By Nightmare –

So, if I had the multimedia skills of the Ducks, or the Chihuahuas, or probably anyone under the age of 40, I wanted to do a little video clip of the scene from Half Baked where Scarface quits his job.  “F you, F you, you’re cool…”  That scene.  I wanted to replace the faces with Vlade, and the other haters (not H8R) who said I couldn’t make it through a full season… actually…. I’d replace all the faces with Vlade, because that’s funnier.  Except for, “you’re cool,” that would be the Lugnuts, obviously.  Or maybe just Franklin… anyways, I’m too old.. That would have been funny though.  Way funnier than this way-too-long explanation….  Anyways,

F*** you.

F*** you.

F*** you.

You’re cool.

F*** you.

I’m out!

The season’s over, my commitment is DONE.  Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.  Or whatever it is.

Before we get started, I wanted to thank Truck for posting all of these and encouraging me along the way.  I’d like to thank my teammates and other co-writers for your insight and contributions… but mostly, I want to thank Vlade.  Thank you for providing the motivation, in the form of pure spite, to get through this season.  Thank you.

FYI, This week, rather than including the previous week’s ranking (‘PR’), I am using “original rank.”  So the parenthetical is where I ranked the team in my original set of rankings.  You’ll notice I was pretty spot on most of the time… just kidding.  I was/am terrible at this...

22.  A round of Hamm's to celebrate the Lugnuts’ first win of the season… $10.  Apple juice to console the underage Dodgers… $5.  The look on Epstein's face after the loss… PRICELESS.  In the preseason, I said, "Shirls is worth 8-10 wins on his own."  And I had them ranked #13... I mean, maybe I ranked them #22 thirteen times?  Oh Well. Shirls was my player to watch, he hit .510 this year with 10 HRs, and I think half of those came in the win over the Dodgers last week... (Forever 22, Original Rank 13)

21.  I can't even imagine the amount of time, energy, and love that goes into putting on a tournament like W4W.  So I want to take a second to give Truck HUGE PROPS.  Even with Mother Nature trying her hardest to wash the tournament from the face of the Earth, Truck succeeded in putting on another amazing tournament.  Truly great job, buddy!  In other news, the Bears did not defeat the defending champs (again) this year… I really hoped that trend would continue.  The Bears did win more games than last year though, so that's cool.  (OR: 18)

20.  Some lanky, overrated wiffler proclaimed, "the Giants have one of the best rotations in the league."  They finished the year a top-10 rotation (by ERA), so technically, I guess he was not wrong.  The running joke is they can't score runs…  I thought they would benefit from the jack swing off rule... my bad.  And no, Dr. K isn't a real doctor, I don't think.  (OR: 16)

19.  So I started the season being pretty hard on the Orioles.  I may have implied I didn’t think they deserved a team… I may have gone a bit far.  The Orioles will win at least 10 games this year, and not finish last in the division.  That's not a bad start for a franchise.  I didn't have a player to watch, but in hind sight I think I could should have chosen Shaggy or Slim.  Both very capable hitters with some real potential on the mound.  Also, rule proposal: no pterodactyls at the rink.  Bo/Beau, I’m looking at you!  (OR: 22)

18.  The Whalers didn't have quite as much magic left in the tank as I thought (there was plenty of magic smeared all over Sanchez's chest Saturday though, am I right?)...  Sanchez fell about a dozen bombs short of my prediction (40), but he got the one that mattered (did you hear, he got to 500?)... Aw man, The Man isn't playoff eligible… That's a bummer.  For them, everyone else should be happy.  (OR: 14)

17.  The Iron Pigs are another team that didn't get much love heading into the season.  They also won 10 games this season and improved from last year.  So that's good.  I hope they change their name back to the Rockies though, cause Iron Pigs… meh.  EAD Joel had another solid year.  He was my player to watch, but it should have been Bam Bam aka Jean Claude Van Hamms (hmm, Van Hamms to the Lugnuts?).  Besides being pretty hilarious, he improved mightily from his very “meh” rookie season last year.  I haven't done my research yet, but he could be a 'most improved' candidate for sure.   (OR: 17)

16.  My player to watch on the Mariners was Squirrel.  He certainly improved at the plate, increasing his BA, HRs, and RBI.  The only stats in the game I really care about.  And objectively speaking I can say he had a good (not great) year.  So I win.  I also heard way less "beah" nonsense.  So I win again.  I did fall into the "seamen" trap though (a lot)... So I lose.  (OR: 15)

15.  Sigh… the only time I saw Jagr this year was at W4W.  Honestly, I never thought I'd still be ranking teams in week 17, but if I did, I thought for sure I'd be writing non-stop about Jagr… But that is not the case.  I did predict a tight, dangerous roster.  It's too obvious to say (almost), but the RoughRiders are a 12-win team you don't want to face in Wifflepalooza or the playoffs.  I'm looking at the stats and I keep thinking things like, "H8R only hit 26 bombs?" or "how did Hjal strike out 118 and still have an ERA over 5?"  They defy logic.  You've been warned.  (OR: 12)

14.  The Twins.  What a rough and tumble group of guys.  A real group of dudes.  What is there to say about such… people.  I lie awake nights wondering if the curse of Al is going to cause the Twins to fold…  (OR: 10)

13.  The Pirates were a pleasant surprise this year.  T-Mac, my player to watch… did not have the year I expected… but he put together a really good team, so let's look at the big picture, this is the best Pirates team we've seen… ever?  So he's a winner, and I'm a winner for not totally doubting him... Oh yeah, Jussie Smollet.  (OR: 17)

12.  First and foremost, Groot needs to leave me alone!  Every time I turned around at W4W, he was right there.  I'm still a little shook, so I'm not sure if he was always literally right behind me, or if he's just so g**damn tall it just seemed like he was right behind me... either way, he was definitely always giving me that damn Groot-stare.  It's unnerving.  That being said, remember, I loved the Chihuahuas first.  Of course, I did spend the first few rankings implying you didn’t deserve to have a team, so... oops.  (OR: 21)

11.  Wow, I coined "Kong's Kids" in my first ever rankings.   I thought that came along later.  Well, I played the Athletics last week, and they are legit.  Obviously, I don’t think anyone could have predicted 15+ wins (except for maybe Kong!), but they did it.  My hope for these guys is that they all ask Santa for batting cage tokens for Christmas.  These guys pitch solidly, so if they can improve their hitting a bit... they'll be a team to watch.  (OR: 19)

10.  The Braves.  .500 again (give or take).  Weird.  How did I miss Chop's 1200th hit?  And it looks like it was a bomb!  (OR: 9)

9.  Honestly, a year ago I don’t think I had any idea who the Americans were.  Now… It's like I can't shake them.  They're everywhere.  They only have 4 guys on the active roster, but one of them is always around.  And, unfortunately for me, it's usually Lulu.  Dr. Dipshiz was my player to watch.  I said I loved his nickname, and I still do.  He hit .330 this year and lead his team in bombs (25) and RBI (59).  Nice.  I also said he looked like a nice young man.  He gives up an average of 1 bomb per inning pitched.  What's nicer than that?  (OR: 11)

8.  Heading into 2019, I thought the Kardinals’ plan would be to try and hit enough bombs to make up for mediocre pitching… instead, they improved their pitching, considerably.  I forget the stat exactly, but their team ERA dropped by about a full point.  My player to watch, Tootin, has been a bit disappointing.  I'm sure he'll say it's his hemorrhoid flare up, or whatever it is that has him on the DL, but seriously, whatever.  So much for him being a triple threat... Actually, he still is: he drinks, he drinks, and he drinks!  (OR: 11)

7.  There was a time when the only RubberDuck I knew was Stache.  Oh, the ride we've been on since then.  First I hated them.  Then I loved to hate them.  Then I sort of liked them.  Then I hated them again.  Then I tolerated them.  Then I hated loving them... Now I love them, and I don't care who knows.  The icing on this cake is the pending release of Stache, my least favorite RubberDuck HRL'er.  So long Stache!  Don’t let the door hit your a*s on the way out!  Oh, and the final word on this matter: your duck logo should not have a hockey mask on.  Period.  (OR: 7, huh, nailed this one)

6.  Are the Marlins good?  Or are they GREAT?  I could bore you with all the statistical reasons they’re we're amazing, but beyond that… you love us.  You really do.  Name a Marlin you don’t like?  You can't do it.  You want to say, "Nightmare," but you're reading this, so you can't hate me that much.  Box?  Nope, nicest guy in the league.  Neut?  Don't be silly.  Shipwreck?  Okay, maybe him, but he's new and doesn't count.  Name a better team that's more fun to be around.  I'll wait.  Not really, I have better things to do.  (OR: 6)

5.  In the pre-season, I predicted the Reds would play this year and win a lot of low scoring "Reds wiffleball" games.  They then went on to score over 100 runs in the first 4 games of the season.  I got that wrong, but I did predict Matty would hit 20+ bombs.  And holy cow, he pitches pretty well too.  So, I win again.  Oh yeah, this is also still one of the best rotations in the league, too.  I predicted that also.  Are we having fun yet? (OR: 4)

4.  In the pre-season, I said the Yankees were some of the toughest outs in the league.  They're boasting a .311 team average, that’s pretty good.  I said they'd win 25+ games, and they did.  And I said this would be the tightest division in Eagan, and it is.  The tighest division anywhere really.  It all comes down to tonight.  Yankees-Marlins, playing for a trip to Wifflepalooza!  I mean, playing to not have to play in Wifflepalooza!

2.  (no, that isn't a typo, I thought and thought and can’t decide which team is #2 and which is #3, so they are both #2)  It just occurred to me, Psych's hit ALL the homeruns this year… but I don't think I ever actually saw one.  He certainly didn't hit one off me.  I mean, my player to watch, Fez, did (because he's awesome and hits the gym like a boss).  But Psych… overhyped maybe...?  Just kidding, I have seen Psych hit and he's ridiculous.  I'd accuse him of being on steroids, but one look at him and you know that isn't the case.  I hope he can keep this up another few weeks, for the Dodgers sake, cause if they want to beat the lousy, no good, no-call-returning, making-me-cry-myself-to-sleep Biscuits, they'll need every Psych bomb he can hit.  (Yes, I know I just predicted the Biscuits to be in the World Series, I don’t like it, but I needed it for the joke. Was it worth it?  meh.)  (OR: 2)

2.  I knew the Mets would still be good, even losing a guy like Shirls, but even I didn't expect them to play at this level.  And call me crazy, but I don't really think the Mets care… I mean, I know they care, but when we played the Mets, they were more concerned about Hondo's cold M&Ms (thanks for sharing) and getting done at a reasonable hour, than they were about the game.  Like, I know JC was there, but my only memories of him (besides the walk off grand slam to dead center, nice one by the way) was of him hanging out with his dog.  Like, there was a weird "cool" about them.  I don't know.  I like it, and I really hope JC gets the cup this year.  If there’s a guy in the league who deserves it, but hasn’t won it, it’s him.  Also, Mrs. Webby for MVP?  Most Valuable... Parent.  (OR: 3)

1.  Over the past 6 months, the Rays have privately and publicly ignored or rejected all of my attempts to join their squad.  I presented hard evidence to make my case, and all I got was, "try again in a couple years, when you have more experience."  Total BS!   So obviously, being the persistent young man guy that I am, I tried to approach Mippey at W4W to present my case in person.  Was I warmly received?  No!  He gave me the "talk to the hand" and then proceeded to sign autographs for a bunch of kids for like ten minutes and then walked away.  They say never meet your heroes, kids... Now I know why.  I’m glad I never talked to that dude before.  Anyways, I threw my math out the window for this final ranking (my math had them #3).  They’re the defending champs, it’s the last week of my article, so I guess they can be #1 again…  (OR: 1)

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