ESPN the Magazine MLB Preview Issue

From ESPN, we get a preview of this week’s ESPN the Magazine with the annual MLB preview issue.

Step away from March Madness, NBA trade drama and the Peyton Manning saga. Our national pastime is back! With Opening Day fast approaching, ESPN The Magazine’s MLB Preview Issue, on newsstands Friday, March 23, offers a wide array of content to help get fans ready for the season.

Most fans probably think all baseballs are alike. But players know that each one has a distinctive feel, a subtle change in the height of the seams, an infinitesimal difference in weight or circumference. The game of baseball is the same way: No two players or teams or games or ball fields are exactly alike. The Mag’s MLB Preview celebrates these differences.

San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum and Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw are equals on the mound but polar opposites off it. The Miami Marlins couldn’t be more nouveau while the Detroit Tigers couldn’t be more traditional. The Mag also takes a deeper look at coaches trying to fix pitching motions that are as distinctive as fingerprints and a hitter trying to repair his reputation. And no MLB Preview would be complete without traditional scouting reports (with highlights and nuances of each ballpark). Although The Mag cannot promise to be right about such predictions, one thing is clear: This season will be unlike any other.

MLB Preview Issue Features:

Anything You Can Do…
Tim Lincecum and Clayton Kershaw faced each other four times last year, and despite a 1.24 ERA, Lincecum lost all four starts. In the process, Kershaw snatched the Cy Young from Lincecum, who had won it two of the three previous years. The Mag takes a look at the growing rivalry between the West Coast’s two hottest young pitchers, who couldn’t be more different in their personalities and pitching style.
By Tim Keown

It’s Good to be a Tiger
With a Prince at the plate and the AL MVP on the mound, Detroit could have a year for the ages.

For the boys of Detroit, spring training in Tiger Town felt a little different this year — it felt a lot more like home. The Mag heads to camp in Lakeland, Florida, to explore the chemistry of the team since the addition of Prince Fielder.
By Steve Wulf

Force of Habit
When ace after ace blows an elbow from the same biomechanical flaw, Tommy John surgery keeps them in the game. But science, not the scalpel, is the real solution, according to The Mag. Too bad few MLB teams are paying attention.
By Lindsay Berra

The Grand Scheme
Thanks to a few huge free agent signings, a new manager with a big personality, and a flashy new stadium, the Marlins have gone all-in on 2012. And they had to, because after 20 years in Florida, the sport and team still haven’t caught on. If all these efforts aren’t enough to bring out the fans, maybe nothing will.
By Peter Richmond

Where Have You Gone, Garrett Wittels?
An image-damaging arrest nearly ended his Show dreams, but Garrett Wittels is on the rebound. When the 2010 college baseball season wound to a close, Wittels was nearing the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a hit, with countless fans following. Next he knew, he and two friends were arrested for rape in the Bahamas, and Wittels faced prison, bankruptcy and scorn from the MLB draft – until the case was dropped and the young star was cleared. Here, The Mag takes a look at his journey to get back on track.
By Siobahn Morrissey

Additional Highlights:

“A Walk through the Parks”: All 30 MLB teams’ stadiums broken down by ESPN’s Insiders.
The Fix: “Transition Game”: The Mag’s Chris Jones discusses the arrival of Bobby Valentine and the absence of Terry Francona, and how the drama facing the BoSox will be one for the books. What does Valentine have in common with Lyndon Johnson? Taking over as leader in a time of crisis. As Bobby V gears up in spring training, Jones explores this parallel.
The Mag’s Masters Preview takes a look at Augusta through the eyes of Tiger Woods and his every performance on the course. The findings? Holes 10, 11 and 12 are his make-or-breaks.

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