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Hey, it's something. Also, the Giants traded pitcher Joe Nathan to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski, possibly opening the Joe Mauer era in Minnesota. The Twins also picked up Boof Bonser, who had been passed by Jesse Foppert, Jerome Williams, and Kurt Ainsworth on the Giants depth chart, and Francisco Liriano, a pitcher who I know nothing about. Maybe I missed some stuff, but that about sums up the GM meetings. Is it me or did these kinds of meetings used to be fun? Now it's Questec, steroid/drug use, and far too much Bud Selig and Don Fehr, whereby "far too much" means "any."
A while ago, Twins blogger Seth Stohs wanted to identify which players had the best stats at the lowest cost, so he divided OPS by salary. That article got so much response, it spawned today's Bang For The Buck - The Remix, featuring tables like Win Shares per Million and RARP/Million. Seth, who admits he's no sabremetrician but welcomes feedback, then combines four different metrics for his final tally. The biggest bargain? Marcus Giles, by any yardstick. Vernon Wells earned his salary, too. Fun stuff; I'd like to see the team numbers.
And so does the Score Bard, the funniest and most creative blogger on the Net. If you haven't read his Random Diamond Notes Generator or his playoff haiku, then you've been missing out on some amazing baseball-related wordplay that does more than just border on genius. His latest creation, the Periodic Table of Blogs, includes our very own Batter's Box! We're indexed under beryllium, which I'm told is a metallic lead-grey element whose metal can be obtained by electrolysis of molten beryllium dichloride containing some sodium chloride. Remarkably, that was also how I was described in my high school yearbook. Visit the Score Bard today and forward his URL to friends who'll appreciate his work.
Richard Griffin checks in with a timely report from the GM meetings in Phoenix, where there was rain, but at least no sleet or wind. Here's his assessment of the new, post-ARod marketplace:

For the first time since the inglorious era of collusion, ownership appears to be firmly in control of the free-agent market. Supply exceeds demand. In a 15-day period following the conclusion of the World Series, more than 200 players filed for free agency. That's the equivalent of eight full major-league rosters. Astonishing! They will be joined in the next 37 days by over 100 additional artificially created free agents — arbitration-eligible players not tendered contracts by the Dec. 20 deadline.

Bingo. Owners may be slow, and they may be stupid too, but even they've finally gotten the message that Sandy Alderson and company have been banging into their heads for years: the only people you're bidding against are yourselves, and you're strangling your own marketplace by refusing to non-tender your marginal players. The Blue Jays got a one-year headstart on the competition with their foresight, but that's all. Though it may be wise to wait out the market and see who's still available come January, my sense is that JP normally targets the guys he wants and gets them early. How slow or fast he moves this off-season on names like Tom Gordon and Pat Hentgen will reveal whether his approach this year leans one way or another.
With the Blue Jays gearing up for a new logo and uniform next season, we should remember that love or hate the new look, nothing will compare to the '70s powder-blue soccer-style outfits that Dave Stieb and Jesse Barfield were forced to wear. And that brings us to the subject of the worst uniforms in all sports, the subject of a very fun elimination bracket over at ESPN2. The contestant uniforms were all worn during the 2003 season, which explains why there's no classic Astros or Canucks outfits in the bracket (though they cheated, I think, by using a throwback Pirates uniform from a Retro Day this season). For my money, the final should be the Seattle Seahawks versus the San Diego Padres, but that's because I don't think anyone looks good in green unless their first name is Jolly. Cast your votes today!
I've been hoping all year I could use that headline, and now I can: Eric Gagné of Montreal has easily captured the National League Cy Young Award, doubling the point total of second-place finisher Jason Schmidt. Normally I abhor giving relievers the award for best pitcher when they usually throw less than half the innings starters do, but I can't complain about this choice. Gagné's mind-boggling line looks like this: 2-3, 1.20 ERA, 55 saves in 55 chances, 82 IP, 37 H, 20 BB, 137 K. My question: is this not the best season ever posted by a reliever? And where does it stack up among the best pitching seasons of all time? Félicitations, Eric!
There's nothing here about free agents, prospects, stats or awards. It is about baseball, if only as a lifeline for damaged children. It's also personal.

Kudos to Joe Torre, whose new Safe At Home Foundation is promoting education to help break the cycle of domestic violence. There is a fundraising dinner in New York this evening, hosted by Billy Crystal, with Norah Jones performing and Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, Bernie Williams and Yogi Berra among the guests. Even if you can't afford the silent auction for items like a Bruce Springsteen guitar and a date for lunch and golf with Torre and Rudy Giuliani, you might want to make a donation at via PayPal.
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No real surprises in the Manager of the Year races, and no tight finishes either: Tony Pena's run with the Royals netted him the AL award, easily outdistancing second-place Ron Gardenhire, while Florida' s Jack McKeon made a lot of voters look smart with his World Series win, since they'd already voted him the NL award by a large margin over Dusty Baker. Carlos Tosca garnered a single second-place award, perhaps from a close family member, while someone devoted a third-place ballot to Alan Trammel, presumably on the belief that the Tigers would have lost 130 games with a different guy in charge. So far as I know, managers don't receive bonuses for winning this award as players do for the MVP or Cy. The only time you'll hear of this award after today is as the inevitable ironic observation after the manager is fired about 18 months from now.
This is a test feature, gentlemen, so use it or lose it. "Two Minutes In The Box" is for hockey talk on any subject, no set topics, no restrictions except decorum and good taste - if such a thing applies in the hockey world.

If there is demand, it will continue to make an occasional appearance when one of us feels like posting it. When pitchers and catchers report, don't expect to see it... our minds will be elsewhere. :)

Many, many thanks to sabermetric guru Tangotiger for the genesis of this idea.
A researcher on the Retrosheet mailing list had asked for the PBP and boxscore of Roger Maris's 61st home run. The PBP files for the 1961 season aren't ready yet, but Retrosheet guru David Smith pulled it out in a flash. It's posted here as a historical curiosity - in the knowledge that the best Batter's Box discussions often come from unlikely sources.
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After a horrible start, Russ Adams has really turned it on in the Arizona Fall League, raising his average 150 points and drawing 9 walks against just 8 strikeouts in 79 AB (3 steals in 4 tries, too). This profile of Adams by Jonathan Mayo at the MLB Website gives some interesting insight into the organization's appraisal of Adams: among other things, JP Ricciardi is quite happy with the skill set Adams has displayed and isn't yet ready to move him off shortstop. The AFL season itself is in its final week, and early returns on Jays prospects seem to favour the hitters: Adams, Dominic Rich and Tyrell Godwin have all had fine performances in the desert. Less fortunate are the pitchers: Cam Reimers (1-1, 4.44 ERA, 9 K in 24 IP), Pete Bauer (1-1, 5.59, 24 H in 19 IP) and Jordan DeJong (1-0, 7.41, 11 BB in 17 IP) have enjoyed themselves rather less. Gabe Gross impressed in his brief sojourn with the we-hardly-knew-ye USA Olympic Squad, .343/.395/.686 in just 35 AB.
Roy Halladay won the AL Cy Young Award. No details yet.
There will be a lot of talk today, from people who were far too young to remember the valour and sacrifices of the Great War and the Global War, about how young people of today aren't up to the task of defending their country like their grandparents and great-grandparents were. Scott Radley of the Hamilton Spectator, interviewing Global War veteran and former Toronto Maple Leaf Stanley Cup winner Gaye Stewart, injects some posionous commentary of his own on that topic today [no link available, website is subscribers-only].
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At this writing, the announcement of the 2003 American League Cy Young Award is less than 10 minutes away ... and according to Jayson Stark, Toronto's Roy Halladay is primed to win it.

There's been a bit of discussion on that point here on Da Box this year. To review:

March 11: Cy's the Limit?
March 11: Why Roy Halladay Won't Win the 2003 Cy Young Award
July 31: Is There a Cy for Doc?
September 22: Cy Guys
September 23: Cy Halladay? Baker, Griffin Offer Thoughts

And here's the late-breaking news ...
Halladay Wins! Interesting to note that the headline on's story mentions Loiaza ... but not Halladay. Headline at this writing: Loaiza a Distant Second
Surprise, surprise. With the elimination of the mighty Americans, the door opened a crack and Canada took advantage. They destroyed the Mexicans 11-1, who had edged out the U.S. in the quarterfinals.

The utter injustice of selecting only 2 nations from the Americas to participate makes the Olympic baseball tournament a sham. It would be like the World Cup (of soccer) including only 6 European nations (presently about 17 make it). After Cuba and Japan, Canada must now be considered a favourite for a medal with Australia, Taiwan and Korea the only other likely candidates.

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