Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index -- a bi-weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players/baseball entities are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one's presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book. To this edition's honorees ...
The 2022 MLB Big Ten Champion
The time has come to award the MLB Big Ten Championship for 2022. Those Who Make Things Difficult will likely point out that, at this writing, more than a fortnight of regular season remains and thus the handing out of championships informed by the current standings is woefully premature and tantamount to a criminal act. The author would concede the point if he were willing to concede the point. Instead, he'll allow that, yes, MLB teams have played a number of games that amounts to fewer games than 162. However, given the reasonably comfy lead of the 2022 MLB Big Ten Champion soon to be named and the prevailing reality that this -- much like all else that inhabits our daily lives -- scarcely matters. So we shall proceed with the seafaring courage native to those who don't care the slightest about any of this.
Anyhow, an explanation is probably in order. The Big Ten was meant to stretch not from rising sea to rising sea, as the current ridiculous guild does, but rather from landlocked cornhole board to invasive species of carp fished from the Great Lakes that shall soon sicken us by the light of the campfire. Thus we have returned to Take Back the Big Ten and restore geographical coherence. We have done and continue to do this by awarding the MLB Big Ten title to the team with the best regular season across both the National League Central and the American League Central -- you know, Big Ten Country.
One might be wondering whether the AL East and NL East can pair up for the ACC title or whether the two west divisions amount to MLB's Pac-12. They damn well may not, largely because the author is partial to the undying lands of the American Midwest. Vive les fire pits, rust-belt craft beer, mowing during a tornado watch, pallid winter tongues burned back to life by scorching pierogies, and borrowed single-stage snow blowers finally returned years later after the owner dies of cardiac arrest while shoveling.
With the word count sufficiently advanced via excessive throat-clearing, let us reveal the 2022 MLB Big Ten Champion. Laurel wreath of backyard poison ivy, report directly to the head of the St. Louis Cardinals. Barring collapse, the Cardinals are bound headlong for the NL Central title and – of far vaster importance – the MLB Big Ten title. To repeat, no, the regular season is not over, but a handshake agreement ensures that the Cleveland Guardians, Milwaukee Brewers, or Chicago White Sox will not topple these assumptions in a gross act of inconvenience.
And so that we may satisfy the spirit and workplace mandates of this weekly abasement, let us highlight an individual player of note and relevance. Sure, we could honor the 2022 Big Ten champs with one of their WAR leaders – Goldbird or Nolan Arenado – but instead let us hold up for exaltation the team philosopher-king who also happens to be closing in on 700 career whopper poppers:
Praise be to Albert Pujols, spiritual leader of the Big Ten champs.
So now in a vaguely nasal accent let us mark this occasion by reciting in full the past – and present – winners of the MLB Big Ten Championship. Note that this hallowed ledger begins in 2012, when the Houston Astros were mercifully drummed out of the Centrals, thus restoring coherence and purity to Heaven's Own Centrals.
- 2013 St. Louis Cardinals
- 2014 Detroit Tigers
- 2015 St. Louis Cardinals
- 2016 Chicago Cubs
- 2017 Cleveland Indians
- 2018 Milwaukee Brewers
- 2019 Minnesota Twins
- 2020 Minnesota Twins
- 2021 Milwaukee Brewers
- 2022 St. Louis Cardinals
Now let us play celebratory hands of euchre in a walk-out basement – partially finished but fully flooded.
The Battle of Los Angeles refers to many things, and one of those things is the ongoing power struggle between the right and left/starboard and portside pectoral muscles of Dodgers bat-swinger Joey Gallo. Relevant color photography forthcoming:
While two of Gallo's damnable mess-mates – Justin Turner and Cody Bellinger, to be specific in our accusations – have demeaned themselves with fake musculature, Gallo has no need of such artifice. This is owing to the fact that he, in keeping with the sage counsel of Charles Atlas, has undertaken 1,000 sets of one followed by one set of 1,000 for 1,000 straight days. The actual exercise doesn't matter (it's dumbbell flys) as much as the results. And the results are the two big, fat, and flagstone-hard sides of dangerous beef hanging from Gallo's load-bearing clavicle, which groans under the strain of its duties despite having been reinforced with metal joists.
The good news is that eventually Gallo's two pecs will forge an uneasy peace, and the Battle of Los Angeles will conclude to yield the Thorax Leviathan Slabs That Saved Los Angeles. For that you may thank Bombo L'Hosschest (Joey Gallo) and his one thousand sets of one thousand.