By Dan Shanoff
Page 2 columnist

As the baseball playoffs start up on Tuesday, we salute the sprinkle of 4 p.m. ET games on the schedule. As a proud sponsor of Office Sports Discussion, this list appreciates any sports event that cuts into the work day, causing normally productive employees to keep online scoreboards perpetually posted on their computer monitors, with trained trigger-fingers on the screen-swapping "ALT+TAB" buttons.

The strong possibility that you will end up in a baseball-playoff discussion with one of your co-workers -- not to mention a buddy or a significant other -- makes it all the more important to check out the list below. It's not built to win any arguments, but you may start a couple.

What's Hot, What's Not for 2002 baseball playoffs
Category Hot Not
Cap to be seen in Twins Braves
Managerial mind Art Howe Joe Torre
Celeb watch in stands Nelly Tawny Kitaen
Clutch closer
John Smoltz

Billy Koch
Rivalry Chavez-Giambi Bonds-Kent
Wily GM Beane Garagiola
Crazy-fans advantage

Jersey as fashion Miguel Tejada Luis Gonzalez
Place to catch homers New York Oakland
Starting pitching in five-game series Three-man rotation Four-man rotation
Manager in making
Curt Schilling

Jeff Kent
Bandwagon team to root for

Talent pipeline Dominican Republic Japan
Flamethrower Jason Schmidt Eric Milton
Ready to haunt old teams Tino Martinez (vs. Yankees) Ron Coomer (vs. Twins)
Fashion statement Ben Weber's goggles Shinjo's wrist/forearm bands
Darkhorse playoff MVP
Scott Hatteberg

Denny Hocking
"He's Due" clutch hitter Barry Bonds Derek Jeter
Marquee pitching match-up Randy Johnson vs. Matt Morris Joe Mays vs. anyone
Poised for national-spotlight breakout Corey Koskie Mike Remlinger
Cards pitcher with great storyline Post-retirement Andy Benes Pre-settlement Chuck Finley
Molina brother Bengie Jose
Ready to rebound from last year's playoffs Mark Mulder Mariano Rivera
Pitching staff

Distraction War Labor woes
Out pitch Zito's curveball Clemens' splitter
Music played before an at-bat Clipse Allison Krauss
Movie subject "The Kontraction Kids" "Ballistic: Boomer vs. Rocket"
Conventional wisdom Diamondbacks -- one-hit wonder Desert double-dip
Key injury watch Jacque Jones Craig Counsell
Pick to win it all


Dan Shanoff is a columnist for Page 2. His "What's Hot, What's Not" trend-spotting list appears Thursdays. Got inside scoop on an up-and-coming trend? Want to declare something passé? Send this glimpse of your hipness to