By Dan George
May 11, 2005
MLB Power Rankings
Rank LW Team
1 1 Good: They've held a lead in all 33 of their games so far this season. Bad: Only nine of those games have been against teams with winning records. Ugly: Their 24-9 start is the team's best since ... the 1919 Black Sox.
2 8 Their new $10 million video screen/scoreboard certainly impressed the Marlins. "That could almost get us a new stadium," said manager Jack McKeon. Added first baseman Carlos Delgado: "It must have come in a big box."
3 4 Third baseman Jose Valentin will be out until at least the All-Star break after tearing up his right knee in a play at the plate. He sustained a partial tear of the medial collateral ligament, a partial tear of the posterior cruciate ligament and a partial tear of the anterior cruciate ligament. He doesn't have a ligament to stand on.
4 5 Through 32 games, they're on pace to hit 243 home runs and score 881 runs. And that's with 40-year-old Rafael Palmeiro hitting .221 with two homers and eight RBIs. Admit it -- you thought this was going to be a cheap Viagra joke, didn't you?
5 9 When ace setup man Juan Rincon became the biggest name so far to be suspended for using steroids, it got his teammates' attention. "Man," said Torii Hunter, "I'm scared to take Red Bull." Yeah, that stuff will make you paranoid.
6 2 Only two major league first basemen have ever turned an unassisted triple play: the Red Sox's George Burns (no, not that one) in 1923 and the Tigers' Johnny Neun (yes, that one) in '27. Albert Pujols could have become the third last week, but instead threw to shortsop David Eckstein for the third out, thus making this note not nearly as good as it could have been.
7 12 David Ortiz blames the language gap for the high percentage of Latin American players getting suspended for drugs. "I'm not making excuses for those guys," Ortiz said. "But I think they would prefer if someone talked to them [in Spanish]." Hmmm, is that gap there when they negotiate contracts, too? Just wondering.
8 3 Reliever Todd Jones insists he's never used steroids. But has he thought about it? Well, uh, yes. "If you're a middle man and you, all of sudden, take steroids and you pick up six miles an hour, now what are you?" said Jones. "You're a closer." Great. Now we're going to be wondering about Kyra Sedgwick.
9 6 A California legislative committee voted 9-0 on a bill that would force the Angels to include a disclaimer on tickets and advertisements indicating they play in Anaheim, not Los Angeles. "If someone sold orange juice and it had no juice, you've got to tell consumers ... " said the bill's sponsor, Tom Umberg. "This product contains no Los Angeles." Your tax dollars at work.
10 7 Best leadoff hitter in the NL? You could make a case for infielder Craig Counsell, who tops leadoff men with a .422 on-base percentage and is third in walks (26) and stolen bases (eight). Plus, there's that absolutely fascinating batting stance.
11 17 Forget all that talk about Pedro Martinez having a personal catcher. The veteran right-hander has his personal home run hitter. Carlos Beltran has six homers this season -- all when Pedro has started. Geez, we like to stir things up.
12 16 Brian Giles caught Anna Kournikova's ceremonial first pitch before their April 29 game with the Diamondbacks at Petco Park -- and promptly went 0-for-21. Said manager Bruce Bochy: "He kissed the princess and turned into a frog."
13 13 When reliever Kameron Loe was called up last week, he brought his pet boa constrictor with him, storing the seven-foot, 20-pound snake in a drawer in his clubhouse locker. No problem, said Sandy Alomar Jr. "This is Texas. Animals can roam wherever they want. When Julio Franco played here, he had a tiger. A snake is nothing."
14 15 Manager Frank Robinson and pitcher Zach Day aren't getting along. "If it comes to the point where it's so unbearable that it affects his performance and it affects my sleep patterns at night and my friendly, sunny personality," said Robinson, "then you have to start thinking, 'Would [Day] be better off someplace else?'" Friendly, sunny? F. Robby? Exactly when did we enter that alternative universe?
15 10 Breaking up a double play on Sunday, Gregg Zaun took a knee to the head and was knocked out. Doctors say he'll be fine, although that incoherent babbling about the Blue Jays leading the Yankees in the AL East had them worried for a while.

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