Like the American League wild card, the final power rankings take six months to unfold, three minutes to make your stomach turn.
1. Philadelphia Phillies (102-60; Previous: 1) – Phillies lose eight in a row. Braves think they were just showing off.
2. New York Yankees (97-65; Previous: 2) – Yankees consider Red Sox September, ponder appropriate feelings for such a thing, settle on "schadenfreude."
4. Detroit Tigers (95-67; Previous: 3) – Cabrera batting title gives him career Triple Crown, in separate seasons having led the league in batting, home runs and RBIs. Also once led league in buffalo wings.
5. Milwaukee Brewers (96-66; Previous: 7) – Brewers relieved to win division, as final wild-card tiebreaker was "most masculine mascot."
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68; Previous: 5) – Gibson derides Champagne goggles during postgame celebration, believes players should take their ocular brushfires like men.
7. Tampa Bay Rays (91-71; Previous: 8) – Finally, a whole different meaning for "the Longoria, Johnson shots."
8. St. Louis Cardinals (90-72; Previous: 11) – La Russa gets lucky necklace from musician Carlos Santana(notes). Was all going fine, too, until La Russa air-guitared "God Bless America" during seventh inning of final game at Busch, frightening the season-ticket holders.
9. Boston Red Sox (90-72; Previous: 4) – Red Sox stumbled so bad down the stretch Henry now considering erecting a tent and putting them all down.
11. Los Angeles Angels (86-76; Previous: 10) – In final hours before elimination, Hunter has Angels at "95 percent dead, but 5 percent alive." Sorta like sushi.
12. San Francisco Giants (86-76; Previous: 12) – You see, this is how torture usually ends.
13. Toronto Blue Jays (81-81; Previous: 13) – Bautista asks what the exchange rates are between U.S. and Canadian MVP votes.
14. Los Angeles Dodgers (82-79; Previous: 14) – Dodgers won't be in playoffs, but McCourt promises plenty of October hardball.
15. Cleveland Indians (80-82; Previous: 16) – News comes that Sizemore is to have knee examined. Or, as it's known in Cleveland, Monday.
16. Washington Nationals (80-81; Previous: 21) – Once established in the big leagues, Peacock hopes to find himself a nice peahen and have lots of little peachicks.
17. Chicago White Sox (79-83; Previous: 15) – Ozzie's last and best rant: God, country and 62-foot boats. Not necessarily in that order. Obviously.
18. Cincinnati Reds (79-83; Previous: 17) – Reds in a quandary: Chapman as starter, reliever or belly itcher.
19. New York Mets (77-85; Previous: 20) – Reyes leaves game after bunt hit to protect batting lead, becoming baseball's first leader in the clubhouse. Ted Williams' reaction termed "icy."
20. Oakland Athletics (74-88; Previous: 23) – "Moneyball II: DePo's Revenge."
21. Pittsburgh Pirates (72-90; Previous: 19) – MLB.com headline: "Pirates Battle to Overcome Miller Park Hex." Yahoo! subhead: "Then, Will Get Started on Other 29 Hexes."
22. Florida Marlins (72-90; Previous: 22) – McKeon retires. Coaching staff looking forward to watching movies in color again.
23. Colorado Rockies (73-89; Previous: 18) – Club announces it will bring back entire coaching staff … as grounds crew.
24. Kansas City Royals (71-91; Previous: 25) – Starling, two other prospects, cited for underage drinking in Arizona. Royals believe Starling may have taken it too literally when they advised him, "Act like a big leaguer."
25. Chicago Cubs (71-91; Previous: 24) – Good news for Cubs fans, it's "next year" again.
26. Baltimore Orioles (69-93; Previous: 27) – Matusz tries to look at it a different way – 10.69 might not be much of an ERA, but it's not bad as a 100-meter dash time.
27. San Diego Padres (71-91; Previous: 26) – Given how season went, Padres players ask if they can wear their camouflage unis through offseason.
28. Seattle Mariners (67-95; Previous: 28) – News: Ownership group prefers to remain low key and, when possible, anonymous. Reaction: Uh, yeah.
29. Minnesota Twins (63-99; Previous: 29) – Gardenhire cuts out middle man, has team doctor fill out final three lineup cards.
30. Houston Astros (56-106; Previous: 30) – First overall draft pick brings stark decisions for Astros: pitcher or position player? High school or college? And, in seven years, what will be Phillies' greatest area of need?
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