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No Dexy's Midnight Runners this morning, but please say hi to Eileen for me, Mick!

So what's in the ol' paper pile this morning?
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Here's the Milwaukee Brewers preview for 2004.
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While I am still reeling from Mike Williams' decision to leave USC, I can take comfort knowing that in one week -- one week! -- spring training games begin. I know they are useless in the big picture, but in the bigger-than-big picture they mean that the real games aren't far behind.

Enjoy your weekend, Canadians, Americans, Brits -- everyone. Yes, even Yankee fans.
As February winds to a close and spring training ramps up, let's take a look at the first of what will be 12 All-Star teams ... that's right, it's the All-February Team, made up entirely of players born in the shortest month. Next February, if time, energy and patience permit, we can play a tournament to determine the best of all months to be born if you want to play in The Show.

Now, first, there are nine Hall of Famers elected primarily for what they did as players who were born during February. These are Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner (ooh, pretty good start, huh?) ...
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As Opening Day draws inexorably closer, one's thoughts turn unavoidably to the greatest sports-related travel itineraries in North American sports: Baseball road trips.
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I'm Jonny G., and I don't own a TV.
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It was reported in the Globe and Mail today that Pete Walker's contract has been sold to the Yokohama BayStars of Japan's Central League.
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Can the Cubs reverse the Bartman Curse this season?
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Sorry kids, no Pixies or Haircut 100 references today. I do have some Jays articles, tho.
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Top prospect lists always catch my attention. Over the past few months I have seen lists from Baseball America, John Sickels, and yesterday Baseball Prospectus. I always check the lists to see how Blue Jay prospects rate and wonder if the Jays, as an organization, have a strong system. However my excitement is tempered by the knowledge that these lists, and organization rankings, have little meaning from a major league perspective. No matter how many "names" your team has on a list there are no guarantees. Many of us are excited with the thought of Alexis Rios, Guillermo Quiroz, Dustin McGowan and Gabe Gross becoming Blue Jay regulars by 2005. But then reality hits me upside the head saying "nothing is sure", and the realization that, on average, one or two of them will crash and burn.
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ESPN offers its first Power Rankings today and the Blue Jays merit ninth place. In Buster Olney's opinion, the "Jays will cause problems for the Red Sox and Yankees, but a couple of pitching injuries would be devastating."

The Jays' AL East foes New York and Boston top the list, followed by the Phillies and Cubs, with Detroit logically anchored at the bottom.

A few other thoughts:

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Only after you've read Jonny German's splendid piece on the Padres should you read what the local fishwrap is saying about the Jays. What are they saying about the Jays anyway?
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With 98 losses in 2003, the Padres have bottomed out and are ready to start rising to the top of the NL West.
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(This is the final installment of our conversation with the Jays reporter at Part One appeared Monday, Part Two yesterday.)
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(Second in a three-part series, concluding tomorrow. Part One appeared yesterday.)
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