TABLE OF CONTENTS
March 31, 2003 | Volume 98, Issue 13
March 31, 2003
Bluegrass BasketballHow can you recognize the masterful job done by Tubby Smith and never once mention that he should be the hands-down favorite for coach of the year (Tubby's Terrors, March 10)?...
March 31, 2003
Patience will be key as this former power takes the next step in rebuilding
Rightfielder Karim Garcia, who played in 53 games last season, led all major leaguers with 0.98 RBIs per game.
They've gone through the root canal (first losing season in nine years); now the recovery process can start. They're still in Transition, but at least they've I got a plan....
For a franchise coming off its worst season ever, a .500 record is a lot to hope for
Carlos Beltran, who drove in 105 runs last year, became the first player to lead the franchise in RBIs in consecutive seasons since John Mayberry in 1975 and '76.
This is a bad team, but maybe not as bad as people think....
Even for a team that lost 106 games last season, the worst may be yet to come
Last season the Tigers committed 142 errors, the most in the league since the Indians booted 148 balls in 1993.
They're awful, and if they hadn't made the Jeff Weaver trade, they'd be worse....
World Series or bust! No excuses for a club that has stalled in the first playoff round
Eric Chavez led the A's with eight stolen bases in 2002, the lowest total to lead the club since Russ Snyder had seven in 1960.
There's not a better pitching staff out there, and I think Barry Zito is the best of the bunch. His curveball is paralyzing....
Why mess with success? The gritty world champions return intact and unspoiled
Angels batters struck out a major-league-low 805 times last year, the fewest strikeouts by a team in a nonstrike season since 1992.
This is a team that can do everything: manufacture runs, steal, hit-and-run, bunt. They'll do what they have to do to get a run early....
Aging players are moving closer to retirement than to an elusive World Series berth
Bret Boone, John Olerud and Ichiro Suzuki each won a Gold Glove last season, making it 16 straight years that a Mariner has been so honored.
Every time I see Ichiro Suzuki, he gets better. He can beat you in so many ways. You can't pitch to this guy. He's running out of the box as he's striking the ball. If he wanted to, he could hit...
Manager Buck Showalter can turn bad teams around. This one will be a real test
The Rangers were involved in 21 games last year that ended with a walk-off hit, the most in the majors. They lost 14 of those games, also tops in baseball.
New manager Buck Showalter is a good strategist, but he'd be a better fit for a young team. He's probably going to have a hard time getting Alex Rodriguez or Rafael Palmeiro to listen to him when...
New faces and payroll restraint won't put an end to a long-running success story
Although he did not play in 27 games last season, rightfielder Gary Sheffield led the major leagues with 23 game-winning RBIs.
They will be a little better offensively with a healthy Javy Lopez and newcomer Robert Fick in the lineup. Lopez was in good shape and swinging the bat really well this spring. Those two need to...
The payoff to a rare off-season spending spree will be a wealth of runs and victories
Last season, as a member of the Indians, Jim Thome reached base by way of a hit or a walk in each of his final 55 games—the majors' longest active streak.
There's no question that the moves they made will pay off handsomely. Jim Thome isn't going to have any trouble adjusting to NL pitching, and I think he was a steal at [$14] million a year. He has...
March 31, 2003
Our baseball lineup for this season features some new faces along with the sage veterans. Senior editor Larry Burke directs our coverage for the first time, though he's hardly new to the national...
Newcomers Art Howe and Tom Glavine will have a calming effect on a tortured clubhouse
Sixteen runners were thrown out trying to steal with Tom Glavine on the mound last year; 29 bases were stolen on Al Leiter. Both figures led the majors.
This is a club with too many question marks. If everything breaks right, it could be in the hunt; if not, it could be a miserable year....
More speed and improved defense may mean a better record, but not a playoff trip
Centerfielder Juan Pierre led the majors with 55 infield hits in 2002, and second baseman Luis Castillo was third with 46. (The Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki had 53.)
The No. 1 guy on this staff is A.J. Burnett. Before he got hurt last year, I thought he was the most dominating pitcher in baseball. Most people put Josh Beckett ahead of him, but I think Burnett...
The team without a country will play in Canada and Puerto Rico. And pray for help
By leading the league with 206 hits last season, Vladimir Guerrero became the only active player with 200 or more hits in two NL seasons.
The corners of the infield are glaring weaknesses. First baseman Jeff Liefer can hit an 86-mph fastball out of the park, but that's about it. In camp the Expos also used Wil Cordero at first—he...
Will Brett Tomko ever pitch to his potential? If he does, it will help his new team a lot
Tony La Russa needs 76 wins to become the eighth manager in history with 2,000 or more. The last man to reach that milestone was Sparky Anderson.
This is a strong club. Edgar Renteria is the best shortstop in the league. He catches everything and he always comes up with the clutch hit. With Renteria, Fernando Viña, Jim Edmonds and two...
Jeff Kent's big bat will more than justify the displacement of Craig Biggio
Last year Ricky Stone tied the NL rookie record for relief appearances (78), set in '85 by Tim Burke. Sean Runyan set the big league mark (88) with Detroit, in '98.
I'm not in lockstep with most observers who say this is the best team in the division. Yes, they've got marquee players—Jeff Bagwell and Jeff Kent will mash the ball—but those two better stay...
Everything could finally fall into place here if the pitchers throw the way they ought to
Sammy Sosa had 108 RBIs in 2002, the eighth straight year he drove in 100 or more runs. In doing so, he tied the NL record, held by Willie Mays (1959-66) and Mel Ott (1936-42).
People are high on the Cubs, but I don't see it....
In a rotation full of questions, is designated ace Ryan Dempster the answer?
Cincinnati's Jason LaRue led all catchers with 20 passed balls last season, and the Reds had a major-league-high 28.
Management is always foolishly optimistic, and there are a lot of concerns about this rotation. Danny Graves has good stuff, but how many innings can he work? Jimmy Haynes had a good year in 2002,...
Keep the faith in this gradually improving club. First baseman Randall Simon has
Righthander Josh Fogg made 33 starts in 2002, the most by a Pittsburgh rookie since Sam Leever started 39 games (and made 12 relief appearances) in 1899.
I don't look for this club to improve significantly. The lineup will be slightly better. Kenny Lofton can still get on base and steal bases. Reggie Sanders is streaky and strikes out a lot, but...
On a team desperate for leadership, a fit and willing vet, Royce Clayton, fills the void
Last season centerfielder Alex Sanchez was the first Brewer to receive a vote for Rookie of the Year since righthander Jeff D'Amico. in 1996.
This team may have the worst talent in the majors....
The best pitching combo in baseball is in shape for the long haul of another title run
Randy Johnson led the big leagues in strikeouts for the fifth straight year in 2002, tying the record set from 1903 through 1907 by Rube Waddell of the Philadelphia A's.
This team is the division favorite because of the two guys at the top of the rotation, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling....
The key to the Giants' return to the postseason? Not Barry. A healthy Robb Nen
Last October, Livan Hernandez became the first player to pitch in the World Series in the same season that he led his league in losses. He was tied with two other pitchers with 16 defeats.
This club has a great baseball man in Felipe Alou, but he's not a great game manager. It'll be interesting to see how pitchers react, because he'll use a very I quick hook....
Comebacks have to be the big story for a team with a dominant rotation—if healthy
Last season Kazuhisa Ishii (106) and Hideo Nomo (101) became the first pair of Dodgers to each walk 100 batters in a season since Joe Hatten (110) and Kirby Higbe (107) in 1946.
I really like their pitching, and with the offense they're going to run out there they're going to need it....
The tournament ticker on ESPN referred you to the war ("Tune to ABC News for continuing coverage of the war with Iraq") and the war ticker on CBS referred you back to the tournament ("The NCAA...
Plan D: Escape the cellar by relying on homegrown pitchers and the long ball
With just one complete game pitched in 2002, Colorado tied a big league record set in 2001 by the Devil Rays. The only Rockie to go nine? Denny Neagle.
This organization seems to be panic-stricken, always changing what they're doing. The team that went to the playoffs in 1995 banged the ball around, so they I must think that's the way to go again....
A snakebitten club short on depth and dough is staggered by the loss of its two stars
The Padres set a major league record by using 37 pitchers last season, eclipsing the mark of 32 held by the 2000 Indians.
This season could be a disaster. Not many clubs respond well after losing their closer and cleanup hitter, especially if they weren't contenders to begin with....
March 31, 2003
We ranked the position players In the major leagues from 1 (the best) to 425 and the pitchers from 1 to 400, based on our projections of their statistical production this season. The categories...
To Master Sergeant Chris Calkins:
Bill Parcells is cracking the whip—and a few heads—to make America's team his team
The NHL's absurd attempt to teach its greatest actors a lesson
24Consecutive Division III men's swimming and diving championships won by Kenyon College, the longest NCAA championship streak in any sport.