1. A fond farewell » Gosh, are we gonna miss Lou Piniella — the kicking, the screaming, the … um ... base throwing. Perhaps lost in the shuffle of all the bluster — as a player, Piniella once started a massive on-field brawl after running over Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk — is the fact that he’ll leave baseball with more than 1,800 wins as a manager, 1,705 hits as a player and three World Series rings. The fiery — and often confrontational — Piniella was AL rookie of the year in 1969 and is one of only four men to be named manager of the year in both leagues. Of course, we’ll best remember him for his colorful ejections, all 65 of them, during a tumultuous — and very entertaining — 41-year pro career. So long, Sweet Lou. As long as there are umpires in your retirement, a YouTube masterpiece can’t be far away.
2. Donny two-step » Baseball has ironclad regulations — some good, some bad and some, well, bizarre. Take the whole “you can’t visit the same pitcher twice in one inning without removing him from the game” rule, which Don Mattingly unknowingly broke Tuesday night against the Giants. Mattingly, filling in for the ejected Joe Torre, went to visit closer Jonathan Broxton in the ninth inning with runners on base, and then — on his way to the dugout — accidentally turned around to answer a question from James Loney. Cagy Giants manager Bruce Bochy argued that Mattingly’s turnaround counted as a second visit, leading to Broxton’s removal and a 7-5 Giants win. Case closed, right? Uh, not exactly. Apparently the proper course of action (whether to remove Broxton or Mattingly from the game) is open to interpretation because of MLB’s curious wording of the rule. The result: Nobody — including me as I write this — has a clue what’s going on.
The Examiner's weekly power rankings
1. Yankees » Andy Pettitte (groin), Phil Hughes (arm), A.J. Burnett (brain)
2. Rays » Need more consistency out of James Shields
3. Braves » Beginning to run away with the NL East
4. Rangers » Cliff Lee + Josh Hamilton = AL West title
5. Red Sox » Need to get healthy — fast — if they hope to stay in hunt
6. Padres » Very important three-game set with the Dodgers this week
7. Reds » Missed golden chance for sweep by dropping final two against Nats
8. Cardinals » Adam Wainwright gaining ground in loaded NL Cy Young race
9. White Sox » Isn’t Ozzie so much funnier when they’re losing; we miss that
10. Rockies » Offense through the roof at home, putrid on the road (shocker)
11. Phillies » Need a boost: Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt will do
12. Twins » In midst of easy stretch (Orioles, Royals, Mariners)
13. Tigers » Get ready for Hell Week — four at Rays and three at Red Sox
14. Giants » Just saying: We’d kill to have an “off year” like Tim Lincecum
15. Mets » Signed former Nationals closer Chad Cordero to minor league deal
16. Dodgers » Manny Ramirez back on the DL
17. Angels » The last time SoCal didn’t have a playoff team? 2003
18. Athletics » Dallas Braden back from DL — much to A-Rod’s delight, we’re sure
19. Marlins » Josh Johnson supplanting Ubaldo Jimenez as Cy Young leader
20. Blue Jays » Get to kick around the Orioles this week
21. Cubs » Our hunch? Carlos Zambrano’s idiocy drove Lou Piniella to retirement
22. Brewers » Last week for Prince Fielder in a Milwaukee jersey?
23. Nationals » Last week for Adam Dunn in a Washington jersey?
24. Royals » Highest team batting average in AL; second-fewest home runs
25. Indians » Cleveland pitchers have fewest strikeouts in AL
26. Mariners » Felix Hernandez couldn’t buy run support with an AMEX card
27. Astros » If Oswalt moves, they’re officially irrelevant
28. D’Backs » Have huge lead over chase pack in race to finish last in NL West
29. Pirates » Even tumultuous Steelers training camp is better than this
30. Orioles » Last in AL in almost every major pitching category; we’re stunned