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The Box is not the only baseball web site with a new and improved look. RotoWorld, already my pick as the class of the fantasy reference league, is looking svelte with a tidied-up look, better navigation, and less prominent advertising.

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The Blue Jays staff were out in force last night as the caravan's rolled into Syracuse and Manchester to promote the upcoming season. JP talked Blue Jays and Red Sox in Manchester. The Syracuse caravan featured Marty Pevey, the new manager with a more "rah rah" attitude, and stories on local pitchers Scott Cassidy and Mark Lukasiewicz.
Many of our loyal readers read Moneyball in 2003. If you did not read it you have heard it discussed here many times. JP Ricciardi worked with Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta in Oakland, and although JP had left when Michael Lewis was writing the book, JP's philosophy is closely aligned with Oakland's front office.

Some criticisms of Moneyball suggested that Michael Lewis did not get all of his facts straight, that he embellished certain stories for dramatic effect. So what is the truth?

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No doubt about it, getting exposure in Batter's Box is the key to securing work in major-league baseball. Just kidding, of course -- Josh Boyd, who gave us an extensive overview of the Blue Jays' minor-league system just weeks ago, has long had great credibility within the game, which is one reason why he's left his position as National Writer for Baseball America to join the San Diego Padres as an area scout, responsible for the Eastern Seaboard area. As Gerry McDonald, who reported the news, observed wryly: "We got him to talk just in time." Batter's Box sends its best wishes to Josh in his new position.
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The Blue Jays 2003 print advertising campaign, prepared by Toronto agency MacLaren McCann, won the 2004 National Sports Forum ADchievement Award last week in Chicago as the best in sports. The other finalists, from more than 100 submissions, were the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Toledo Mud Hens, Ohio State University and Russell Athletic. Jim Bloom, the club's Director of Consumer Marketing, says, "The Baseball North campaign was designed to strike a chord and connect Toronto fans with the players and the team. The success of the creative arranged through MacLaren McCann was validated by increased game attendance, as well as a surge in television ratings and traffic on To have an award of this nature to cap off these results is quite an honour."
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In the Story on Cory thread, Dave Till wrote this:

I'm wondering whether pitchers traded to Toronto tend to go into shock when confronted with the SkyDome in April. Balls tend to fly out of the park when the roof is closed and the heat is on. An established pitcher, when he realizes that some of his routine fly balls are carrying over the left-field fence, may become discombobulated.

So, I thought I would investigate what I like to call the ShockDome factor.
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The site's tagline says, "Baseball news and analysis from a Canadian perspective," so we would be remiss if we didn't keep one eye firmly fixed on the Mary Celeste of major-league baseball, the Montreal Expos. The 'Spos are in the news today because RDS, Quebec's all-sports station and sister to TSN, will televise 20 games this season -- a pittance for most teams, but a gasp of breath for the Expos, who had only 14 games on RDS last season and were otherwise televisually unavailable here unless they happened to be playing the Braves, Cubs or Blue Jays.
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Updated 03-15-05: Repaired all outdated links.

This article is a review of web sites offering Major League Baseball player statistics in the form of individual player cards. Fifteen distinct sites are compared on the basis of which stats are presented and what features they include (such as split stats, minor league stats, transaction information). Individual site summaries give a brief overview of what is notable and unique about each site.
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Here's a pinch hit from regular Batter's Box reader Will Rainey:

For my first effort at an original contribution to Da Box, I present for your consideration an overview of "the ones who got away." One of the spinoff benefits of Leigh Sprague's magnificent overview of the Jays trade history is the ability to examine that history from a variety of angles. One of those angles is the history of the involvement of "prospects" in these trades.
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John Gizzi is not the kind of person to walk away from a job that pays a free fantasy team every year. I'm a journalist. So I've returned to write twice a week for ESPN, something that gets harder each week, but also something that is supposed to look good on a resume.

It seems they want us to start earlier every year, this time around being February, so I've posted my first update of the new season. While Kent has abandoned his post as Blue Jays fantasy correspondent -- making the rest of us look that much better and worse at the same time -- Scott Lucas and I are continuing our work for the World Wide Leader. For those of you unfamiliar with ESPN's fantasy correspondents, Scott covers the Rangers while I handle the A's.

And don't worry; I won't do this each time I update. But Lucas and a few other correspondents are worth reading each time they write a new column. I'd like to think that I am, too. Enjoy.
Only 76 messages at the last hijack central, but it was starting to drop well down the page, so let's start a new one.

Isn't Karros the kind of player we would rail at the Pirates and Tigers and Royals for signing? Unlike if one of those teams signed him, however, Karros won't likely be counted on for much in Oakland -- a good thing, since he won't provide much. A Karros/Scott Hatteberg platoon is a fabulous idea -- at least it would have been five years ago. The A's have assembled, at this point, a HOF-calibre pitching staff to go along with a Tigeresque lineup. It will be an interesting year in Oakland, considering how improved the Angels figure to be.
This has already been posted as a comment, but to get it the extra attention it deserves (and to facilitate linking by some interested parties - thanks guys) we are presenting some research by Mike Green on Cory Lidle. Thanks Mike!
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It's Groundhog Day, and you know what that means ... it's time for 2004 pre-season nominations for the Annual Batter's Box Joaquin Andujar Award. The player who will eventually be awarded the 2004 Andujar will be the epitome, in retrospect, of a low-risk, high-reward transaction. (If those two sentences sound Bill Murray-esque Groundhog Day familiar, well they should.)

Batter's Box authors and readers are invited to cast their ballots for the top five pre-season candidates for the 2004 Andujar. Points will be tabulated on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis and balloting will close at midnight on Monday, February 23, at which time the pre-season list will be published.

To win an Andujar ...
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"Baseball's strongest division," says Peter Gammons in his latest column about the American League East, and who could disagree? Peter talks briefly about the Jays and how they're poised to be contenders for the next several years, and but for the fact he calls Guillermo Quiroz "Francisco," he's certainly correct. It's encouraging that the "concerns" he raises for the Jays include minor things like fifth starters and fourth outfielders -- nothing major, and frankly I'm more concerned about the left side of the infield and regression by Reed Johnson.
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Lurch, the athlete-turned-ballplayer, was impossible not to root for, and at times nearly impossible to watch. I hope he can consolidate himself in Tampa Bay; he's a hard worker and nice fellow, and if he can learn to trust his stuff and avoid getting too predictable, he still may have some success.

Please share your memories of Mark Hendrickson in this thread.