An around-the-bases look at the 2013 major league season that will start Sunday when the Texas Rangers visit the Houston Astros, the newly minted American League Astros:
1: Glam slam in Los Angeles! Josh Hamilton joined Albert Pujols and Mike Trout in a juicy Angels lineup; Zack Greinke zeroed in on the Dodgers.
Other top winter destinations: Toronto (R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle) and Boston (Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli).
2: A half-dozen new managers. Terry Francona (Cleveland), John Farrell (Boston), Mike Redmond (Miami), Bo Porter (Houston) and John Gibbons (Toronto), plus, the most intriguing hire: Former shortstop Walt Weiss goes from high school coach to big league skipper in Colorado.
3: Tigers slugger Victor Martinez was injured for all of 2012. Mariano Rivera, Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista also finished on the disabled list. Theyre back, along with Derek Jeter and Carl Crawford.
Well have to wait to see Hanley Ramirez, David Wright and Mark Teixeira; they got hurt at the World Baseball Classic.
4: The Astros shift from the NL to the AL leaves 15 teams in each league. Thatll mean an interleague game most every day. The new-wave scheduling will start Monday when the Angels visit Cincinnati in a decidedly nontraditional opener.
5: With a team payroll matching Alex Rodriguezs salary and coming off 107 losses, Houston could be way out of its league. A possible result: AL West opponents might feast on the Astros, run up win totals and produce both wild cards.
6: Nearly 100 sets of siblings have teamed up in big league history. The Alomars, the Boones, the Ripkens heck, three Alous once formed the starting outfield for the Giants. Next up, B.J. and Justin Upton for the Braves. Their parents will keep a watchful eye; they already have season tickets at Turner Field.
7: No additional replay this year. Baseball still is trying to decide what to review (out or safe at first base?), which video technology to use and who should make the call.
Stand by for 2014. Maybe.
8: Fans in Washington still wonder how far they couldve gone last year if Stephen Strasburg didnt get shut down. Theres no innings limit on the ace now, as the Nats try to bring the World Series to D.C.
San Francisco, meanwhile, aims to win the title for the third time in four years.
9: RBIs vs. VORP. ERA vs. BABIP. The Miguel Cabrera-Mike Trout MVP race ramped up the rhetoric between new stats such as Value Over Replacement Player and Batting Average on Balls in Play and old values such as Runs Batted In and Earned Run Average. Both sides dug in; the arguments got louder; the insults intensified. A little more listening, a lot less yelling might show theres plenty of middle ground.
10: Get your tickets now for the Mariano Rivera Farewell Tour. Go see Mo and leave with a memory. Many opposing hitters already got souvenirs splinters of their bats he shattered with that cut fastball.