate to student bookstore.
15. Los Angeles Angels (64-60; Previous: 13) – Management decides if club doesn't start winning more games it will have to fire Mickey Hatcher again.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (64-61; Previous: 16) – Nice energy from Dbacks' new shortstop. Might even call it Jake Elmore's fire.
17. Seattle Mariners (61-64; Previous: 22) – After two perfect games and one no-hitter thrown in same season at Safeco Field, Chone Figgins starts to think people are just making fun of him.
18. Boston Red Sox (59-65; Previous: 18) – Frankly, Red Sox fans somewhat surprised to learn team even had a pitching coach.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (56-67; Previous: 18) – If Larry Lucchino keeps staring at him, John Farrell's filing a restraining order.
21. New York Mets (57-67; Previous: 19) – Second half has Mr. Met totally deflated. Not his head; that’s still huge.
22. Kansas City Royals (55-68; Previous: 27) – Fans pen letter begging Glass to sell team. Glass responds, "How much you got?"
23. Miami Marlins (57-69; Previous: 23) – Ozzie, on protecting Stanton in lineup: "I’m going to need the [stinkin'] FBI to protect that guy because anybody on this [stinkin'] team can't. … I’m going to need the DEA, FBI and [stinkin'] SWAT team to protect him." Marlins sure are fast and loose with taxpayer dollars, aren't they?
24. Milwaukee Brewers (57-66; Previous: 21) – Brewers release Wolf on his birthday. On bright side, Randy got $36 from his grandmother.
25. Cleveland Indians (54-70; Previous: 25) – Indians announce Grady Sizemore is done for year. Admit at this point that press release pretty much writes itself.
26. San Diego Padres (56-70; Previous: 26) – MLB announces group with Fowler, Seidler, O'Malley and Mickelson cleared to buy Padres. Also announces next season's NL West schedule will be played as a scramble.
27. Minnesota Twins (51-72; Previous: 24) – Twins outfielder declines to enter MRI tube. Is it weird that a guy named "Span" is claustrophobic?
28. Colorado Rockies (49-73; Previous: 29) – News: Rockies two games over .500 when starters go at least five innings. Other news: Rockies starters have at least twice gone five innings.
29. Chicago Cubs (47-76; Previous: 28) – Soriano says he'd only leave Cubs for "perfect scenario." Reporters remind him about the "leave Cubs" part.
30. Houston Astros (39-85; Previous: 30) – Astros have seven wins since June 27. Jered Weaver has nine.