Beyond Golf — 29 September 2013 by Jim Street
GW’s MLB Power Rankings (week 27)

We have reached the end of the 2013 Major League regular season — except for Monday’s playoff game between the Rangers and Rays for the second AL Wild Card spot — marking the end of the second golferswest.com MLB West power rankings.

And for the ninth consecutive week, the NL West champion Dodgers are ranked No. 1 among the 10 West Division teams. They should celebrate this honor by having, well, a pool party.
The Dodgers actually started the season ranked No. 2, behind the reigning World Series champion Giants, but slumped early and tumbled all the way to No. 9 in the GW poll in Week 8.

If that wasn’t bad enough, manager Don Mattingly was thisclose to being replaced as the skipper.

But a rookie outfielder with a peculiar last name (Puig) arrived like an angel and the Dodgers took off, setting club records for most wins over a short period of time, winning something like 35 games over a 43-game stretch.

Who was the most consistent team in the West you ask? Well, the woebegone Astros, of course.

Astros spent entire season in AL West cellar

Astros spent entire season in AL West cellar

They began the season as the 10th-ranked team and ended the season as the 10th-ranked team. The Astros poked their heads out of the GW power ranking basement three times, rising to No. 9 in Weeks 3-4-5, ahead of the Padres.

And so, here are the final GW MLB Power Rankings for the 2013 season:

1. Dodgers (1): The NL West champs are primed for playing a lot of games in October and star lefty Clayton Kershaw, the NL earned run average leader, is geared to get the playoff run started.

2. Athletics (2): Say what you want about how good the Red Sox and Tigers are in those other AL Divisions, but the GW money (haha) is on the AL West champs advancing to the stinking World Series. Well, the games in Oakland could be “stinky” because of the faulty and embarrassing plumbing situation.

3. Rangers (4): Outfielder Nelson Cruz made a big mistake getting involved with PEDs, but he’s paid the price, accepting a 50-game suspension, and deserves to be a member of the Rangers during the post-season, if they get there. Heck, why not make him eligible for Monday’s pre-playoff playoff game against the Rays to decide who plays the Indians for the AL Wild Card spot?

4. Diamondbacks (3): The organization has quietly requested that MLB commissioner Bud Selig (a part-time resident in the Valley of the Sun) put in writing that from now on only one MLB team can have a playoff-clinching pool party at Chase Field — and that would be the D-Backs.

5. Angels (5): Inquiring minds want to know if Mike Scioscia, who has the longest manager tenure in the big-leagues, will be back next season. If so, will over-rated GM Jerry Dipoto return as well? And where will owner Arte Moreno put the press box next season, in the top row of the center field bleachers so the scribes can barely see home plate? There are so many questions for a franchise that seemed so stable.

6. Padres (6): Kudos to Huston Street, who quietly reached the 30-save plateau for the third time in his career and first since 2009, when he was with the Rockies. He had one blown save the entire season.

7. Giants (7): It just won’t be the same next season when the team pursues its third World Series title in five years without Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito in the starting rotation, but bringing right fielder Hunter Pence back, for a mere $90 million), is a good move.

8. Rockies (8): As former MLB.com colleague Thomas Harding would attest, it just won’t be the same going forward without erstwhile Rockies first baseman Todd Helton on the roster. Here is a tip of the GW cap to the classy hit machine.

9. Mariners (9): Another 90-plus loss season ended with the organization in a state of total dysfunction. For the third time in the past 12 years the manager (Eric Wedge) quit (could be a MLB record), and there might not be any way for the club officials to find a skipper outside of the organization.

10. Astros (10): If Astros fans think another 100-plus losing season is a problem, they should thank their lucky stars that they don’t have to shake their heads nearly as often as do the dwindling Mariners’ fan base. On the other hand, when you get an 0.0 TV rating for one of your road games (as the Astros did last Sunday), well. . .Houston, you have a problem.

(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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