A -- Alex Rodriguez. The Mariners insist they will not trade away another superstar this year. Still, will their shortstop bolt Seattle after this season and sign with Atlanta or the Mets?
B -- Ballparks. Three new ones. Enron Field in Houston features a 30-degree slope in deep center field, like the terrace at old Crosley Field. Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco has a short fence in right field -- at 307 feet, balls clearing the wall might land in the Bay. Comerica Park in Detroit has the old home plate from Tiger Stadium.
C -- Comeback Club. Kerry Wood, Andres Galarraga, Moises Alou and Kerry Ligtenberg return after missing the entire 1999 season.
D -- Disparity. The gap between big- and small-market teams remains one of baseball's biggest problems. Last year, the eight playoff clubs all were among the top 10 spenders.
E -- Everett for Everett. Playing the name game, Houston traded outfielder Carl Everett to Boston for shortstop Adam Everett in December.
F -- Free agents. Chuck Finley, John Olerud, Aaron Sele, Greg Vaughn, Todd Zeile were top ones who changed places.
G -- Griffey. At 30, Junior has hit 398 home runs. If he averages 40 per season during his nine-year contract with Cincinnati, he will break Hank Aaron's career record of 755.
H -- Home Run Central. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Griffey give the NL Central the most potent trio of sluggers ever seen in one division. I -- Induction Day at the Hall of Fame. It'll be a Reds-letter day at Cooperstown on July 23 when Sparky Anderson, Tony Perez and old-timer Bid McPhee enter the shrine wearing Cincinnati caps.
J -- June 29. The night John Rocker returns to New York. Most likely, he will not ride the No. 7 subway train to Shea.
K -- Knoblauch. Hard to believe, but the scatter-shooting Yankees second baseman is experimenting with a new way to throw. C
L -- Long gone. Wade Boggs, Chili Davis and Jeff Montgomery retired and 1999 All-Stars Tony Fernandez and David Nilsson are playing in Japan.
M -- Managers. Seven new ones: Mike Hargrove (Baltimore), Don Baylor (Cubs), Davey Lopes (Milwaukee), Mike Scioscia (Anaheim), Charlie Manuel (Cleveland), Buddy Bell (Colorado) and Phil Garner (Detroit).
N -- Newcomers. The hot rookie class includes St. Louis pitcher Rick Ankiel, Philadelphia outfielder Pat Burrell and Yankees infielder Alfonso Soriano.
O -- Opening day. It's March 29 at the Tokyo Dome between the Mets and Cubs. The nighttime start in Japan makes it a bit inconvenient for American fans to follow the action -- first pitch is at 5:05 a.m. EST.
P -- Pedro Martinez. Unanimously won the AL Cy Young Award and the only pitcher to beat the Yankees in the postseason.
Q -- Question marks. Can Davey Johnson and the Dodgers bounce back from a disappointing 1999? Will Colorado be able to win with pitching, speed and defense at Coors Field?
R -- Ripken. Cal needs nine hits to reach No. 3,000.
S -- Sidelined. John Smoltz is out this year because of a torn elbow ligament and Darryl Strawberry is suspended for the season because of a cocaine violation.
T -- Turner Field. The All-Star game will be played at Atlanta on July 11.
U -- Umpires. Richie Garcia, Frank Pulli and Terry Tata are among the 22 who lost their jobs late last season. V -- Volatile Valentine. Bobby V. wore a disguise to sneak back into the dugout after an ejection last summer, and later called five of his players ''losers.''
W -- World Series. Could there be a Subway Series for the first time since 1956? The Yankees and Mets open the season as 4-1 favorites to make it that far. The Braves also are listed at those odds.
X -- ''X'' factor. Jim Morris emerged as the feel-good story of the 1999 season, a high school teacher who turned up at a tryout camp and became a 35-year-old rookie pitcher for Tampa Bay.
Y -- Yankees. Capped off the century by winning their 25th World Series title, and third in four years. Showing signs of age -- David Cone, Paul O'Neill and Clemens are all 37 -- and some wonder whether this will be the last hurrah for the Yankees.
Z -- Zero. The chance of Pete Rose being reinstated, unless commissioner Bud Selig changes his mind. He was allowed on the field for an All-Century ceremony at the World Series, but will be banned from taking part in championship reunions this June for the 1975 Reds and 1980 Phillies.
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