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Ah, back in the fray. After a long weekend, it’s back to the old grind, and while on 9 out of 10 days during the summer, you’re thinking, “UGH, why am I stuck in the office in a day like this?” it actually may behoove the rat race participants to indeed remain chained to their desks today. In NYC, anyway, where it’s a cool 101 degrees out.

And it’s not just today that the weather is THE mitigating factor, since last week saw a number of day games that demonstrated “I was looking at the lights” is actually a valid excuse when errors are made. I hate day games, but as it turns out, they’re actually helpful in propelling certain teams to victorious outcomes.

(How long did it take before A-Rod finally stepped his HR count from 499 to 500? It ultimately ended on a day game, and my guess is that the lack of flash bulbs popping finally removed the distraction element.)

Anyways, interleague play ended, but the results linger. This is definitely the most skewed rankings list to date. Take none of this seriously, since it is an egregious example of cherry picking data. This is ridiculous, and yet still not as much so as the fact that ARHTUR RHODES IS ON THE ALL STAR TEAM.

On to the rankings…

14. J’s (11)
I’m not sure they actually belong this far down, since they did give the boys in pinstripes a run for their money this weekend, but other than the win on Friday, they’ve been skidding so much they look like a bunch of teenyboppers at an ice skating birthday party.

13. O’s (12)
The worst part about the O’s? They’re not even interestingly bad. Like, take the Phillies storied franchise of sucking. That was interesting. This is pathetic. Baltimore hasn’t won a road series since last September. Cue my parents’ wedding song…

12. M’s (7)
I’m sensing some kind of pattern here. The most troubled teams are finding a reprieve against the most awesome one. Before the Yanks could break the J’s downward spiral, the M’s were embarrassing my boys by scoring about 80 runs off them and shutting them down with back to back CG’s from Lee and Felix. Grumble grumble.

11. Tiggers (8)
They’re DEFINITELY not as bad as an #11 spot would suggest, but as I’ve said a million times before, I gotta go by what happened last week. And the boys from Detroit are only 5-5 in their last 10. Also, people keep waiting for their pitching to explode into prodigal status. Maybe it’s IMPROVING, but it’s still subpar.

10. Twinkies (6)
Again, this team is not so bad. But they’re in trouble, they have such a depleted infield, and even though there’s a million injuries every year, 2010 really does seem to be, in the words of Suzyn Waldman, “The Year of The Thumb.” Which I guess means injuries.

9. Rangers (2)
They’re starting to annoy me. Everyone’s always complaining about the declining quality of the overall baseball landscape and here you have a team with outstanding pitching (3rd) and batting (3rd), and yet they make me think of that line in Clueless: “The loadies generally hang on the grassy knoll over there. Sometimes they come to class and say bonehead things, and we all laugh of course, but no respectable girl actually dates them. You don’t wanna start off on the wrong foot, do you?”

8. Halos (4)
Torii Hunter is the only Angel on the All-Star roster. This wouldn’t be SO embarrassing if not for the fact the game is played in Anaheim. Ouch. Their pitching has markedly improved, however, with Piniero winning his last 6 starts with a 2.08 ERA. The bats… eh.

7. Tribe (14)
I hate myself for putting this joke of a team so high up but in fairness, they’re 7-3 in the last 10, and the bullpen has been unreal. No one’s bullpen is ever good these days. The long, reliable reliever is on the verge of becoming what the left tackle position did for football. In the last 21 IP, they’ve only allowed 2 runs. Sweet Christ. I think in the last 21 seconds pitched, the Yanks’ bullpen has allowed 78 times that much.

6. Royals (13)
Again with the overrated terrible team moving up on account of a decent week. They’re 7-3 in the last 10, but still remain 8 games back. The only good news is that people have finally laid off Zack Greinke. He has 4 wins in 17 starts, but 2 of those has been in the last 2 games. So…HELLOOOO STREAK!

5. A’s (10)
Oh my God, are they really this high? This is ridiculous. What can I say? They actually haven’t been doing too badly for some reason. Every day they seem to have a new Godfather worked into the rotation who comes out with weirdly good stats. First it was Gio. Now it’s Vin, who’s only given up 2 runs in his last 2 starts. Next week it’s gonna be Marlon Brando.

4. Southsiders (1)
Has the bloom fallen from the rose? Was there ever really a rose? But listen, this team was all but abandoned in the first weeks of the season. They were exploding like someone dumped a vat of gasoline on a tub of fireworks and then threw in a zippo. I mean, just really disintegrating beyond the telling of it. And now? They’re 1 game out in the division standings, and don’t look now, but they’re actually showing subtle signs of improvement. Really.

3. BoSox (3)
This week’s winner in “Who Can Shove The Most Key Players Into a DL Room in the Shortest Period of Time.” Congrats. Kevin Cash fills in for V-Mart, and someone named Eric Patterson is anchoring the infield. Some kid they bought for a $1 and a ham sandwich is bolstering their lineup, and thanks to the DL-itude of Bucholz, our boy Andy gets to make his All Star Game debut. So while I don’t condone injuries (and yes I feel noble about saying that in regards to the Sox and no I can’t in good conscience claim this in regards to the Brady/Pollard incident), I’m happy for Pettitte. So…thanks, Boston!

2. [Devil] Rays (9)
BIG series win for them over the Sox. HUGE.

Man, can I make any more nonsports related references? I’d blame the heat, but it’s much more justifiable to blame the lights. (Yeah, that is NEVER going to get old for me.) After a few weeks of slumping and handing over the division to the Yanks, the Rays finally get a fire lit under their ass and surpass the Sox in AL East standings. A half game ahead of them, 2 behind the Yanks…and a whopping 6 place jump up from last week.

David Price isn’t getting any worse. Um, I can’t say the same about Carlos Pena. (.200 BA? Time for a heart to heart with Kouzmanoff, Aramis, and Wil Nieves… (the last being my all time favorite hitless wonder.)

1. Yankees (5)
Yeah, why not? They weren’t exactly lighting it up BIG time this past week, but their win yesterday put them at a season best of 20 games over 500. Their .617 record is the best in all of baseball. Their hitting hasn’t even hit its full potential and it’s STILL among the best in the league. Tex is swiftly acting like himself.

GGBG is acting like freaking Pete Rose, minus the scumbug behavior, and Cano continues to blow everyone out of the water. The only downside? Bullpen. Shocking. Like Sterling said in yesterday’s broadcast, “I’d say the Yankees should go try to pick up some bullpen help, but…c’mon, who DOESN’T need bullpen help?”

We’ll figure out something. And don’t forget, our relievers were igniting the same ire last year, and then the 2nd half of the season turned them into the best in the league. “Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.”

Some uplifting words to help us all make it to the end of Unassailably Deflating First Day Back At Office After The Holiday.

Here’s some more smile-inducing copy, for good measure, (Geoff Blum on the Reality of Putting On A Shirt And Landing on the DL):

"There are probably 90 percent of us in the big leagues that have loose bodies floating around," Blum said. "It just so happens that after the game, it tightened up on me. The shirt had nothing to do with the [darn] injury."

Loose bodies? Well, ok. That clears everything up. Nope.


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