Imagine the shock for an Atlanta Braves fan who spent the winter abroad without giving his favorite team a second thought.

Hey, that isn't Tom Glavine in a New York Mets uniform, is it? And what's the deal with Kevin Millwood wearing that Phillies cap? The new left-hander searching for his old velocity and command, that's not Mike Hampton, is it?

For that matter, any San Francisco fan who bid adieu to the Giants after Livan Hernandez got knocked around in Game 7 should be forgiven for wondering how many years it has been since that heart-breaking World Series.

Welcome to the new National League order, where there is little order at all.

The Braves have won 11 straight East titles, but they're not guaranteed a 12th, not with the Phillies and Mets raiding their pitching staff and general manager John Schuerholz taking a huge gamble on Hampton. St. Louis and Arizona remain favorites, but surprises are possible in the Central and West. The key story lines there are Jeff Kent's impact in Houston, the comebacks of Kevin Brown and Darren Dreifort in Los Angeles and the determination of San Francisco's management to win with Felipe Alou behind Dusty Baker's old desk.

Here's a look at each team, in order of finish from 2002.


St. Louis Cardinals
Last year: 97-65, 1st; beat Arizona in the first round, lost to San Francisco in the NLCS.
Manager: Tony La Russa.
Key addition: RHP Brett Tomko.
Key losses: LHP Chuck Finley, RHP Andy Benes, RHP Dave Veres.
Other moves: Added RHP Dustin Hermanson, C Joe Girardi, OF Orlando Palmeiro, OF Alex Ochoa, RHP Joey Hamilton, RHP Cal Eldred, RHP Todd Erdos, LHP Lance Painter, RHP Chris Carpenter, RHP John Snyder; lost RHP Rick White, RHP Luther Hackman, C Mike DiFelice, RHP Jamey Wright.
Big question: Are there enough quality pitchers among the 33 in camp to replace the four members of an already depleted playoff staff who are not returning?
Keep an eye on: RHP Jason Isringhausen. Cards' closer had shoulder surgery in October and will be handled carefully.

Houston Astros
Last year: 84-78, 2nd.
Manager: Jimy Williams.
Key addition: 2B Jeff Kent.