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March 26, 2012 | Volume 116, Issue 13

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Albert Pujols Cover - Sports Illustrated March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
4.37

March 26, 2012
By trading for an ace in Mat Latos, the Reds showed they're serious about getting back to the top of the NL Central. But unless they address the top of the order, the acquisition of Latos will be...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
0.52

March 26, 2012
If you're going to commit $15 million a year to your catcher because he's a great defensive player who controls the running game, you better maximize that value. In that spirit, the Cardinals...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
.727

March 26, 2012
Last year the Brewers benefited from extraordinarily good health, particularly among their pitchers: They used just six starters, and their top five made all but seven starts. Given that their No....

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
3.69

March 26, 2012
When the Pirates selected Pedro Alvarez with the second pick in the 2008 draft, they thought he'd be holding down the cleanup spot by now. Instead, he's entering his third major league season with...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
3

March 26, 2012
New president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is undertaking a massive overhaul of the franchise. His next step should be to unload closer Carlos Marmol and the nearly $17 million left on his...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
.123

March 26, 2012
The Astros are in full rebuilding mode, and that means maximizing the trade value of their veterans. The decision to make Brett Myers the closer, therefore, has to be reversed. Myers is a durable...

March 26, 2012 | BEN REITER
Five teams, four elite players: The division is home to the league's best catcher, rightfielder, centerfielder and shortstop. One of them will carry the Giants to the top

March 26, 2012 | BEN REITER
MVP

March 26, 2012 | BEN REITER
BEST CASE

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
0.59

March 26, 2012
One of the biggest strategic shortcomings of the Giants' 2011 season was manager Bruce Bochy's handling of Brandon Belt. The first baseman, the one hitter on the team who might have made up for...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
56

March 26, 2012
The Diamondbacks' decision to sign free-agent outfielder Jason Kubel was a head-scratcher to some. Incumbent leftfielder Gerardo Parra, 24, not only had a .292/.357/.427 line and went 15 for 16 on...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
10

March 26, 2012
By adding Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano to a staff that already included Ted Lilly, the Dodgers now have three predominantly fly ball pitchers in their starting rotation. Throw in Clayton...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
4.54

March 26, 2012
The Rockies rebuilt their pitching staff this winter in part by trading for two inexperienced starters who don't strike out many men and take divergent approaches to getting hitters out....

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
16.0

March 26, 2012
One of the core principles of lineup construction is to get the highest OBP possible out of the leadoff spot. That was a problem for the Padres last year, when seven players—mostly Will Venable,...

March 26, 2012 | JANE LEAVY
RED SOX PITCHER FRANK SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE WITTIEST OF ALL LAMENTS ABOUT THE PERILS OF PITCHING TO MICKEY MANTLE. HE GAVE UP ENOUGH HOME RUNS TO KNOW

March 26, 2012 | JANE LEAVY
"Sully and the Mick" is from DAMN YANKEES: Twenty-Four Major League Writers on the World's Most Loved (and Hated) Team, edited by Rob Fleder and published by Ecco.

March 26, 2012 | JANE LEAVY
Of Mickey Mantle's 536 career home runs, seven were off pitches thrown by Frank Sullivan, and five of those contributed to Yankees victories over the Red Sox. Here's a partial box score for each...

March 26, 2012 | PHIL TAYLOR
Like most people, I've been checking my brackets. I don't mean my NCAA tournament brackets; the teams I had penciled into the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight, such as Duke, Missouri and UNLV, fell so...

March 26, 2012
After reading through the litany of misdeeds and internal issues that coach Ben Howland seemed to overlook while watching his UCLA program decline, I couldn't help but think of one of John...

March 26, 2012
[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

March 26, 2012
Which team has impressed you the most in the NCAA tournament so far?

March 26, 2012
"If you're Tim tebow r u offended? Or is it kinda like giving your spouse a pass to cheat if someone on their list was actually interested?"

March 26, 2012 | TERRY MCDONELL
BORN IN Boston, growing up in Northampton, Mass., nine-year-old Nate Gordon—tall for his age and not especially shy—surprised no one when he announced his life plan from the stage at his...

March 26, 2012 | RICHARD HOFFER
Remember Linsanity? How about Tebowmania? These days, even the best stories get old fast

March 26, 2012 | RICHARD HOFFER
The owner of the Arena Football League's Pittsburgh Power cut his entire team two hours before its season opener, during a pregame meal at an Olive Garden, after the players announced they would...

March 26, 2012
HOT: SUPER MARIOS

March 26, 2012
| WON |

March 26, 2012
3

March 26, 2012
In L.A., the fashionable face mask. Kobe Bryant has been wearing one since breaking his nose on Feb. 26. And last week Chris Paul adopted a shield after a nasal fracture. (He even made a replica...

March 26, 2012
Should the NHL ban fighting?

March 26, 2012 | Peter King
Ending weeks of speculation, the game's top free agent followed his heart to Denver

March 26, 2012 | Dan Greene
A former Buckeyes walk-on takes a humorous look at big-time college hoops

March 26, 2012 | Dan Greene
"If Pelé thinks he's the Beethoven of football, then I'm Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards and Bono."

March 26, 2012
It wasn't quite the Decision, but Dwight Howard's five-month flirtation with exiting Orlando was nonetheless filled with flipping and flopping, culminating in a shocking change of heart last...

March 26, 2012 | Bobby Ghosh
On March 16, Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian cricketer known as the Little Master for his diminutive stature and oversized accomplishments, reached a very big landmark, getting his 100th score of 100...

March 26, 2012 | Edited by ALEXANDRA FENWICK
SHABAZZ MUHAMMAD

March 26, 2012 | Lars Anderson
Wisconsin-Whitewater makes a splash, adding the D-III hoops title to its football crown

March 26, 2012 | DAN PATRICK
DON MATTINGLY

March 26, 2012 | TIM LAYDEN
HIGHER SEEDS DOMINATED THE OPENING WEEKEND, BUT A TRIO OF FANTASTIC UPSETS REMINDED US HOW SUBLIME MARCH CAN BE

March 26, 2012 | KELLI ANDERSON
Coming off three straight 20-loss seasons for the first time in school history, Indiana returns to the Sweet 16

March 26, 2012 | ALBERT CHEN
Facing the possibility of being knocked out by another unheralded tourney foe, Kansas responded down the stretch and now has dead aim on New Orleans

March 26, 2012 | TOM VERDUCCI
AFTER THE GREATEST 11-YEAR OPENING A HITTER HAS EVER HAD, ALBERT PUJOLS IS STARTING OVER WITH THE ANGELS. HOW CAN HIS NEXT DECADE POSSIBLY MATCH UP WITH THE LAST? IT ALL STARTS WITH A DAILY SEARCH...

March 26, 2012
ON AVERAGE, 38% OF BIG LEAGUERS LAND ON THE DISABLED LIST EACH SEASON, THEIR BATTING PRACTICE AND BULLPEN SESSIONS REPLACED BY REST AND REHAB. THIS YEAR SOME BIG NAMES ARE MAKING COMEBACKS AFTER...

March 26, 2012
The new postseason setup, sleeper teams, future free agents and ballpark birthdays: everything you need to know for 2012—starting with a change in the balance of power

March 26, 2012
POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS

March 26, 2012 | ALBERT CHEN
What makes the game's fiercest division even fiercer? Try a fourth team capable of winning 90. The Yankees and the Rays are the teams to beat, but the Jays are back in the picture

March 26, 2012 | ALBERT CHEN
MVP

March 26, 2012 | ALBERT CHEN
BEST CASE

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
20

March 26, 2012
The Yankees have a terrific offense: They were second in the AL in runs last year, led the league in homers and walks, finished second in OBP and third in slugging. And yet there are steps they...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
22

March 26, 2012
One piece the Rays didn't have last year was a multi-inning reliever: Manager Joe Maddon ran a matchup bullpen filled with short relievers, so everyone who made at least 15 relief appearances...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
425

March 26, 2012
When the Red Sox, in an effort to free room under the luxury-tax threshold, traded shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Rockies, they left themselves with no true starting shortstop. Just three players...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
56.9

March 26, 2012
The Blue Jays are edging closer to being a threat in the AL East, as their young talent blossoms at the major league level. So it's strange to suggest that they should trade some of that youth to...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
5.31

March 26, 2012
For the Orioles, 2012 begins with considerably less optimism than did '11, which ended with 90 losses for the sixth straight year. Baltimore has to return to focus on a team built around Matt...

March 26, 2012 | TED KEITH
The Tigers already had a stranglehold on their weakened division—and then they added Prince Fielder. While Detroit plans for October, the rest of the Central races for second

March 26, 2012 | TED KEITH
MVP

March 26, 2012 | TED KEITH
BEST CASE

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
97

March 26, 2012
The plan for the Tigers is to hit their two big bats, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, third and fourth, with Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch atop the lineup. This is the way lineups have been...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
25.8

March 26, 2012
The Royals made news last month by signing catcher Salvador Perez, who has just two months in the big leagues, to a five-year deal with team options that could lock him up through 2019. Despite...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
.475

March 26, 2012
As the Indians work around Chris Perez's oblique injury—the closer may not return until mid-April—they can make one change that would significantly help their bullpen: broaden the role of Rafael...

March 26, 2012
ENEMY LINES

March 26, 2012
.185

March 26, 2012
The Twins' plan is failing at Target Field. In 2011, Minnesota was last in the AL in pitcher strikeouts and last at turning balls in play into outs. You can be bad at one of those things and...

March 26, 2012
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