With two months remaining in the regular season, the race for power supremacy appears to have narrowed to four entities: Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees and some mysterious lady pit boss named Molly.
Me? My money's on Molly.
The rankings (records are through Wednesday's games):
1. Philadelphia Phillies (71-39; Previous: 1) – Stuff Ed Wade has forwarded to Phillies: Lidge, Oswalt, Pence, ring size.
2. Boston Red Sox (68-41; Previous: 2) – Theo nearly gets Harden at deadline, takes it as bad omen when X-ray technician retches.
3. New York Yankees (67-42; Previous: 3) – Jeter documentary goes behind the scenes with Yankee captain, discovers bound, gagged and somewhat malnourished Luis Sojo in laundry bin.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (62-50; Previous: 8) – Brewers fans tell La Russa they hope he gets shingles. Apparently the aluminum siding just isn't doing it for them.
5. Atlanta Braves (64-48; Previous: 4) – Braves beat Pirates on alleged "ole tag," which in the umpires manual can be found somewhere between the "three-ball walk" and "long-distance rabbit-eared ejection."
6. San Francisco Giants (62-49; Previous: 5) – Zito goes to DL with reccurring ligament strain. There's no real explanation but thinks that with last start in Cincy, may have shot himself in foot.
7. Texas Rangers (61-50; Previous: 6) – Elias confirms Hamilton has second-worst daytime average, just ahead of Susan Lucci.
8. Los Angeles Angels (60-51; Previous: 9) – Aybar says, given another chance, he'd bunt again. Weaver says he'd throw pitch at Avila again. Guillen, however, reconsiders, says he'd maybe throw in a brief interpretive dance.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (61-50; Previous: 13) – D'backs say road to playoffs goes through San Francisco, really hoping bus can get down Lombard Street.
10. Detroit Tigers (59-51; Previous: 12) – Guillen pimps HR off Weaver so hard he arrives at home plate wearing a big fuzzy hat and driving a 1989 Cadillac Fleetwood.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (57-52; Previous: 7) – Friedman finds it critical at trade deadline to stay light on his feet, in final hours heroically jettisons 5 oz. appendix.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (58-53; Previous: 14) – After bean balls in Milwaukee, La Russa horse so high it had to be saddled by helicopter.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (56-54; Previous: 17) – Jays announce their games can now be seen on cell phones. Peripheral consequence: Their team ERA looks much smaller on that tiny screen.
14. Florida Marlins (55-55; Previous: 20) – LoMo has no issue with praying mantis – what totally creeped him out was attacking mantis.
15. New York Mets (55-55; Previous: 18) – Mets saving up in order to keep Reyes, plan offseason bake sales, car washes and 50-50 raffles to cover shortfall.
16. Cleveland Indians (54-54; Previous: 11) – Really, wasn't it just a matter of time before Ubaldo joined Asdrubal?
17. Pittsburgh Pirates (54-55; Previous: 10) – In best season in years, Bucs are buyers at deadline. And, yes, before they became sellers again, it was a magical 40 minutes.
19. Chicago White Sox (52-57; Previous: 16) – Sox adjust theme, settle for "Anybody in? Hello? Anybody?"
20. Washington Nationals (53-57; Previous: 19) – Mayan calendar does not show another start, but does say world will end in sometime in late September.
21. Minnesota Twins (51-59; Previous: 21) – GM Smith says he would not make "panic" trade at deadline. Also passes on Span-ic trade.
22. Colorado Rockies (51-60; Previous: 22) – Rockies so poor, management bans music in clubhouse. Players sneak off for dance in old barn outside of town.
23. Los Angeles Dodgers (50-60; Previous: 25) – Looming economic collapse, incensed citizens, widespread hopelessness and declining approval ratings grip nation. Or, as it's known in L.A., taking in a ballgame.
24. Oakland A's (49-62; Previous: 24) – Pennington's Bell's Palsy symptoms show in sleeplessness, facial numbness and irrational tendency to slide feet first into pitcher's mound.
25. Seattle Mariners (48-62; Previous: 23) – M's trade Bedard. Amazing how much larger the trainer's room feels.
26. Kansas City Royals (47-63; Previous: 28) – It's August, which means there are exactly two things to talk about in K.C.: if now is the time for the next big prospect (second baseman Johnny Giavotella, in this case) and how long it will take him to keel over from heat prostration.
27. San Diego Padres (48-64; Previous: 26) – Padres shut out for 16th time, seriously consider whether a roster with Blanks, LeBlanc and O-Dawg is too much karma to overcome.
28. Chicago Cubs (46-65; Previous: 29) – Cubs do little at deadline, revealing organizational strategy for coming years: Hold off the Astros.
30. Houston Astros (37-74; Previous: 30) – Braves put together insider video on acquisition of new center fielder. Working title: "Bourn Free."