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Sorry about the delay, the All-Star break gets me all out of whack. No (real) baseball for a week, a steroid-free homerun derby, and worst of all, having to watch other players align forces with my beloved Yankees. I mean, if clapping for a 9th inning base hit from Ortiz doesn’t throw you into a tailspin, I don’t know what’s up.

Of course, there was also the more pressing issues at hand of 2 Yankee hardships within days of each other: The Voice of God, Bob Sheppard…and the Boss, George Steinbrenner. Talk about sending the universe into upheaval. I think Yankee fans will still be coming to terms with what happened this week, for quite some time to come.

But alas, we push on. And so the rankings. I think this may be the first All Star break EVER that I’m actually thankful for. The weeks leading up to this one have been laden with west coast debacles, and another 10pm start would have put me into that thing I learned about in Nightmare on Elm Street.

Here we go…

14. M’s (12)
This week it wasn’t even close. Even if they were on a 15 game winning streak, I’ll still brusquely throw them in the cellar, on account of dealing Cliff Lee for basically a ham sandwich. There’s still half a season left to play, and they’re already throwing in the proverbial towel and handing off their best card to a contender in their division…for basically a 3 month rental. Shameful, Seattle. Really. Also, you’re 2-8 in the last 10.

13. Tribe (7)

They’re doing their best “Major League” impressions, and that’s about the only thing they’re succeeding at right now. Also, don’t expect them to play out the movie plot in its entirety. I’m not foreseeing a dramatic turnaround any time soon.

12. Halos (8)
You guys stink! What the hell is wrong with you? The Angels just finished a 1-6 roadtrip, and they weren’t much better at home prior to that. They’ve only won 2 games in the past 2 weeks (that’s 1 win per week, by my count!) and it’s the first time since 2006 they didn’t head into the All Star breaking with a commanding division lead.

Also, I love Torii Hunter, but cmon. You had a big chance to de-embarrass yourselves, being the only player from the host team, and struck out in a HUGE spot. Dare to be great moment, buddy.

11. O’s (13)
Holy crap, how’d they end up here? I mean, yeah they’re still a paltry 26 games back in the AL East, but the scrappy little birds just swept the Rangers in 4 games, and are riding that win streak on the coattails of Nick Markakis, who’s batting .357 in the last 6 games.

10. Royals (6)

Well, I guess on the plus side, they’ve graduated from “man, they’re bad” and are laying the groundwork for what I’m sure will ultimately be a crucial role as SPOILER. I’ve never seen a team master this position as well as Kansas City.

9. Rangers (9)
Good job stealing Cliff Lee right from under our noses. Didn’t see that one coming. And I gotta say, your team continues to impress me, it’s pretty f’n stacked. But then again…you just got swept by the O’s. I can’t understand losing 1 game to them, or splitting the series…but SWEPT? IN A 4 GAME SERIES? You’re like the team that gets too cocky in feel-good sports movies, and lets the scrubs stage a huge upset.

8. Twinkies (10)
Struggling big time. Limping around like a middle school infirmary ward. I love Minnesota, but I can’t defend them for much longer if they’re just going to ride this whole “Woe is me, nothing to do but watch our season crumble like a stale oatmeal cookie.” It’s time to make some changes, boys. You’ve lost 5 of the past 6 series.

7. A’s (5)

You know what’s sad? They’re 5-5 this month…and that’s the best any of the teams in their division have done. You know what’s also sad? Ryan Sweeney, who I think I picked like in the 17th round or something of my first draft, is the team’s offensive leader…with a .294.

Sadder? Remember back in the day when the A’s were awesome? And I’m not referring to the BASH BROTHERS days…I mean, like, back in April and May. (That was my favorite baseball card ever, with this one a close second).

6. J’s (14)
You guys really don’t deserve to be this high up. (I love how I always say shit like that, as if I have no control over where I rank these teams, and my typing is being guided by some higher power.) Also, why are Jeter and Swish getting tested for steroids, when Jose Bautista is CLEARLY on something? 24 MLB-leading HRs? The most he’s had in any season? YOU’RE SUSPECT.

5. BoSox (3)
All this team ever does is get injured and annoy the shit out of me. Two of the least marketable qualities in the game. Boston fans are all hopped up because oooooh Josh Beckett looked good in a Triple A start! CAN I REMIND EVERYONE HE’S LIKE A FETUS AND YET GETS INJURED AS IF HE’S A 67-YEAR OLD MAN WITH PORCELAIN FINGERS? Please.

And to say nothing of the fact Jacoby Ellsbury may as well be a Modern Day version of Godot. Oh yeah, and they got swept by Tampa. Which Boston fans somehow manage to make into an Anti-Yankee angle. (“TB is our REAL rival.”) Say what you will about Boston fans..actually, I’m not gonna finish that. Just say what you will about them. That’s all.

4. Tiggers (11)
You know this team is going to arbitrarily make it to the ALCS somehow. Seriously. They just remind me so, so much of the 2006 Tiggers. They just finished a sweep of the O’s, and took 2 of 3 from the Twins, and continue to plug along, but I feel like their success is never solid. It’s always seems like they’re not exactly winning, but just more like “not losing.”

3. [Devil] Rays (2)
You know who I adore? CARL CRAWFORD. It took a lot of work and sometimes drastic measures, but I finally landed him on my fantasy team, after my own flesh and blood sneakily stole him from his rightful home. He’s on a tear right, and so are the Rays. But here’s the thing. It sort of reminds me of when I bet on this Rays-Sox playoff game a few years ago.

I NEVER bet on baseball, but I decided it was the only way I could stomach watching a post-season without the Yanks. And so I bet on the prop with the highest money line, which happened to be the Rays winning by 5. In the 7th inning, the Rays were up 7-0, and if I won, I stood to win around 2Gs (on like a $40 bet). So I started rooting for the Sox to score a couple.

Then they did. And didn’t stop. And won 8-7. Similarly, I was rooting for the Rays to start winning so the Sox wouldn’t be breathing down our necks in the standings. And they did. And now we play them this weekend, and I’m hoping that I won’t regret assigning any kind of advocacy to TB’s success.

2. ChiSox (4)
Damn, Chicago. I’m astounded. Really. I mean, you guys were an unmitigated MESS for the first 2 months. Like the kind of mess where I wouldn’t find fault with fans giving up. THAT BAD. And now? What the hell? It’s amazing.

I don’t know how you’re getting it done, even. My sister’s best friend and perennial fantasy champion would term this club “the 2007 All Star Team.” Quentin, Rios, Peavy, Konerko, and Danks have been almost as good as you could ask for. The first guy on that list? About 1000 multi-homer games in the last week.

1. World Series Champions (1)
A rough week to say the least for my boys. But Tex has decided to stop hitting the snooze bar on his “Season Wake-Up” alarm. He’s got 4 dings and 12 ribbies in 11 games, and Cano is Cano. We lost out on Cliff Lee, and man is our pitching HURTING now.


We have the 2nd best in the league, next to Tampa, with opponents going only .241 against our rotation that looks like it’s only getting better. 3 of ‘em have at least 11 wins, Javy is sharp as hell, and AJ is calming down.

When you think about the fact this is a 2nd half of the season type of club, it’s terrifying to think of the damage they can potentially inflict on your teams. Well, not terrifying to me, but you know what I mean.


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