By Dan Shanoff
Page 2

What steroid problem? The issue of baseball's preseason has become a midseason non-issue, which means that (a) the problem was overstated; (b) the testing (or threat of testing) is working; or (c) fans really didn't care that much to begin with -- and care even less now that there are on-field storylines.

What else has changed since Opening Day? Did anyone see Derrek Lee coming? How about Brian Roberts? And don't say you had the White Sox or Nationals leading their leagues.

But those are just a few trendy storylines. Get ready for the final three months of baseball with our midseason Hot/Not List, sure to impress your co-workers, barstool debate partners and even that hottie on the first date. Yes, she wants to talk about it:

WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT: 2005 BASEBALL AT MIDSEASON
Category Hot Not Hot
Face of Baseball
Miguel Tejada

Derek Jeter
Division NL East AL Central
Yankees Conventional Wisdom Suddenly scarier Rejoice in their demise!
"Oh, sure, I always liked..." Derrek Lee George Sisler
Hat fashion statement Flat brims Broken-in
Manager on Hot Seat Lee Mazzilli Frank Robinson
Watch His Health Vlad Guerrero Scott Rolen
Rookie sensation Zach Duke Clint Barmes
Trade bait
AJ Burnett

Mike Sweeney
Easy to root for Nationals Kenny Rogers
Fantasy revelation Brian Roberts Eric Milton
Jersey to be seen in Bobby Abreu "53" Sammy Sosa
Rivalry Nation vs. Nation National vs. American
X-factor Relief pitching Starting pitching
Yankees-Red Sox Heating up Make it stop
Milestone
Palmeiro's 3,000 hits

Bonds passing Ruth
Stat Record in 1-run games Runs scored-Runs allowed
Fan distraction NFL fantasy drafts Olympics
Chicago debate Buehrle or Garland? Prior or Wood?
Annual Second-Half Surge A's Indians
Second-Half MVP?
Curt Schilling

Randy Johnson


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:

REVISED PAGE 2 PLAYOFF PICKS
Category We like We don't like
AL East Red Sox Orioles
AL Central White Sox Twins
AL West Angels Rangers
AL Wild Card A's Yankees
NL East Nats Braves
NL Central Cards Cubs
NL West Padres Dodgers
NL Wild Card Braves Marlins
ALCS Winner Sox (Red) Sox (White)
NLCS Winner Nats Cardinals
World Series matchup Red Sox-Nats 2004 re-run
World Series champ Red Sox Repeat Anyone from NL

Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "Daily Quickie" commentary appears every weekday morning. You can chat with Dan every morning from 9-10 on SportsNation.




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THE HOT LIST