Others to watch: A-Rod's partner in the home run competition,
Ranger Rafael Palmeiro, managed to smack an impressive 47
homers over the back wall last season. In the past seven seasons,
Raffy has never failed to hit at least 38 homers. There's no reason
to think he won't hit that mark again this year in his trips to the
plate. Another Ranger to look for is left fielder Frank "Cat"
Catalanotto, who cranked an impressive 54 RBIs and finished up
with a .330 average. Cleveland may be missing Alomar, but the Tribe
retains big home run hitter Jim Thome, who cleared the fence
49 times and knocked 124 RBIs last year. Anaheim Angels third
baseman Troy Glaus is always a home run threat when he comes
to the plate and will try to exceed last year's 41
over-the-wallers. The Oakland A's signed outfielder David
Justice from the Yankees, and after hitting .241 last season
with the Yanks, Justice can only improve upon that average with the
switch to the opposite coast. Red Sox fans' favorite shortstop
Nomar Garciaparra returns for his seventh season after a
year of injuries. Expect him to put out the extra effort to send
homers over the 37-foot-tall Green Monster left field wall of
Boston's Fenway Park this year in the Sox' run for a pennant.
So, there you have it. Grab your Chick-O-Sticks and Super Bubble.
The off-season has presented the 2002 MLB arena with some curve
balls in the form of lineup changes, and we're certain there are
more to come. But aside from who's batting left or right, and
regardless of all of the movement in the dugout, one thing's for
sure: It's going to be another fun season to be a fan. Naturally we
couldn't cover every batter in the lineup of every team, so,
please, no throwing things onto the field. Just drop us an e-mail
if you feel we've had a swing and a miss at editor@americanwaymag.
com, and you may see a readers' lineup in a future issue. Batter