By Steven Urena
I love when MLB releases their weekly Power Rankings. It gets such a charge out of folks. My favorites are usually “What! The Dodgers just lost a bunch of games!” or “This list makes zero sense!” or “Is this a Padres fanboy account?”
The best part about the Power Rankings…they mean nothing! It’s just bragging rights for the week, which is the ultimate prize in sports, right?
#1 San Diego Padres
I had so many good things to say about Slam Diego up until my number one fantasy pick, Hurtnando Tatis Jr., exited the game with an oblique strain. Are you kidding me? I don’t care if it was “more precautionary than anything.” The face of baseball is battling another injury this season, on top of also having COVID-19. When he’s healthy, Hurtnando is the best player in baseball. Injuries lead to more injuries, and this is flat-out bad news for the Padres and Tatis.
#2 Tampa Bay Rays
Even with the loss of Blake Snell, we knew the Rays would be contenders. Fact is, I thought they would be more pretenders. I didn’t think they would win the division or even make it past the Wild Card round. The Rays are hot and just recently dethroned the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. Do the Rays have what it takes to make another run to the Fall Classic? I’ll stick with my gut feeling and say no, but the Rays are set on proving last year’s run was no fluke.
#3 Chicago White Sox
Despite his old school mentality, Tony LaRussa knows baseball. He’s not the only reason for the Sox success as of late. However, it’s not his first rodeo. The Sox have a few crafty veterans and young stars that have propelled them into first place in the AL Central. The thing with momentum, the more you get, the harder it is to stop. The South Side Bombers are rolling.
#4 Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have not been red hot, but they are still playing good baseball. The Rays jumped ahead of them in the standing but, make no mistake, they are still looking to make a run. The Sox are playing with confidence, and the veterans keep leading the charge.
#5 San Francisco Giants
After a sweep at the hands of the Dodgers, the Giants have come roaring back. Dodger fans thought the NL West would be a two-horse race, but the Giants kept pulling out victories. They use the same formula as the Red Sox and White Sox, veterans and youngsters taking turns being heroes.
#6 Los Angeles Dodgers
“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” The Dodgers simply have not been consistent. They blow teams out, then lose close games. Streakiness and motivation do not win playoff series. Consistency does. It’s going to be a frustrating and painful year for the Dodgers and their fans if they don’t get fully healthy and start rolling.
#7 Oakland A’s
What’s not to like about the A’s? Scrappy, low payroll, lovable losers. Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) said it best in Moneyball, “if you don’t win the last game of the year, nobody gives a s***.” It’s hard to have a whole lot of faith in a club that can’t seem to get out of the first round in the playoffs.
#8 St. Louis Cardinals
Unlike the A’s, the Cards have a great winning tradition and some flashy rings to prove it. Yes, 2011 was 10 years ago, but a hot Cardinals team is dangerous. Currently, they are giving the Dodgers just about all they can handle. Don’t let this team get hot at the right time.
#9 Houston Astros
The Astros keep nipping at the heels of the A’s. Just like most of the teams on this list, they seem more pretender than contender. What do the Astros have going for them? No, not elaborate schemes to steal signs, but experience. As long as they get in the dance, they have a chance.
#10 New York Yankees
Ouch! Swept by the Tigers? When a good team sweeps you, it hurts. When a last place team sweeps you, it’s downright wrong. I’ve heard the song and dance before, “we are upset, we can’t take it anymore, now we are fed up.” Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Yanks need less talk and more rock. Stop talking about how upset you are and start winning games.
Let’s have some fun. I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this.
Top 5 Baseball Movies of All Time
- Bull Durham: Hands down, best baseball movie ever. Great baseball dialogue, great scenes, great quotes, baseball tips, as real to baseball as you can get. It’s funny, inspiring, and left us with oh so many one-liners.
- The Sandlot: This movie never gets old. We can all relate to this classic. Some of us are Smalls, some Ham, and very few Benny the Jet. We may have never made it to the show, but the sandlot was for everyone.
- Fields of Dreams: This isn’t just a baseball movie. It’s a movie about life, dedication, motivation, and never giving up. On top of this, the baseball content is phenomenal. You can laugh and shed a tear all in the same movie.
Major League: The movie can be a little farfetched in terms of real baseball, but it’s a classic. Funny, entertaining, great quotes, and great characters. Do not drink Jobu’s rum and never underestimate an underdog.
The Natural: I can see how this is not as “cool” as other baseball movies, but any kid out there wanting to learn about baseball needs to watch this classic. Robert Redford, Wonderboy, The Whammer, and the last home run scene. Roy Hobbs may be the greatest fictional baseball character of all time.
Honorable Mentions: 8 Men Out, Moneyball, 61*, Mr. Baseball, Little Big League, 42, Bad News Bears, A League of Their Own.
Best Baseball Documentary of All Time: The Battered Bastards of Baseball. This is a Netflix original. The documentary tells the story of the independent baseball team, The Portland Mavericks. MUST WATCH. It’s my top five baseball movies rolled into one.
The Urena Express appears every Wednesday at JoeTorosian.com
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