As teams fall by the wayside and can no longer bank on the longest of mathematical odds to win their division, the Stew will be there to document their expiration with The Nail in the Coffin. First in the ground are the Seattle Mariners, who entered the season with over-optimistic designs on the AL West, only to see Erik Bedard save his best Steve Carlton impression for the media, not the mound.
The 2008 Seattle Mariners
Time of death: Aug. 27, after 6-5 loss to Twins
Causes: Relying on overpriced talent collected by since-fired Bill Bavasi, combined 14 wins from 1-2 punch of Bedard and "King" Felix Hernandez, Curse of the Rally Fries, scorn from Pacific Northwest lesbians, allegries from peanut dust
PECOTA projection: 73 wins, Current pace: 61
Moment in the Sun: Richie Sexson defends the rights of depth-perception challenged folks everywhere by charging the mound and throwing his helmet at Texas' Kason Gabbard.
Moment of Despair: Manager John McLaren does his best Lee Elia impression in an attempt to "turn things around" on June 4. It fails to work and McLaren is fired just over two weeks later, eventually getting replaced by Jim Riggleman.
Others remember: "It'd been a while since the last time this organization made me legitimately mad. If anything, until today they'd been taking strides forward, having ditched Bavasi, traded Rhodes, made room for Reed, and hung onto Ibanez. They weren't behaving themselves like the smartest organization in the world, but they didn't act incompetent, either, which was a step up, and enough to earn them the benefit of the doubt when they held onto Washburn through the July deadline. The way I figured, yeah, it would've been nice to unload him, but there wasn't much harm in calling anyone's bluff. If the Mariners just wanted to give him away, they could do it in August. Well August is here. And so is Jarrod Washburn. For good." — Lookout Landing, 8.14.2008.
Survived by: Sexson, Bavasi, McLaren and Mariner Moose
Death watch (w/elimination #s): Washington (4) Pittsburgh (4) Cincinnati (5)