Luke's Power Rankings

Our own Luke Lapinski breaks down the 2003 baseball season with his final installment of "Luke's Power Rankings." He outdid himself this week, giving an award to each of the 30 teams.

1. NY YANKEES - "Best Team Money Can Buy" Award; Ever notice how you can't even make a dollar sign without a pinstripe? No, I'm serious. Look: $

2. ATLANTA - "Baseball's Best Record" (tied); And now we hit October. See you next year Atlanta.

3. SAN FRANCISCO - "Ha Ha - We Have Barry Bonds And You Don't" Award; Ha ha - they have Barry Bonds and you don't.

4. OAKLAND - "Who Needs To Play The Whole Year?" Award; Once again, they only showed up for the second half of the season and once again it worked. Let's see if that includes the playoffs this time.

5. BOSTON - "Pigs Are About To Fly" Award; THIS IS THE YEAR. Write that down.

6. FLORIDA - "Surprise Of The Year"; Sure we knew they were good, but no one really expected them to be there in October. Even Jack McKeon didn't. C'mon Jack, you can admit it.

7. SEATTLE - "Total Meltdown Of The Year" Award; Funny, they could've won this when they came from ahead to lose the division last year too. Just a combined 73-71 after the All-Star Break each of the last 2 years. Maybe NOW would be a good time to make a move.

8. MINNESOTA - "Looking At An Early Exit" Award; Good thing they drew the Yankees - against whom they are 0-7 this year.

9. CHICAGO CUBS - "Thank Goodness For The Mediocre NL Central" Cup; It's perfect - they can drink celebratory champagne from it and Sammy can play with the cork.

10. HOUSTON - "So Close You Can Taste It" Commemorative Medallion; Wow. Missing the playoffs by just one game. Of course, they'll probably put up more runs in October this way.

11. TORONTO - "Best Team In Canada"; Though most of Delgado's homeruns land in Russia. And Halladay's apparently from another planet.

12. PHILADELPHIA - "Brotherly Love" Award; No matter what, Thome is your homey.

13. CHICAGO WHITE SOX - "Gigli" Award; I can't figure out which one bombed faster.

14. ST. LOUIS - "Talent Does Not Equal Playoffs" Award; Pujols is one of the best in baseball. Renteria hit .330. Edmonds popped 38 homeruns. Rolen's considered by many to be the best 3B in the game. Well, just 6 short months to Spring Training.

15. LOS ANGELES - "Most Offensive Offense" Award; And Gagne can keep the Cy Young for himself.

16. ARIZONA - Participation Trophy; Remember when all the mid tier teams got those in Little League? Well, this is about as mid tier as you get. More importantly, congratulations to Mark Grace on a great career.

17. MONTREAL - "Best Team In Puerto Rico"; When it comes right down to it, I think they could take Caguas. Or even Mayaguez. Assuming Livan's pitching, of course.

18. KANSAS CITY - "Total And Utter Dominance" Plaque; Yeah, that's right. They ruled Spring Training (19-8). Nobody can ever take that away from them.

19. ANAHEIM - "Harry Houdini" Award; Unbound by the constraints of defending the World Series Title, this team opted to simply vanish off the face of the earth.

20. COLORADO - "Special Edition Batting Champion" Trophy; Because that guy in St. Louis got the real batting title as San Diego took the bat out of Todd Helton's and robbed him of any of any chance of winning it. Plus, this trophy is made entirely out of lead so it won't accidentally fly over the wall in the thin air of Coors Field. How nice.

21. PITTSBURGH - "Bronzed Oscar Mayer Weenie Whistle"; Randall Simon attacks a sausage, providing possibly the single greatest moment of the season. So, of course, the Pirates get rid of him too.

22. BALTIMORE - "Outstanding Achievement In The Field Of Blaming The Manager For A Blatant Lack Of Talent" Award; Honestly, have you seen this team? Yeah, it must be Hargrove's fault.

23. TEXAS - They don't get an award, but I'm sure A-Rod can afford to buy them all something nice.

24. CINCINNATI - "Why Pick On Pete Rose?" Award; Can't we just ban the entire organization from baseball?

25. CLEVELAND - Whatever Prize I Dig Out Of A Cereal Box Next; Because (a) their record shows that's all they deserve and (b) Coco Crisp wouldn't have it any other way.

26. MILWAUKEE - "Least Deserving Of An Award" Award; Seriously, what did you bring to baseball this year?

27. NY METS - "Just Wait 'Til Next Year" Award; Hey, the future looks bright - just not for the Mets.

28. SAN DIEGO - "Golden Trailer" Award; Rod Beck was living behind a minor league stadium in a trailer when the season started and he closed off the year with 20 saves. That's pretty cool.

29. TAMPA BAY - "Baseball's Worst Record"; Because the Tigers just don't count anymore.

30. DETROIT - "Most Likely To Make Me Stop Watching Baseball" Award; Sure they had a horrible year, but there's good news: at least they didn't break the single season loss record. Of course, the bad news is that they probably will next year.

Luke is the funniest guy on the staff at InsidethePark.com. He already knows it, but you can send him a friendly reminder (or tell him he's full of crap) at thebigll@hotmail.com.

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