Let's just have Bobby V cold-cock the guy and see where that takes us.
The rankings (records through Wednesday's games):
1. Washington Nationals
(84-52; Previous: 1) – Pondering options for what he'll do every day for rest of season, Stephen Strasburg
narrows them to A) Stare dolefully at Davey Johnson; B) Annoy fellow starters by incessantly screaming “Balk!” from dugout rail; C) Run coffee and quotes for beat writers in press box; or D) Play Words with Friends with Dan Uggla.
2. Cincinnati Reds
(83-55; Previous: 2) – We understand there's a Pete Rose reality show in the works. Of course there is.
3. Texas Rangers
(81-55; Previous: 4) – Rangers insist Michael Young
worth more than his statistics alone. For instance, his kidney alone could fetch north of $90,000 on the black market.
4. San Francisco Giants
(77-60; Previous: 8) – Giants decide it's time for Sandoval diet when there's not enough room in clubhouse for September call-ups.
5. Baltimore Orioles
(76-60; Previous: 7) – Buck Showalter thinks a pre-Yankees series meeting would have made him "Captain Obvious." Better that, of course, than "General Custer."
6. Atlanta Braves
(77-60; Previous: 5) – Chipper Jones
gets surfboard as retirement gift. Wonders how you're supposed to kill and gut a deer with that thing.
7. Oakland Athletics
(76-60; Previous: 11) – A's adopt "Weekend at Bernie's" theme, proudly point out that catcher Derek Norris is outhitting a corpse by 201 points.
8. New York Yankees
(77-59; Previous: 3) – You know if George Steinbrenner were still around, at least two interns would have paid for past couple weeks with their jobs.
9. Tampa Bay Rays
(75-62; Previous: 6) – Rays' PA guy doesn't get all the fuss; he's been talking to empty chairs in Tampa for years.
10. Los Angeles Angels
(74-63; Previous: 15) – A's fans chant, "Beat L.A.!" Arte Moreno knew it would catch on.
11. Los Angeles Dodgers
(73-65; Previous: 9) – Dodgers calling September their "fourth quarter" because "sixth sixth" sounded silly.
12. St. Louis Cardinals
(74-63; Previous: 13) – Idle Carlos Beltran helps beat Mets by recommending appeal at first base, not first time he's influenced Cards-Mets game while standing around.
13. Chicago White Sox
(74-62; Previous: 12) – White Sox shave mustaches after sweep by Tigers. Eyebrows are next.
14. Detroit Tigers
(73-63; Previous: 14) – Jim Leyland reveals he eats a Nutty Buddy before each game. Coincidentally, Nutty Buddy also pitches the ninth inning.
15. Pittsburgh Pirates
(72-64; Previous: 10) – Bucs go south so fast Pirate Parrot hitches ride, saves energy during normally arduous winter trip.
16. Philadelphia Phillies
(66-71; Previous: 19) – Charlie Manuel doesn't ask for much from his players, just that they go from home to first faster than he could … while pulling a train with his teeth.
17. Arizona Diamondbacks
(68-70; Previous: 16) – Outfielder Adam Eaton
gets call to bigs, tells Arizona Republic he "started running around the house with my head on fire." Immediately goes to DL.
18. Seattle Mariners
(67-71; Previous: 17) – M's believe fourth place in AL West will look much, much better when there's a fifth team in the division.
19. Milwaukee Brewers
(67-69; Previous: 24) – While it's true he had a rough start in Miami, Mike Fiers believes it's better than having Adam Eaton's head on him.
20. New York Mets
(65-72; Previous: 21) – Collin McHugh Twitter observation: "As a man, the hardest thing to do is lay down our pride. … The second hardest is to pee standing up in a moving bus." You don't want to know what's third.
21. San Diego Padres
(64-74; Previous: 26) – Padres players very excited about new ownership and fresh commitment to organization. Also hoping for a Slurpee machine.
22. Kansas City Royals
(61-75; Previous: 22) – Outfield prospect Wil Myers named minor league player of the year. You know, Royals could use a future short an L or two.
23. Boston Red Sox
(63-75; Previous: 18) – For those who may have been out of the country, under sedation or in a television booth, Red Sox kind enough to re-enact last September's collapse.
24. Toronto Blue Jays
(61-75; Previous: 20) – Cerebral José Bautista perplexes teammates with discussion of whether roof is half open or half closed. Left-handed reliever gets it, however.
25. Miami Marlins
(60-77; Previous: 23) – Jeffrey Loria says he has not yet "assessed blame" for 2012 season. Apparently the "It-starts-with-me" speech won't be forthcoming.
26. Colorado Rockies
(56-79; Previous: 28) – Erstwhile Rocky Dante Bichette on organizational strategy at Coors Field: "Make everybody scared to death to come here." Already have free-agent pitchers covered.
27. Cleveland Indians
(58-79; Previous: 25) – Closer Chris Perez to Fox on difference between Indians and Tigers: "Different owners. It comes down to that. They are spending money." Follow-up question: OK. Difference, then, between Indians, Rays and A's?
Minnesota Twins (56-81; Previous: 27) – Jamey Carroll
hits first home run in three years, and on day he reached 10 years in big leagues. Speaks to his skills, tenacity and love for the game. That, and black voodoo.
29. Chicago Cubs
(51-85; Previous: 29) – In a nod to sanctity of playoff races, Cubs to play regulars for most of September. Ahem.
Houston Astros (42-95; Previous: 30) – Believing it worked for the NFL's Texans and may be their only hope, Astros hire Old Navy to manufacture their T-shirts for next season.
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