Publish date:

April 4, 2005 Table Of Contents

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LETTERS

LETTERS

Inside

Inside

The Week In Sports

Inside The NBA

Tipping Point

With the Nets' playoff hopes fast dwindling, Jason Kidd intends to hold management's feet to the fire

By Ian Thomsen

Scout's Take

By Ian Thomsen

Skiles Makes Headway

CHICAGO'S EDDY CURRY

By Ian Thomsen

Ian Thomsen's Fast Break

By Ian Thomsen

Minor League Might Have Major Role

NBDL'S FUTURE

By Ian Thomsen

Let's Get Physical

By Ian Thomsen

Inside The NFL

Back to School

Nick Saban may have made the jump to the pros, but he'll rely on his college connections to prep for his first draft

By Peter King

Inside Golf

No Contest

Annika Sorenstam nearly lapped the field at the Nabisco, fueling talk of a Grand Slam. Is she the best ever?

By Josh Elliott

Inside Soccer

High and Dry

Though its captain made a heartening return, the U.S. bowed yet again in the 7,200-foot altitude of Mexico City

By Mark Beech

Big Year for Big D

SI's Grant Wahl predicts the order of finish in MLS.

By Grant Wahl

Incendiary Star Returns

MLS PREVIEW

By Mark Beech

2005 Final Four

Take the Shot

As a frenetic NCAA tournament reaches its finale, the national champion is likely to be determined by a showdown among deadeye marksmen

By Grant Wahl

WOMEN'S NCAA HOOP THOUGHTS

By Kelli Anderson

Baseball Preview 2005

Batter Up!

The season can't start until the lineup card is filled in, and that's a lot more complicated than you would think

By Tom Verducci

Batting by Numbers

Like big-city neighborhoods, each batting-order spot has its own flavor, and some areas are higher-rent than others. Here's a Fodor's guide to the regions of a lineup card.

By Tom Verducci

Where to Bat Bonds?

Deciding on the most beneficial spot in the order to place Barry Bonds--and pleasing the most fearsome slugger in the history of the game--isn't as easy as it might appear

By Tom Verducci

Leading Man

The job of the leadoff hitter is to get on base, and who does it better than Ichiro Suzuki? Problem is, few other players measure up

By Tom Verducci

Perfect Order

By Tom Verducci

Bad Blood

Here are the 20 most contenious feuds in baseball

By Tom Verducci

Scouting Reports

1 New York Yankees

If a retooled rotation lives up to its billing, they will end their championship drought

By Daniel G. Habib

2 Boston Red Sox

After 86 years the curse is over, but do they have enough pitching to repeat?

By Daniel G. Habib

3 Baltimore Orioles

Sammy Sosa makes a potent lineup stronger, but the rotation will be their downfall

By Daniel G. Habib

4 Toronto Blue Jays

Eric Hinske's return to rookie-year form is Step 1 of a plan to get out of the cellar

By Daniel G. Habib

5 Tampa Bay Devil Rays

Their top picks are starting to come of age, but youth will not be served this season

By Daniel G. Habib

1 MINNESOTA Twins

A rare spending spree has a model organization well-armed for years to come

By Peter King

2 CLEVELAND Indians

Using the blueprint of the NFL champs, this team is climbing back into contention

By Peter King

3 Chicago White Sox

Unless an iffy rotation produces, small ball translates to a fall in the standings

By Peter King

4 Detroit Tigers

They found a closer, but an improving club could still use some finishing touches

By Peter King

5 Kansas City Royals

Some good-looking kids, but their prospects for avoiding 100 losses? Not so good

By Peter King

1 Los Angeles Angels

New shortstop Orlando Cabrera is a good fit in a potent lineup of free swingers

By Tom Verducci

2 Texas Rangers

The lineup and the bullpen are solid, but there are still holes to fill in the rotation

By Tom Verducci

3 Oakland Athletics

With two thirds of the Big Three traded away, the onus shifts to the offense

By Tom Verducci

4 Seattle Mariners

Two new sluggers punch up the offense, but who will shut down the opposition?

By Tom Verducci

1 Atlanta Braves

Back in the rotation, John Smoltz is looking to recapture past October glory

By Michael Farber

2 Florida Marlins

New first baseman Carlos Delgado balances the power in an already loaded lineup

By Michael Farber

3 New York Mets

A franchise resistant to change has been overhauled, but there are still holes to fill

By Michael Farber

4 Philadelphia Phillies

Contender or also-ran? Depends on the health and effectiveness of the pitchers

By Michael Farber

5 Washington Nationals

With a new home and euphoric fans, an evolving team will try not to disappoint

By Michael Farber

1 St. Louis Cardinals

An offensive juggernaut appears to have added the missing piece: a frontline pitcher

By Albert Chen

2 Chicago Cubs

There's plenty to worry about: pitchers' injuries, no closer and run production

By Albert Chen

3 Houston Astros

Finally, a full-time closer has emerged to finish what the stellar rotation starts

By Albert Chen

4 Cincinnati Reds

They might not play like a winner, but at least now they're spending like one

By Albert Chen

5 Milwaukee Brewers

Carlos Lee is a cornerstone of a club that has been stuck in building mode

By Albert Chen

6 Pittsburgh Pirates

Two young players with star potential emerged last season--that's a start, at least

By Albert Chen

1 San Francisco Giants

With its star knee-deep in rehab and turmoil, a contender plays the waiting game

By Phil Taylor

2 Los angeles Dodgers

Even in the midst of an extreme makeover, the West champs are still contenders

By Albert Chen

3 San Diego Padres

One season at Petco Park put a premium on speed and a trade for Dave Roberts

By Phil Taylor

4 Arizona Diamondbacks

The Big Unit's gone, but a remade rotation offers some hope for a desert revival

By Phil Taylor

5 Colorado Rockies

Even for an optimist, it can't get much worse for this up-and-down franchise

By Phil Taylor

LIFE OF REILLY

Attention, Please!

By Rick Reilly

Departments

Making Up for Lost Time

Troy Bergeron never played a down in college, but now he's tearing up the Arena league--and eyeing the NFL

By Bill Syken

Leading Off

Smash It Like Sania

Indian sensation Sania Mirza is breaking down barriers in her home country as she climbs in the rankings

By L. Jon Wertheim

Little Big Man

Happy to be riding the bus and taking his lumps for $750 a week, minor league hockey king Kevin Kerr could be an inspiration to some sullen superstars

By Michael Farber

Grandmaster Trash

Chess champ Bobby Fischer emerges from a Japanese prison, spewing hate

By William Nack

Do Balls Matter?

Get your mind out of the gutter: One woman proves she can bowl with boys

By Yi-Wyn Yen

Go Figure

For the Record

ANKIEL WATCH

Former pitcher Rick Ankiel, 25, is trying to make the Cardinals as an outfielder. How's he doing? SI's Ankielometer tells all.

The Golden Girls

Behind the game's most prolific scorer, Minnesota won another NCAA title

Bobby and Peter Farrelly

The brothers directed Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch, about an obsessed Red Sox fan, opening on April 8

By Bobby Farrelly

Numbers Racket

Giants punter Jeff Feagles has mastered the secondary uniform market, in which players swap numbers with covetous colleagues. In the past two years he's gotten a Florida vacation (from Eli Manning) and a new kitchen (Plaxico Burress). Here's how the number exchange has fluctuated.

The Beat

By Lisa Altobelli

The Week Ahead

What to watch and watch for

By Amanda Cherrin

Under Review

By Nancy Ramsey

Now on SI.com

Breaking news, scores, schedules and fresh, original Web-only stories and columns 24/7

By Jack McCallum

Faces in the Crowd

By Mark Bechtel