What's hot, what's not for baseball
By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

The new MLB season is under way, and last season's sensation -- the Rally Monkey -- has already been replaced by this season's new fad: Closer-by-committee.

But you can be sure that by the time pennant races heat up in August, some team will come up with a ridiculous mascot that will sweep the nation. (Let's hope not.)

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:

Category Hot Not Hot
Bandwagon team Philadelphia Phillies Minnesota Twins
Seats team
Green Monster barstools

D-Backs hot tub
Stadium giveaway Bobble-bellies Bobble-heads
Icon Anything but the Rally Monkey That frickin' Rally Monkey
Breakout HR hitter
Josh Phelps (TOR)

Jay Gibbons (BAL)
Breakout pitcher on a bad team Kris Benson (PIT) Mike Maroth (DET)
First-name superstar

Asian sensation Hee Seop Choi (CHC) Hideki Matsui (NYY)
Minor-league franchise Brooklyn Cyclones Milwaukee Brewers
1-2 combo Oswalt-Miller (HOU) Schilling-Johnson (ARI)
Hat Anything pinwheel Black K.C. Royals
Theo Epstein (BOS)

J.P. Ricciardi (TOR)
Endorsement contract Book Clubs Video-game headliner
Ballpark food Retro (Good ol' hot dogs) Asian-themed food
Place to catch homers Great American Ball Park Waveland Ave. (Wrigley)
Hobby for ex-players Broadcast booth Minor-league ownership
Medical situation Groins Shoulders
The AL East Giambis

The Montreal Hernandez's
Players' road-trip must Puerto Rico nightlife Montreal nightlife
Starting pitching Pair of aces Depth
Clutch bullpen Closer-by-committee Smoltz's double-nickel
Movie subject Umpires Way-too-old rookies
He's due for hardware ...
Manny Ramirez

Scott Rolen
We're already sick of ... Talk of a Ken Griffey revival The hype around rookie Marlon Byrd
Rivalry Angels-A's Yankees-Red Sox
Music played before at-bat
50 Cent

Players' electronic must-have GameBoy Advance SP Color-screen celly
Pitch Pure heat Nasty slider
Historical homage Bonds passes Mays in HR Goodbye to Minny baseball
Fashion trend Brims ultra-flat Back pocket inside-out
Phillies Thome

Rangers A-Rod
Relocated player Billy Koch (White Sox) Livan Hernandez (Expos)
Development trend Asian poaching Latin "academies"
Lating America pipeline Cuba Panama
Fan distraction War with Iraq Contraction
Cubs savior
Mark Prior

Kerry Wood
Managerial mind Mike Scioscia (ANA) Joe Torre (NYY)
Who gets the credit? It's the GM It's the manager
Who gets the blame? It's the manager It's the owner

It wouldn't be a Hot/Not preview list without a few picks from Page 2. Remember, these are the picks for fashion-forward fans, not fans of conventional wisdom:

Category Hot Not
NL East Phillies Braves
NL Central Cubs Astros
NL West

AL East Red Sox Yankees
AL Central White Sox Twins
AL West

NL Wild Card Mets Cardinals
AL Wild Card Twins Mariners
NL MVP Jim Thome Jeff Kent
AL MVP Magglio Ordonez Rey Ordonez
NL Cy Young Mark Prior Randy Johnson
AL Cy Young
Pedro Martinez

Mike Mussina
NL Rookie Marlon Byrd Hee Seop Choi
AL Rookie Brandon Phillips Hideki Matsui
World Series Champ Low-budget A's Big-budget Yankees

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



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