Beyond Golf — 15 September 2013 by Jim Street
GW’s MLB Power Rankings (week 25)

1. Dodgers (1): The historical 16-run loss to the rival Giants Saturday night notwithstanding, replacing their Northern California neighbors as the NL West champions will bring great joy to Magic Johnson and his deep-pocketed fellow owners of the franchise.

2. Athletics (2): The defending AL West champs had to wait until the final weekend of last season to clinch the division title, but it’s highly likely that the bubbly will flow several days before the team visits Seattle to end the regular season.

3. Rangers (3): With an offense that ranks among the most potent in the game, it’s hard to fathom how right-hander Yu Darvish could lose four 1-0 games this season. That’s a lot of zeroes on the scoreboard when he’s pitching.

4. Diamondbacks (4): If the D-Backs have anything to say about it, a division-title-clinching party by the Dodgers will not occur during a three-game series between the teams that begins Monday night in Phoenix.

5. Angels (5): It will be interesting to see whom owner Arte Moreno selects for the Angels’ “Scapegoat of the Year”, manager Mike Scioscia or general manager Jerry Dipoto. Some even believe that both club executives will get pink slips.

6. Giants (7): It’s nothing compared to the record consecutive-games played that Hall of Famer Cal Ripken accumulated during his fabulous career, but SF right fielder Hunter Pence is on the verge of becoming the first Giant at any position to play an entire season without missing a game.Todd Helton spring training[1]

7. Rockies (6): Here’s a tip of the GW cap to Todd Helton, who officially announced that he will retire at the end of this season – his 17th with the Rockies. Although his offensive numbers are a bit skewed by the high altitude of Denver, he has the credentials to get serious Hall of Fame consideration.

8. Padres (9): ): Outfielder Mark Kotsay, who spent tours of duty with seven MLB organizations, including two with the Padres, has decided to ride off into the sunset at the end of the regular
season. He is among a group of players who wore two colors of Sox – Red Sox and White Sox.

9. Mariners (8): ): It’s just a hunch, but another losing season could lead to yet another front-office housecleaning, starting with GM Jack Zduriencik and extending to skipper Eric Wedge and most – if not all – of his coaching staff. Being swept by the lowly Astros last week at Safeco Field might have been the final straw.

10. Astros (10): Much to the surprise of many, including GW, the Astros had a winning week and managed to stave off another 100-loss season. Problem is, the team must go 12-1 the rest of the way to avoid triple-digit losses.

(Last week’s ranking  in parenthesis)

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Jim Street

Jim’s 40-year sportswriting career started with the San Jose Mercury-News in 1970 and ended on a full-time basis on October 31, 2010 following a 10-year stint with MLB.com. He grew up in Dorris, Calif., several long drives from the nearest golf course. His first tee shot was a week before being inducted into the Army in 1968. Upon his return from Vietnam, where he was a war correspondent for the 9th Infantry Division, Jim took up golf semi-seriously while working for the Mercury-News and covered numerous tournaments, including the U.S. Open in 1982, when Tom Watson made the shot of his life on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach. Jim also covered several Bing Crosby Pro-Am tournaments, the women’s U.S. Open, and other golfing events in the San Francisco area. He has a 17-handicap, never had a hole-in-one, although once he came within two inches of an ace, and witnessed the first round Ken Griffey Jr. ever played – at Arizona State during Spring Training in 1990. Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Kapalua Plantation Course, Pinehurst No. 2, Spyglass Hill, Winged Foot, Torrey Pines, Medinah, Chambers Bay, North Berwick in Scotland, and Princeville are among the courses he has had the pleasure of playing. Hitting the ball down the middle of the fairway is not a strong part of Jim’s game, but he is known (in his own mind) as the best putter not on tour. Most of Jim’s writing career was spent covering Major League baseball, a tenure that started with the Oakland Athletics, who won 101 games in 1971, and ended with the Seattle Mariners, who lost 101 games in 2010. Symmetry is a wonderful thing. He currently lives in Seattle and vacations in Arizona (and other warm climates) as much as possible.

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