In a somewhat shocking development, Phillies fans believed I was slightly misguided when ranking their gutty little defending champions somewhere other than first in the inaugural power rankings.
I get that. I don't agree (yet), but I get that. I do wish to thank them for their characteristically tempered and polite repartee. The good news: My rankings are not part of the computerized formula that identifies the two World Series participants.
What I also really enjoyed:
The guy in Carlsbad who argued the biggest mistake I made was having the Pirates ranked ahead of the Padres.
Dude, I'm going to do my best, but anything after 26 might possibly be inconsequential. That said, you have no idea what a nice break your missive was from the Philly mail.
There was the esteemed gentleman from a Chicago suburb who asked if I'd pulled the rankings out of a Fruit Loops box. That was funny.
And to the confused fellow in Houston, an aside. Eviscerate: From the Latin, evisceratus: To take out the entrails of: Disembowel. I know, a little rough over your Fruit Loops. My fault.
OK, on to Week 2:
1. Tampa Bay Rays (2-1; Previous: 1) – Pena whiffs four times on opening day, the first one, sadly, when Sen. Ted Kennedy slips a ceremonial first-pitch changeup past him.
2. Boston Red Sox (1-2; Previous: 2) – More opening-day thrills: Papelbon fastball at 96, Varitek matches ALCS hit total, Manny 3,000 miles away.
3. Chicago Cubs (2-1; Previous: 5) – Carlos Zambrano explains ballpark comments: Wrigley would be fine with a couple of new couches and some flowers, you know, for curb appeal. The flowers, not the couches. That would be trashy.
4. Philadelphia Phillies (1-2; Previous: 4) – It's a wonderful thing what Cole Hamels and his wife are doing, once hoping to adopt a child from Malawi and now from Ethiopia, yet here's a sentence Hamels might never have expected to utter: “We were in the same situation as Madonna.”
5. New York Yankees (1-2; Previous: 3) – Back-page headline writers on red alert after CC debacle, reach for old David Wells fat-guy stand-bys. On the bright side, Joba, in DUI video, provides year-long marketing jingle: “Obviously, I play for the Yankees.”
6. Los Angeles Angels (1-2; Previous: 6) – Angels were in harder on Jake Peavy than anyone let on and should make another run at him this summer. Kevin Towers might carry Peavy to Anaheim if the alternative is trading him to the Dodgers.
7. New York Mets (2-1; Previous: 7) – Mets players fascinated by this newfangled stat the eggheads at MLB have come up with called “the save.” One pitcher actually passed out during explanation of “the hold.”
9. Minnesota Twins (2-2; Previous: 10) – Twins running out of catchers, but Gardenhire formulates plan for Redmond (groin): “We'll just carry him out there and put him [behind the plate] and have to carry him back.” In Minnesota, practice called “Hrbek-ing.”
10. Oakland A's (2-1; Previous: 11) – Even team mascot can't remember club having such a young pitching staff.
12. St. Louis Cardinals (2-2; Previous: 13) – Glaus to miss half the season at least, Cards wonder if it's too late to teach Schumaker third base, too.
13. Atlanta Braves (2-1; Previous: 14) – All eyes on Chipper's thumb. Chipper's thumb more concerned with bullpen.
15. Florida Marlins (3-0; Previous: 18) – Fish rout Nats, can't wait for big-league schedule to start.
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (1-2; Previous: 15) – Webb checks with Geico; good news is, auto, home, life insurance still not a problem.
17. Toronto Blue Jays (3-1; Previous: 17) – Beer stands closed at Rogers Centre on Tuesday night. So, no beer. In Canada. For a ballgame. Attendance: Lite.
23. Detroit Tigers (1-3; Previous: 22) – Tigers announce they'll sell fish on Good Friday, promise not to flop around too much on field.
24. San Francisco Giants (2-1; Previous: 24) – Hoping to acquire some offense, Giants shop Tim Lincecum video-game double, who has Lincecum's stuff but lacks his depth.
25. Colorado Rockies (2-1; Previous: 25) – Life looks a little better in Denver when Tulo and Helton are hitting; better still when it's not in Denver.
26. Baltimore Orioles (2-1; Previous: 27) – O's win first two against Yankees, crushed to discover there are 160 left. Let it get to them in Game 3.
29. San Diego Padres (2-2; Previous: 30) – Padres go to camouflage uniforms, distressed when people can still see them.