The second half beckons, or, as it's known in Boston, almost football season.
The rankings (records through Sunday's games):
1. New York Yankees (52-33; Previous: 2) – Vicente Padilla says Mark Teixeira once threatened him with a bat. That is not, however, the kind of peril that registers with a man who once shot himself.
2. Texas Rangers (52-34; Previous: 1) – When Yu Darvish is held out of All-Star game, viewers in Japan grant cuddly Jose Altuve temporary, late-inning citizenship.
3. Los Angeles Angels (48-38; Previous: 3) – Home Run Derby sees Mark Trumbo spend more time in fountain than cast of "Friends."
4. Washington Nationals (49-34; Previous: 4) – Mets petition league to count Stephen Strasburg's All-Star appearance against his innings ceiling.
5. Chicago White Sox (47-38; Previous: 12) – Chris Sale so skinny he has to jump around in the shower to get wet, which is one of the reasons Ozzie left.
6. Pittsburgh Pirates (48-37; Previous: 13) – Pirates expected to make big move come deadline. Thinking Altoona.
7. Cincinnati Reds (47-38; Previous: 8) – Reds All-Stars return from Kansas City reporting Tony La Russa not all that bad of a guy, you know, if you can overlook the fangs.
8. Atlanta Braves (46-39; Previous: 11) – Chipper's "man-crush" on Bryce Harper gets awkward when the two start passing notes during batting practice.
9. Los Angeles Dodgers (47-40; Previous: 6) – Several contenders seek utility infielders and extra outfielders at deadline, discouraged to find they're all starting for Dodgers.
10. San Francisco Giants (46-40; Previous: 5) – In brief postgame ceremony, All-Star MVP Melky Cabrera donates game spikes to Cooperstown highway construction project.
11. Tampa Bay Rays (45-41; Previous: 10) – Commissioner says more people should go to The Trop, though he hears it's not that nice of a place.
12. Baltimore Orioles (45-40; Previous: 7) – O's still haven't scored a run since Friday.
13. New York Mets (46-40; Previous: 15) – All-Star starting snub shows that on the road a good manager will always play for the tie, not the Dickey.
14. St. Louis Cardinals (46-40; Previous: 14) – Tony La Russa puts on uniform for last time, can't help but wonder again why nobody ever put front pockets on these things.
15. Detroit Tigers (44-42; Previous: 20) – Sightings of Justin Verlander and Kate Upton spawn the nickname "Uplander" for alleged couple, because "Justkate" made it sound like she was alone. Which was not the point at all.
16. Cleveland Indians (44-41; Previous: 18) – Indians place Nick Hagadone on disqualified list because there's no such thing as an I-can't-believe-that-dumb-thing-you-just-did list.
17. Oakland Athletics (43-43; Previous: 19) – Sacramento makes play for A's, who stall in hopes of hearing something from Yuba City.
18. Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43; Previous: 16) – Weird thing: Kevin Towers says he'll consider offers for Upton and now can't get Verlander off the phone.
19. Toronto Blue Jays (43-43; Previous: 17) – Ohio woman discovers hundreds of baseball cards in attic from the 1910's, including mint conditions of Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner and Jamie Moyer.
20. Boston Red Sox (43-43; Previous: 9) – MLB hates Bobby V's new movie, "Ballplayer: Pelotero," but only because the stuffed teddy bear didn't seem very lifelike and was clearly way older than 17.
21. Miami Marlins (41-44; Previous: 22) – Good thing we have "The Franchise," otherwise we'd never know what Ozzie Guillen really thinks.
22. Milwaukee Brewers (40-45; Previous: 24) – Leslie Visser to participate in Miller Park sausage race. That's all I got.
23. Kansas City Royals (37-47; Previous: 23) – Royals tout Futures Game as opportunity to see stars of tomorrow, generally their marketing scheme for, oh, the last 20 years.
24. Philadelphia Phillies (37-50; Previous: 21) – Phillies likely to be ardent sellers at trading deadline. Will continue to be Peter Sellers leading up to it.
25. Minnesota Twins (36-49; Previous: 27) – Twins positioning themselves for 2014 All-Star game, try to think of ways to kill time until then.
26. Seattle Mariners (36-51; Previous: 25) – GM Jack Zduriencik will not trade Felix Hernandez at deadline, as a 70-win season is still within reach.
27. San Diego Padres (34-53; Previous: 29) – O'Malley ownership brings hope to franchise, though fans can't help but wonder if they're getting the L.A.-to-San Diego version of Garvey, Piazza or Scioscia.
28. Chicago Cubs (33-52; Previous: 30) – Folks in Chicago can't get enough of Rizzo. Prefer the thick crust.
29. Colorado Rockies (33-52; Previous: 28) – Rockies call this the "Year of the Fan." Fans counter, "Don't put this on us."
30. Houston Astros (33-53; Previous: 26) – Astros' first half quite a rollercoaster. Jose Altuve really, really hoping he'll be allowed to ride next year.
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