With 3½ weeks to go, looks like we're locked in on Nos. 1 and 30. Still sorting through the rest.
2. St. Louis Cardinals (84-57; Previous: 2) – Cards win 15 consecutive series openers, also considering firm handshakes and eye contact as introductory devices.
3. Los Angeles Angels (83-55; Previous: 4) – Angels commit fewest errors in league; total does not reflect Matthews Jr., Speier signings.
4. Boston Red Sox (81-58; Previous: 5) – Schilling considers run for Senate, in hindsight says old observation that Bonds cheated on wife and taxes actually meant as a compliment.
5. Philadelphia Phillies (79-58; Previous: 3) – Manuel says he's sticking with Lidge, reflexively eyes life jackets, counts life boats, curses stupid iceberg.
6. Texas Rangers (79-60; Previous: 6) – Shortstop gets faux-hawk, Rangers start to wonder why all Elvises are kind of weird.
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (83-58; Previous: 7) – And to think Dodgers had monitored Kershaw's innings, limited his pitch counts, ordered strict between-starts workouts, all to keep him from hitting the wall.
8. Colorado Rockies (80-60; Previous: 8) – Rockies totally own Reds, wonder if that qualifies them for a little extra revenue-sharing money this winter from Yankees.
9. Detroit Tigers (75-63; Previous: 11) – Hang in there, Ernie. We're pulling for you. Seriously.
10. San Francisco Giants (76-64; Previous: 10) – Giants insulted by Prince/Brewers home-run celebration. Consider getting back at Prince next time by not throwing him pitch right down the middle with game on line.
11. Florida Marlins (74-65; Previous: 14) – Uggla believes to-do with Hanley has made team closer. He's right of course. Team much closer to dumping Uggla.
12. Tampa Bay Rays (72-68; Previous: 9) – Rays lose Pena for rest of season, ask if he wouldn't mind taking bullpen with him.
14. Minnesota Twins (70-69; Previous: 15) – Looks like it'll be Mauer vs. Ichiro for A.L. batting title, or maybe they'll just save themselves all the exertion and go with coolest sideburns competition.
15. Chicago Cubs (71-67; Previous: 16) – Game starts with eight consecutive hits, hardened fans just knew it couldn't go on forever.
16. Chicago White Sox (70-71; Previous: 17) – Ozzie falls on sword, continues running in circles for three more hours.
17. Atlanta Braves (71-68; Previous: 13) – Subtle signs that only baseball people recognize determine the course of a ballclub, almost imperceptible shifts that become the difference between winning just enough to get into the playoffs or not. Yeah, the Braves got swept at home by the Reds. They're done.
18. Houston Astros (68-71; Previous: 19) – Valverde confirms birth date somewhere in 1978-79 range, admits memory of whole event kind of hazy.
19. Milwaukee Brewers (66-73; Previous: 18) – Cards show up and start Carpenter, all the Brewers lay down again, this time during game.
20. San Diego Padres (63-78; Previous: 22) – Pads knock off Dodgers twice in L.A., declare season success, will raise Labor Day Weekend banner in April ceremony.
21. Oakland Athletics (62-77; Previous: 21) – Tomko hits Pierzynski, umpires let it slide, figure if they were to eject every guy who hates Pierzynski …
22. Arizona Diamondbacks (62-79; Previous: 20) – Byrnes returns from disabled list, management startled to learn he's making all that money.
23. Cincinnati Reds (63-76; Previous: 23) – It's nearly awards season again, reminding us Volquez's elbow surgery undoubtedly will cost him a handful of Rookie of the Year votes this year.
24. Toronto Blue Jays (62-77; Previous: 24) – Ruiz hit with pitch in face, says it was nothing he hadn't already experienced growing up in New York, recalls first grade teacher had a mean, running four-seamer that got him twice.
25. New York Mets (62-77; Previous: 26) – Mets would have stayed healthier, played better had they known Phillies were going to collapse this September.
26. Cleveland Indians (60-79; Previous: 25) – Former Tribesman Cliff Lee(notes) says club would be better if fans showed up. Fans say their homes have been foreclosed, but would happily show up if Lee kicked them some of his $5.75 million this year, picked them up in his sweet new ride.
27. Baltimore Orioles (56-83; Previous: 27) – Thieves make off with Cal's No. 8, later foiled. Authorities say four men originally attempted to make off with other baseball trophy, but were unable to fit David Wright's(notes) helmet into back of pickup truck.
28. Kansas City Royals (54-85; Previous: 29) – Fans having hard time finding things to do between Greinke starts, now show up for Greinke teeth brushings, Greinke lawn edgings, Greinke back porch sweepings.
29. Pittsburgh Pirates (54-84; Previous: 28) – Russell says Pittsburgh ought to be “proud of the way this team plays.” Confused city asks, “The Pirates are still playing?”
30. Washington Nationals (47-92; Previous: 30) – Stras hanging with Nats and fresh off media misunderstanding, doesn't understand why teammates keep coming around, talking to him, sitting near him, staring, creeping him out.