- Jim Caple, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Historically, the dog days run from July into August. And we baseball fans know they reach their peak when a sultry August doubleheader leaves us panting like Fido and willing to lap up a $10 beer out of a dog bowl.
In honor of this season's dog days, we've assigned each major league team a famous fictional pooch.
We started with the National League on Thursday. Here's that pack o' puppies: The NL's dog day dogs »
Today, we're barking up the American League tree.
Well, duh! It had to be Astro and the Astros, right? The Astros (then the Colt 45s) and the Jetsons' dog both debuted in 1962. But -- Ruh Roh! -- these Astros are still looking to win a World Series, a goal Houston fans pray will take place before 2062, when the team probably will be a subsidiary of Spacely Space Sprockets. (Getty Images.)
This superpowered dog has incredible strength, power, speed, stamina and intelligence. In other words, Rex the Wonder Dog has slightly fewer tools than Mike Trout. That was true, by the way, of Rex (the Wonder Dog) Hudler, too, when he played for the Angels. He's pictured here because we don't have image rights to the DC Comics version. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images.)
Wallace is the inventor in "Wallace & Gromit," but Gromit is the real problem-solver -- so much so that NASA named a planetary robot for him. This is kind of like brilliant Athletics general manager Billy Beane constantly figuring out ways to win despite Oakland's penny-pinching ownership, which can't even fix the sewer system. (PRNewsFoto/Westminster Kennel Club.)
"Frasier" has been off the air for a decade. But, like all Mariners fans, Eddie is still stuck in his Seattle home, staring at his owners and wondering when they're ever going to get up and do something, like go to a World Series. Oh well. At least Eddie enjoyed watching the Super Bowl in February. (NBCU/Getty Images.)
Old Dan was a great and loyal hunting dog in "Where the Red Fern Grows." He was so brave he fought a mountain lion. And then he expired from all the wounds and injuries, kind of like the Rangers did this season. (Disney.)
Rowlf was the Muppets' piano player for years, but he didn't have the chops to replace Nancy Faust as the White Sox organist. Hopefully, Rowlf will one day play the music ("Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye") while Jose Abreu lights the lights in late October. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images.)
Like Cleveland fans who have endured so much, Little Orphan Annie's Sandy is fiercely loyal. Better yet, in the comic strip version, Sandy has white dots instead of eyes, which means he didn't really see all those decades of awful baseball in Cleveland. (By the way: Any dog, even that useless "Simpsons" loser Santa's Little Helper, is a better association for Cleveland than Chief Wahoo.) (Tribune Media Services.)
Hercules, also known as "The Beast" in "The Sandlot," was an enormous English mastiff so ferocious that his mouth was where hits -- and youthful dreams -- went to die. Which is how it feels to face a Tigers rotation that includes the past three Cy Young winners. (Eric Charbonneau/Fox/AP Images.)
"Toto, I've got a feeling the postseason isn't in Kansas City anymore." Although Royals fans are still closing their eyes and clicking their heels in the hope that this October will be different from the past 28. (MGM Studios/Getty Images.)
In "101 Dalmatians," there were a few sets of twins among all those spotted young dogs. And, like Pongo and Perdita, Minnesota fans pray pups such as Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano will grow up to be something special -- rather than fur coats for Cruella de Vil. (Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images.)
In his starring role in the movies, Benji is an adorable little mutt who comes to the aid of humans and animals alike. But, as with the Orioles and the World Series, the Benji series really hasn't rewarded fans with a hit since Cal Ripken Jr. had hair. Is there a decent sequel in store this fall? (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac.)
Like the Red Sox, Old Yeller provided some wonderful moments that will be cherished forever. And, like Old Yeller, circumstances dictated that the Red Sox be put down this season. Fortunately for Boston fans, free agency isn't as fatal as rabies, so Jon Lester could come back. (AP Photo.)
As the Yankees are to baseball, Lassie is to canines -- the most famous and successful of all. They're both also getting way, way too old in dog years. Lassie, go for help! CC and Tanaka are trapped in the bottom of the well and can't get out! Help, Lassie, Help!! Please!!!! Lassie?!? Lassie? C'mon, girl, please wake up! (CBS/Getty Images.)
Despite living off garbage scraps and making a home out of abandoned packing crates, Tramp achieved great success and happiness thanks to his humor and keen wisdom. Just as Joe Maddon has at the Tropicana Dome. Now, if only the Trop concession stands would sell plates of spaghetti ... (Disney Channel/Getty images.)
A la Clark Kent/Superman, Shoeshine Boy would gain his superpowers by changing into Underdog in a phone booth. But in the cellphone age, there are no phone booths. So ... no superpowers for the past 20-some years. Blue Jays fans know that feeling all too well (although there is a chance one booth will reopen in Toronto this year). (Alan Singer/NBCU/Getty Images.)
Here's a start on how we're going to survive baseball's dog days: After we assigned a fictional pooch to each team in the National League, we took on the AL.