By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

The new MLB season is under way and -- guess what? -- the offseason's 'roid raging is a distant memory. Fans are much more concerned with standings than steroids, with fantasy teams than fantastical accusations.

If last season opened up with "Moneyball" as all the rage, this one is another kind of "Moneyball" -- the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels and Astros breaking the bank to field winners.

While you are getting up to speed on everything baseball, check out the complete scoop on what's trendy and what's passe in baseball this season:

WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT: 2004 BASEBALL SEASON PREVIEW
Category Hot Not Hot
Bandwagon team Cubs Phillies
Seats Petco Park (S.D.) outfield Green Monster barstools
Stadium giveaway Home drug-test kits Bobble-heads
Fantasy sleeper
Derrek Lee

Gary Sheffield
Breakout HR hitter Jay Gibbons (BAL) Josh Phelps (TOR)
Breakout pitcher
Johan Santana (MIN)

Rich Harden (OAK)
Everyone wants a... Juan Pierre Don Zimmer
First-name superstar
Kerry

Manny
Asian sensation Kaz Matsui (NYM) Shingo Takatsu (CWS)
1-2 combo Wood-Prior (CHC) Johnson-Webb (ARI)
GM Paul DePodesta (LAD) Theo Epstein (BOS)
Endorsement contract Video games Nutritional supplements
Ballpark food
Retro (good ol' hot dogs)

Asian-themed food
Place to catch homers Citizens Bank Park (PHI) Great American Ball Park (CIN)
Hobby for ex-players Bonds critic Broadcast booth
Achilles heel Achilles heel Bad back
Brothers The Molinas The Giambis
Players' road-trip must Puerto Rico Tokyo
Movie subject
Red Sox '03 season

Miracles that actually happen
He's due for hardware
Mark Mulder (OAK)

Jim Thome (PHI)
We're already sick of... A-Rod, A-Rod, A-Rod Hype for rookie Joe Mauer
Rivalry Yankees-Red Sox Big payroll/small payroll
Music played before at-bats Li'l John Heavy metal
Historical homage Bonds passes Ruth in HR Maddux reaches 300 Ws
Fashion trend High socks Flat hat brims
Jersey A-Rod Yankees No. 13 A-Rod Red Sox No. 3
Relocated player
Vlad Guerrero (ANA)

Pettitte/Clemens (HOU)
Cubs savior LaTroy Hawkins Mark Prior
Managerial mind Tony Pena (KC) Tony La Russa (STL)
Who gets the credit? It's the lead-off hitter It's the GM
Who gets the blame? Starting pitchers Owners

Everyone out there thinks they know the hot sleeper or favorite that can't miss. Well, Page 2 already has heard it all, and here's what we think of the conventional wisdom for picking this year's big winners:

PAGE 2 BRACKET PICKS
Category We like We don't like
NL East Marlins Phillies
NL Central Cubs Astros
NL West Dodgers Giants
AL East Red Sox Yankees
AL Central Royals Twins
AL West Angels A's
NL Wild Card Astros Braves
AL Wild Card Yankees Mariners
NL MVP Richie Sexson Albert Pujols
AL MVP Manny Ramirez A-Rod
NL Cy Kerry Wood Mark Prior
AL Cy Pedro Martinez Roy Halladay
NL Rookie Jason Bay (PIT) Japanese "rookies"
AL Rookie Bobby Crosby (OAK) Joe Mauer (MIN)
World Series champ Cubs over Red Sox Yankees over anyone

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning.




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THE HOT LIST