Your Tuesday Morning Power Rankings

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1. Yankees (1): A bit of a blah week, but when the number two team loses five straight, you’re going to keep your number one ranking.

2. Rays (2): It’s way more important that they continue to hold off the Red Sox than it is for them to catch the Yankees. Wild Card teams do pretty darn good, historically speaking, so why burn yourself out? But yeah, I wish this were a legit pre-1994-style pennant race.

3. Rangers (4): Starting today they run through a Yankees-Red Sox-Rays gauntlet. With a big division lead, it’s a nice time for a test.

4. Padres (3): Dropping two of three to the Dbacks is nothing to be proud of, but doing it while the Giants were dropping three of four to the Braves made for nice timing.

5. Braves (8): Last night’s debacle notwithstanding, it’s been a pretty good week for Atlanta. Pushing the Mets that much closer to the brink is always satisfying, and taking care of the Giants was a nice gauge of where they currently stand.

6. Phillies (9): They’re on a stretch where 16 of 19 games are at home, with only a short trip up to New York to interrupt things.

7. White Sox (6): Detroit proved to be no competition while the
Orioles smacked them upside the head. This says more about the state of
the Orioles and the Tigers than it does the White Sox, methinks.

8. Twins
(7): They’ve made up four games since the middle of July, all without the benefit of Justin Morneau. And they may not be getting him back for a while. Tall order.

9. Reds (12): Grabbing Jim Edmonds didn’t pay off last night, but I like the move. I’m tempted to even call it inspired. I’ll just say, though, that if Walt Jocketty goes out and gets more former Cardinals it’s gonna start to look a little Single White Femaley to me.

10. Cardinals (11): They have their three top starters lined up to go after the Reds this week. Carpenter did his job last night. Garcia and Wainwright need to do their jobs tonight and tomorrow. If they do, the Cardinals have restored order. If, however, the Reds somehow manage to take both of those games, it’s time to get nervous.

11. Red Sox (10): They’re not going away, but you have to figure that the loss of Youk is going to eventually prove to be too much to bear.

12. Giants (5): Jonthan Sanchez predicted that San Francisco would take all three games against the Padres at home this weekend. Bold words, grasshopper. You get the first game on Friday night.

13. Blue Jays (13): Someone — I think on Twitter or something — said the other day “how many divisions would the Jays be leading right now if they didn’t play in the East?” I think my answer is “none.” If they weren’t in the East they wouldn’t have a 12-0 record against the Orioles. And while the Red Sox have hurt them (2-7), Toronto has played the Yankees and Rays fairly well (11-10). 

14. Athletics (15): I don’t know if they’ll ever have a decent, stable home but the young pitching has to give people hope.

15. Rockies (14): Winners of seven of ten, but it just feels like they’re not getting any traction at all.

16. Dodgers (18): Brutal schedule ahead: Phillies, Braves, Rockies and Reds.

17. Mets (20):  This rise in the rankings has less to do with anything good the Mets did than bad stuff the teams below them did. Sometimes your Power Ranking lot improves simply by stinking less than the next guy.

18. Marlins (19): Why do I find it hilarious that Wes Helms called a team meeting

19. Angels (16): Yeah, I know they’re playing better, but getting swept by the Orioles kind of puts the nail in the coffin of the season, ya know?

20. Tigers (17): A couple of weeks ago it was “can we hold on until Brandon Inge comes back?”  Well, he’s back and the answer was no. Not that his absence is what caused the tailspin. Basically, everything that could have gone wrong has, and this was a team that needed things to break right in order to make some noise this year.

21. Brewers (21): Signing Corey Hart and talking to Rickie Weeks about extensions and trading for Chris Dickerson seem to be the acts of a team that will be trading Prince Fielder this winter.

22. Nationals (22): I like that they’re honoring Andre Dawson tonight. Now, if they’d don some Expos uniforms on throwback night we’d really be getting somewhere.

23. Astros (24): The Astros have been scoring a ton of runs lately.

24. Royals (25): Zack Greinke is pessimistic, but I can think of way worse places to be than Kansas City right now. There’s talent there. Kyle Farnsworth has been banished. There’s hope.

25. Indians (26): I made brief reference to the Indians having reason to hope lately, but Paul Cousineau at The DiaTribe really puts that in perspective in this post. They’ve been winning and doing so against good competition.

26. Cubs (23): This season cannot end fast enough for Chicago. And there needs to be a serious, Astros-style purge of this roster this winter. Time to tear it down and start all over.

27. Orioles (last): In Buck we Trust. Five wins in the first six games, baby.

28. Diamondbacks (27): I’m kind of surprised that Luis Gonzalez is the first Diamondback to have his number retired. I mean, yeah, the hit in the 2001 World Series guaranteed that it would happen eventually, but what’s Randy Johnson so busy doing this summer that he can’t be so honored?

29. Pirates (last): Thankfully for the Pirates announcer shenanigans don’t count in the power rankings of that bush league act following the walkoff would have had them down in 126th place.

30. Mariners (last): When you get you manager fired you should probably be in last place.

Ichiro was happy to see Pete Rose get defensive about his hits record

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 14:  Ichiro Suzuki #51 of the Miami Marlins warms-up during batting practice before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on June 14, 2016 in San Diego, California.   (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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You’ll recall the little controversy last month when Ichiro Suzuki passed Pete Rose’s hit total. Specifically, when Ichiro’s Japanese and American hit total reached Rose’s American total of 4,256 and a lot of people talked about Ichiro being the new “Hit King.” You’ll also recall that Rose himself got snippy about it, wondering if people would now think of him as “the Hit Queen,” which he took to be disrespect.

There’s a profile of Ichiro over at ESPN the Magazine and reporter Marly Rivera asked Ichiro about that. Ichiro’s comments were interesting and quite insightful about how ego and public perception work in the United States:

I was actually happy to see the Hit King get defensive. I kind of felt I was accepted. I heard that about five years ago Pete Rose did an interview, and he said that he wished that I could break that record. Obviously, this time around it was a different vibe. In the 16 years that I have been here, what I’ve noticed is that in America, when people feel like a person is below them, not just in numbers but in general, they will kind of talk you up. But then when you get up to the same level or maybe even higher, they get in attack mode; they are maybe not as supportive. I kind of felt that this time.

There’s a hell of a lot of truth to that. Whatever professional environment you’re in, you’ll see this play out. If you want to know how you’re doing, look at who your enemies and critics are. If they’re senior to you or better-established in your field, you’re probably doing something right. And they’re probably pretty insecure and maybe even a little afraid of you.

The rest of the article is well worth your time. Ichiro seems like a fascinating, insightful and intelligent dude.

There will be no criminal charges arising out of Curt Schilling’s video game debacle

Curt Schilling
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In 2012 Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, delivered the fantasy role-playing game it had spent millions of dollars and countless man hours trying to deliver. And then the company folded, leaving both its employees and Rhode Island taxpayers, who underwrote much of the company’s operations via $75 million in loans, holding the bag.

The fallout to 38 Studios’ demise was more than what you see in your average business debacle. Rhode Island accused Schilling and his company of acts tantamount to fraud, claiming that it accepted tax dollars while withholding information about the true state of the company’s finances. Former employees, meanwhile, claimed — quite credibly, according to reports of the matter — that they too were lured to Rhode Island believing that their jobs were far more secure than they were. Many found themselves in extreme states of crisis when Schilling abruptly closed the company’s doors. For his part, Schilling has assailed Rhode Island politicians for using him as a scapegoat and a political punching bag in order to distract the public from their own misdeeds. There seems to be truth to everyone’s claims to some degree.

As a result of all of this, there have been several investigations and lawsuits into 38 Studios’ collapse. In 2012 the feds investigated the company and declined to bring charges. There is currently a civil lawsuit afoot and, alongside it, the State of Rhode Island has investigated for four years to see if anyone could be charged with a crime. Today there was an unexpected press conference in which it was revealed that, no, no one associated with 38 Studios will be charged with anything:

An eight-page explanation of the decision concluded by saying that “the quantity and qualify of the evidence of any criminal activity fell short of what would be necessary to prove any allegation beyond a reasonable doubt and as such the Rules of Professional Conduct precluded even offering a criminal charge for grand jury consideration.”

Schilling will likely crow about this on his various social media platforms, claiming it totally vindicates him. But, as he is a close watcher of any and all events related to Hillary Clinton, he no doubt knows that a long investigation resulting in a declination to file charges due to lack of evidence is not the same thing as a vindication. Bad judgment and poor management are still bad things, even if they’re not criminal matters.

Someone let me know if Schilling’s head explodes if and when someone points that out to him.