The final rankings of the season. Or, pretty much how I had it from the start.
1. New York Yankees (102-57; Previous: 1) – Yanks finish strong, prep for playoffs by resting starters, reviewing scouting reports, brushing up on sophomoric Swisher handshakes.
2. Los Angeles Angels (94-64; Previous: 3) – Game plan against Red Sox includes dressing up like Yankees, talking with funny Bronx accents.
3. Boston Red Sox (91-67; Previous: 2) – Red Sox eye division series against Angels, admit it sort of feels like they're already up, two games to none.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (92-66; Previous: 4) – Manuel says, “I don't want to shoot Lidge,” admits a little neck-wringing might make him feel better though.
5. St. Louis Cardinals (90-68; Previous: 5) – Cards clinch at Coors Field, celebrate by stuffing entire team, three umpires and two waitresses from Giggling Grizzly saloon into humidor.
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (93-66; Previous: 6) – Torre goes to playoffs for 14th consecutive season, Steinbrenners can't believe how lucky that guy gets every year.
7. Colorado Rockies (90-68; Previous: 7) – La Russa claims Coors Field mounds seem to be different sizes; local experts say that is totally natural and nothing to be embarrassed about.
8. Atlanta Braves (86-72; Previous: 11) – Braves finish with four against Nats, who say they'll play those games with all precision of mid-season games. Rockies, of course, afraid of that.
9. Detroit Tigers (85-73; Previous: 12) – Porcello grows beard, explains Leyland hasn't taught him how to shave yet.
10. Minnesota Twins (82-76; Previous: 13) – Twins bid farewell to Metrodome, city deflates ballpark and puts it back into toy chest.
11. Texas Rangers (85-73; Previous: 8) – Rangers eliminated despite improvement in pitching, Ryan shows appreciation by having pitchers carry bus to airport.
12. San Francisco Giants (85-73; Previous: 9) – Neukom preps for Lincecum negotiations, starts by offering Zito's locker, parking space.
13. Florida Marlins (85-74; Previous: 10) – Season dies when Fish shut out by Mets, had expected total Misch mash.
14. Chicago Cubs (82-76; Previous: 16) – Hendry selling off Bradley: First to offer one run producer or six different personalities gets him.
15. Tampa Bay Rays (82-76; Previous: 15) – Rays believe Burrell is such a good player he can beat them from either dugout.
16. Seattle Mariners (82-76; Previous: 14) – On a roll before series against Blue Jays, M's bummed to discover their mojo impounded at border. Blowers, of course, knew it would happen.
17. San Diego Padres (74-85; Previous: 18) – Moorad promises more giveaways. Fans think maybe start with farm system, hitting coach.
18. Milwaukee Brewers (77-81; Previous: 17) – Brewers pitchers last in the league in average velocity. PR guy does his part, vows to switch trade-out agreement from KIA to BMW.
19. Chicago White Sox (77-82; Previous: 19) – Sox fall out of it, Ozzie debates whether to break the news to Obama before the Denmark trip or when he returns.
20. Toronto Blue Jays (75-84; Previous: 22) – J.P. announces, realistically, Jays won't ever be able to compete in wealthy AL East. Yes, that would be known as ingesting the cyanide pill.
21. Oakland A's (75-83; Previous: 20) – This would be the part in the Moneyball movie where the A's show serious promise, get girl, drive off into sunset.
22. Cincinnati Reds (76-82; Previous: 23) – Reds have big September, pretty sure they're going to get some kind of pennant for this.
23. Houston Astros (73-85; Previous: 21) – In a very strange season, perhaps it's only fitting that Bazardo wins out in end.
24. Arizona Diamondbacks (68-90; Previous: 25) – Webb prefers the Dbacks pick up his option. Dbacks prefer their pitchers with working shoulders.
25. Kansas City Royals (65-94; Previous: 24) – Jim Rice underwhelmed by Greinke, also shakes fist at loud kids down block, keeps all stray balls that land in his yard.
26. New York Mets (67-92; Previous: 27) – Valentine not saying he's waiting for Mets to call, but new toll-free number is 888-GET-BOBBY.
27. Baltimore Orioles (60-98; Previous: 26) – Baltimore Sun asks, “Would you bring back Trembley?” Overwhelming response: “Who's Trembley?”
28. Cleveland Indians (65-93; Previous: 28) – Wedge fired, will manage final four games, admits at this point he probably needs to win all of them.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (61-97; Previous: 29) – The more he thinks about it, the more John Russell feels Larsen didn't get the love he deserved after Game 5 of the 1956 World Series, thinks Stengel should have removed him before pitching to Dale Mitchell.
30. Washington Nationals (55-103; Previous: 30) – Now that the Lions have won, Nats figure their turn coming.