The Sun's national baseball writer, Peter Schumuck,...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Sun's national baseball writer, Peter Schumuck, ranks the major leagues' 28 teams.

RANK, TEAM, PREVIOUS RANK, COMMENT

1. Atlanta Braves , 1 , Starting to pull away from persistent Expos.

2. Cleveland Indians , 4 , New home very comfortable for emerging AL Central powerhouse.

3. New York Yankees , 3 , Still have firm grip on AL's second-toughest division.

4. Montreal Expos , 2 , Finally cooling off after furious AL East challenge.

5. Cincinnati Reds , 5 , Trying to assemble pennant-winning outfield...from 1992.

6. Minnesota Twins , 6 , Could be in catbird seat if Cleveland cools off.

7. Houston Astros , 8 , Rockets will be tough act to follow, but two 1994 World Championship teams are not out of the question.

8. Baltimore Orioles , 7 , Just escaped from Camden Yards. Could be dangerous.

9. Los Angeles Dodgers , 9 , Could win NL West by default.

10. Kansas City Royals , 11 , Need more punch to keep from getting knocked out of tough AL Central.

11. Chicago White Sox , 10 , On the bright side, if this keeps up, we might get a look at Michael in September.

12. St. Louis Cardinals , 13 , Decent club still doesn't know which way to turn.

13. Philadelphia Phillies , 15 , Still viable, but already have to come in strike-shortened season.

14. Detroit Tigers , 17 , Have come out of nowhere to join AL East race.

15. Toronto Blue Jays , 16 , Next thing you know, Barry Manilow will be headlining at Soft Rock Cafe.

16. Florida Marlins , 19 , Surprisingly respectable club would be competitive in three other divisions.

17. Texas Rangers , 12 , Okay, okay, so they weren't ready to take control of AL Mess.

18. San Francisco Giants , 14 , Nothing shaking in Bay Area, which used to be good news.

19. Seattle Mariners , 20 , Even Ruthian performance by Griffey can't get Mariners above sea level.

20. Colorado Rockies , 21 , Don't laugh. Second place would rate tickertape in Denver.

21. Milwaukee Brewers , 23 , Garner doing decent job despite poor standing in Central.

22. Boston Red Sox , 18 , The vultures are circling over Fenway Park.

23. Pittsburgh Pirates , 25 , Steel City fans still have All-Star Game to look forward to.

24. Oakland Athletics , 26 , Tony La Russa may yet find a way to win wobegone West, crazy as that might sound.

25. New York Mets , 22 , Back to being regular part of David Letterman monologue.

26. California Angels , 24 , Eleven games under. Four games out. Is this really happening?

27. Chicago Cubs , 27 , Confidential to Ryne Sandberg: Come back. All is forgiven.

28. San Diego Padres , 28 , Do I hear $68 million?

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