IN the world of Major League Baseball, the new millennium has brought about some significant changes. In the first big-league games ever played outside North America, the season's opener between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Mets took place in Tokyo; new stadiums opened in Detroit, Houston and San Francisco, and after 11 years in Seattle, Ken Griffey Jr. has proven that you can go home again and has taken his "All Century Team" talents to the Cincinnati Reds.
But the more things change, the more they remain the same. The New York Yankees are favored again to make it three World Series titles in a row, and as it has been the past two years, the fans' major focus will be on the home-run derby between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. However, that race will intensify now that Griffey is a National Leaguer and will be playing half of his games in homer-friendly Cinergy Field. "People put too much emphasis on home run races," Griffey says. "The bottom line is a championship, and that's all I'm looking for in Cincinnati."
On the managerial front, Don Baylor, a former "Manager of the Year" recipient during his tenure with the Colorado Rockies, is now the skipper of the Chicago Cubs, joining Chicago White Sox manager Jerry Manuel in a city that, surprisingly, has two minority managers. "When minority hiring is no longer news," Baylor says, "we'll know that we have made some major steps."
In the meantime, the inaugural season of the new century is under way. And the race is on to see who will be the rookies of the year, the MVPs and the Cy Young Award winners. But most want to see who will be the first to claim the World Series title in the new millennium.
Garret Anderson Ken Hill Mo Vaughn
Chicago White Sox
James Baldwin Ray Durham Chris Singleton Frank Thomas
Harold Baines Albert Belle Delino DeShields Jerry Hairston Jr. Charles Johnson Wayne Kirby Derrick May Chuck McElroy Calvin Pickering
Boston Red Sox
Carl Everett Tom Gordon Tray O'Leary Darren Lewis Donnie Sadler
David Justice Kenny Lofton
Tony Clark Damion Easley
Kansas City Royals
Dermal Brown Jermaine Dye
Latroy Hawkins Torii Hunter Jacque Jones Matt Lawton
New York Yankees
Terrence Long Bo Porter
Mike Cameron Mark McLemore Arthur Rhodes
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Quinton McCracken Fred McGriff Bobby Smith Greg Vaughn Gerald Williams Randy Winn
Royce Clayton Darren Oliver
Toronto Blue Jays
Jacob Brumfield Shannon Stewart
Bernard Gilkey Lenny Harris Stephen Randolph Junior Spivey Tony Womack
Brian Jordan George Lombard Reggie Sanders Everett Stull
Damon Buford Willie Greene Glenallen Hill Eric Young
Travis Dawkins Ken Griffey Jr. …