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[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
Surprised that (pick one) the A's, Nationals, Orioles and Reds made the playoffs last year? You shouldn't have been: Since the dawn of the wild-card era in 1995, every postseason but one has included at least one club bouncing back from a sub.-500 finish in the previous year. Oakland (74--88 in 2011), Washington (80--81), Baltimore (69--93) and Cincinnati (79--83) made '12 a banner year for party crashers—and only the O's did it by claiming the new second wild-card spot.
Of the 13 teams with losing records last year, these are the ones likeliest to still be playing in October.
TEAM / 2012 RECORD
Blue Jays 73--89 | Royals 72--90 | Indians 68--94
Hungry for a Job
By the end of last season Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin was spent. He felt tired, his strength had ebbed, and he was carrying only 162 pounds on his 6' 1" frame. To better prepare for a long season, he decided he had to weigh 200 pounds by spring training. Franklin almost reached his goal (he weighed 196 when he reported) by embarking on what can only be described as the best diet ever: He consumed 6,500 calories a day. If he makes the majors, here's how Franklin, who will start the year at Triple A, can keep up that caloric pace if he chooses to indulge in one of Seattle's delicacies—assuming the big league per diem covers this much food.
162.5 raw Pacific oysters
72.2 cups of Rainer cherries