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Welcome to the 2014 MLB season

The cover for Newsday's 2014 baseball preview section,

The cover for Newsday's 2014 baseball preview section, which will run in the Sunday, March 30, 2014 edition of Newsday. Credit: Newsday

The arrival of the baseball season is a time for firsts, even in a year that will be defined by one distinguished “last.’’

Derek Jeter established the template for 2014 when he announced that he will retire at the end of it. So our annual Baseball Preview section is here to reflect on a career that is destined for Cooperstown — and we reflect on the destination, too.

But first things first. With the end approaching, we focus on Jeter’s earliest days in the major leagues back in 1995, and on how much the Yankees and the baseball universe have changed since then.

Meanwhile, there is a season to play, and the 40-page newspaper section (linked here for stories online) is a comprehensive first glimpse. The Yankees made bold moves to get back on top, but they enter the season with some questions. Not the least of this is how they will do without Mariano Rivera, whose farewell was the theme of 2013. An in-depth look at the Mets goes this way: The consensus says they are improved; the issue is, how much?

We cover those bases, and add analysis, predictions, features and our annual seminar, Baseball 101. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Hall of Fame, where the debate in recent years has been more about who is out than who is in. It is a bit different in 2014, though, with Joe Torre leading a class of high-profile inductees. Anticipating the occasion, we offer the 101 Best Things to See at the Hall of Fame, with “best’’ referring to the items that reveal baseball’s heart and soul.

The entire preview section aims to do that very same thing. The idea is to tell you about baseball, to help you be part of it  . . . and to be among the first to welcome the season.

(Registered newsday.com users can view the newspaper version of the baseball preview online with our e-edition at newsday.com/eedition.)

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