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Monday, September 29, 2003
What's hot for 2003 MLB playoffs

By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

As the baseball playoffs ramp up on Tuesday, we salute the sprinkle of 4 p.m. ET games on the schedule. As a proud sponsor of Office Sports Discussion, this list appreciates any sports event that cuts into the work day, for instance causing normally productive employees to keep online scoreboards perpetually posted on their computer monitors, with trained trigger-fingers on the screen-swapping "ALT+TAB" buttons.

The strong possibility that you will end up in a baseball-playoff discussion with one of your co-workers -- not to mention a buddy or a significant other -- makes it all the more important to check out the list below. It's not built to win any arguments, but you may start a couple.

WHAT'S HOT, WHAT'S NOT IN THE MLB PLAYOFFS
Category Hot Not Hot
Cap to be seen in
Red Sox

Braves
Pitching to Bonds Are you crazy? Make him beat you
Managerial mind Jack McKeon Ron Gardenhire
Celeb watch in stands Ben Affleck Arnold Schwarzenegger
Clutch closer John Smoltz Anyone Cubs
Rivalry Epstein-Cashman Baker-Media
Bay Area GM Brian Sabean Billy Beane
Crazy-fans advantage Twins Marlins
Jersey as fashion
Dontrelle Willis

Miguel Tejada
Place to catch homers Fenway Metrodome
Starting pitching Three-man rotation Four-man rotation
Manager in making Jeff Conine Manny Ramirez
Bandwagon team to root for Red Sox Evil Empire
Talent pipeline Venezuela Japan
Flamethrower
Kerry Wood

Tim Wakefield
Ready to haunt old teams Clemens (vs. Red Sox) Baker (vs. Giants)
Darkhorse playoff MVP Edgardo Alfonso Javy Lopez
"He's Due" Red Sox Nation Barry Bonds
Key for Boston Team batting Team pitching
Poised for national-spotlight breakout
Bill Mueller

Shannon Stewart
Distraction California recall Torre/Boss blow-ups?
Yankees Most Valuable Import Jose Contreras Hideki Matsui
Ready to rebound from last year's playoffs Yankees Braves
Pitching staff A's Red Sox
Out pitch Johan Santana's fastball Greg Maddux's fastball
Music played before an at-bat
Outkast

Avril
Key A's-Red Sox injury watch Trot Nixon's calf Jose Guillen's wrist

PAGE 2 PICKS
Category Hot Not
ALDS 1 Yankees Twins
ALDS 2 Red Sox A's
NLDS 1 Giants Marlins
NLDS 2 Cubs Braves
ALCS Yankees Red Sox
NLCS Giants Cubs
World Series champ Giants Yankees

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