Your Monday Morning Power Rankings

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It’s the last Power Rankings of the season. In some ways it’s rather pointless, what with the season being effectively over for the majority of teams. To what end power, if there is no manner in which to exert it?  An interesting ettickal question.

Indeed, I was just gonna not do a Power Rankings. But then I realized I had a legitimate reason to not make Philly number one, and I figured that would cheese off a bunch of ya, so why not?

1. Yankees: Winning most of the games they’re supposed to win, worrying more about whether marginal dudes will make the postseason roster than they’re worrying about the big existential questions that vex a team at this time of year. Yeah, I think that earns them the number one slot.

2. Phillies: I mean sure, on some level this is unfair inasmuch as, if you put a gun to my head, I still say that Philly has the best shot of anyone once the playoffs start. But sorry guys. You don’t lose eight in a row and not suffer some sort of Power Rankings penalty for it.

3. Rangers: Quietly rolling. It’s amazing how little anyone talks about these guys.

4. Diamondbacks: Everyone’s going to call them the Cinderella story of the playoffs, but they haven’t really fit that mold. They’ve carried themselves like a team that knows it belongs. Never going on bad skids, not relying on unsustainable streaks.  Just doing their work. I think they could cause a lot of trouble for whoever they face in the first round.

5. Tigers: I predict there will be 15 stories written in the next five days asking whether the Tigers “peaked too soon” with their hot streak in early September. I think that kind of thing is hogwash. They have the best pitcher in the AL, one of the best hitters and no glaring weaknesses. They’re fine, even if they’re not as hot right now as they were a couple of weeks ago.

6. Brewers:  They haven’t played a team with a winning record since September 11th, so you have to wonder if they’re honed as sharply as they could be.

7. Cardinals: They’re not yet in playoff position, but they still have a hell of a lot more mojo working than that team in Atlanta they’re chasing. And finishing the season with three in Houston? You couldn’t have set that up any better.

8. Rays: Three against the Yankees to close it out. If they make it, they will have freakin’ earned it.

9. Braves: Three against the Phillies to close it out. Call me crazy, but I’m not exactly optimistic.

10. Red Sox: Three against the Orioles to close it out. AHHHHHH!!!! PANIC!!! YYEEEAAAAHGGGGG!!!

11. Angels: Still technically alive, but they need a miracle. And I don’t know if you’ve looked around much lately, bub, but miracles don’t come easy these days.

Those out of the playoff conversation simply get a ranking this week. Sorry, but there are only so many ways you can say that their season is over, and I’ve been doing that for several weeks now.

12. Giants

13. Dodgers

14. Blue Jays

15. Indians

16. Nationals

17. Reds 

18. White Sox

19. Mets

20. Athletics

21. Rockies

22. Marlins

23. Pirates

24. Royals

25. Cubs

26. Padres

27. Orioles

28. Mariners

29. Twins

30. Astros

Amanda Hopkins is the first full-time female baseball scout in over 50 years

Associated Press
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SEATTLE (AP) Nearly two years ago, Amanda Hopkins’ phone rang. It was a call she dreamt of receiving, one that broke barriers and made her a part of baseball history.

Almost immediately, her competitiveness took over.

“She put a sign up on her bedroom door saying, `Stay out, we’re opponents,”‘ recalled her father, Ron Hopkins, a special assistant to the general manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates. “In other words, my bedroom is off limits to you, there is info in here. I got a kick out of it.”

The 24-year-old Hopkins is now about to complete her second year as an area scout for the Seattle Mariners. Her responsibility is the Four Corners area of the Southwest, taking her to destinations like Greeley, Colorado, and Hobbs, New Mexico, two of the more challenging places to get to from her base in the Phoenix area.

She is also the first full-time female baseball scout in more than 50 years, breaking through a barrier that required diligence on her end and willingness by the Mariners organization.

Yet, Hopkins does not view herself through that prism or want to be viewed as a trailblazer. She’s a scout . That’s it.

“I think if anything people are more shocked sometimes when I will go meet with a player in the office or something like that. Maybe they just know, hey the Mariners’ scout is coming in to meet with you today and they walk in and they’re like, `Oh.’ That kind of thing,” Hopkins said. “It’s usually more of like a shocked look. But then they’re more curious, they’re like, `How’d you get into this?’ And they kind of like want a brief rundown of how I got to where I am. All the players, all the coaches, are incredibly respectful to me.”

While she is believed to be the first woman to work as a full-time baseball scout since Edith Houghton in the middle of the 20th century, Hopkins has been around baseball since she was a child.

She traveled with her father to games, regularly making trips to the Alaskan Summer League or the Cape Cod League in summers. She would run the radar gun and pass along the speeds to her dad when she was as young as 8. It was obvious early on she possessed the same critical eye as her dad.

“She learned at an early age the difference between a curveball and a slider. As she got older it just sort of grew on her,” Ron said.

“I’d go out with my dad and they’d be like `Oh what do you want to do when you grow up?’ And I’d tell them, `I want to be a baseball scout,”‘ Amanda said. “It’s like this little girl telling them that and it’s like, `Oh that’s cute. She wants to be like her dad.’ But really, I think it was kind of like she’ll grow out of it. That’s kind of what everyone thought.”

Instead, her passion for the job only grew. She majored in psychology while playing softball at Central Washington University, yet that failed to satisfy her desire to be around baseball.

“The whole time I was in there I wanted to be a baseball scout,” Hopkins said. “And I remember probably my freshman year, sophomore year, I was like I really don’t want to do anything but that. So why am I trying to almost talk myself out of it and find a different path?”

Hopkins served as an intern in Seattle’s baseball operations department in the summer of 2014, but worked mostly with amateur scouting. A year later, she was sponsored by the Mariners to attend scout school and about a month after returning she got the offer.

“I was a little nervous myself because I knew she was going to be breaking a little bit of a barrier and she was pretty young,” said Tom McNamara, who hired Hopkins and is currently a special assistant to the general manager with the Mariners. “I went into Jerry (Dipoto’s) office and I had a lump in my throat and I said, `This is what I want to do.’ And he was all for it. He didn’t even hesitate.”

When she was hired in December 2015, Hopkins was reluctant to talk about her place in baseball history. She wanted more experience as a professional before talking about a career that was just getting started.

“She was down in Arizona in the beginning and I would check on her and finally she said, `Tom, I’m OK. You don’t need to check on me every other day,”‘ McNamara recalled.

Hopkins was part of a panel earlier this week about women in baseball organized by the Mariners. She is starting to get comfortable with the history she has made. But she doesn’t want that to be her entire story in baseball.

“I have so much to learn still. This is such a profession that takes so many years to fully understand and you’re continually learning,” Hopkins said. “My dad, 40 years into scouting, is still learning something every time he goes to the park. So I definitely think that I just want to be the best area scout I can be right now. But I love the scouting aspect of it. I really think that I want to stay in the scouting side of the game.”

Derek Jeter is a Dad

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I’m sure you’ve all been wondering about this — actually, someone in the comments the other day was wondering about it — but the wondering is over: Derek Jeter and his wife Hannah are now the proud parents of a baby girl. Her name is Bella Raine Jeter. She was born yesterday. The delivery, sources within the New York press corps tell me, was “classy.”

You’ll be shocked to learn that the news broke via the Twitter feed of The Players Tribune, which Jeter owns. I eagerly await a ghostwritten column from the baby in the next couple of days. Something like “Being Born Was an Amazing Experience, by Bella Jeter.” Or maybe one of those “Letter to My Younger Selves” feature they do sometimes.

Anyway, congratulations, Captain. Now get to the business of proving your sister wrong.