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Kansas City headed into 2004 coming off of a surprising 83-79 record. Hopes were high that the team would improve and challenge for the AL Central crown. However, those hopes didn't materialize as the team managed just 58 wins and saw Carlos Beltran leave town.
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Having been born in 1983, I became a baseball fan just in time to watch the Minnesota Twins win the World Series in 1991. It was, in fact, the very first World Series I remember watching. It was thrilling to see my team win, but certainly not quite as thrilling as if, say, I had been a fan of theirs for more than six months.
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When Mark Shapiro succeeded John Hart as General Manager of the Cleveland Indians in 2001, he was faced with a challenge. Hart had overseen several poor drafts and left the prospect cupboard nearly bare. By the time Shapiro took the job, the core of the Indians' championship teams was suffering from attrition - many of the old guard had left via free-agency or soon would. The Indians were at a crossroads: Would Shapiro continue to bring in veterans to prop up an aging core, or would he cash in his chips? Stay tuned.


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The K.C. Royals
Two Thousand and Four Preview
‘Building on Last Year’
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Despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth from White Sox supporters, the 2004 White Sox should be as good as the 2003 Sox. The departure of Bartolo Colon and Carl Everett will be offset by better seasons from Paul Konerko, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee, Joe Crede and Mark Buehrle.
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I sat the whole Batter's Box Roster down last month and we talked about the Tigers' chances in 2004 and beyond. This is the first of 30 team previews Batter's Box will be running over the next month or so.

Enjoy!

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Everything is coming together, it seems, for the Red Sox. David Ortiz has won the DH job, and he's flourished. The bullpen's roles have solidified, and they've flourished. Johnny Damon's been dropped in the order, and he's played better with less pressure. Can the Jays take them down a notch with a big weekend?

It'll be tough, and trotting out John Wasdin in the very ballpark where he earned his infamous nickname seems almost gratuitous. Similarly, Pedro Martinez against Kelvim Escobar (we'll call this edition "Rested Kelvim") will obviously also be a tough matchup. But I do like Halladay and Lowe this evening, provided the hitting switch can be flipped back on.

Meanwhile, the Jays get to trot out their shiny new outfielder/DH this weekend. It'll be interesting to see Carlos Tosca's lineup construction over the weekend.

On to the Advance Scout!
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