Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Part 1 of the Mike Wilner Interview

Most Batter's Box denizens will be familiar with the work of Mike Wilner. Studio host of the Blue Jays radio broadcasts on the FAN radio network, Mike's work goes out across the country before and after every Jays game. He was kind enough to sit down a few weeks ago to answer some questions from Batter's Box. In Part One, we learned about the path to becoming a broadcaster, and a bit about the job. Today, Mike gives us a closer look at this current Blue Jays organization, from the GM to the bullpen coach.
[More] (1,678 words)

Florida Marlins at Chicago Cubs, 8 PM ET (Game 1)

Both teams' offences are righthander-heavy. This is an advantage for the Cubbies, since all their starters will be righties, while lefties are scheduled to start Games 3,4 and 7 (unless McKeon starts Carl Pavano) for Florida.

The only lefthanded hitters we'll see on a regular basis are Kenny Lofton (Cubs), Juan Pierre (Marlins), and the switch hitter Luis Castillo (Marlins). Lefthanded hitting Paul Bako might catch Kerry Wood, and Randall Simon will make a few appearances for the Cubs. The rest of the starting lineups will feature righthanded hitters. It will be a tall order for the Fish to score runs in this series.

[More] (348 words)
As expected, the Bay Area media is having their jollies at the expense of both the As and Giants. Below are some selections.

Columnist Ray Ratto's take.

Beat writer Susan Slusser's piece.

Scott Ostler takes both the A's and Giants to task.

Ratto's column resonates most with me -- anything I could add would merely repeat what Ratto says -- and at any rate I'm too tired and bitter to say much more than "I know you are frustrated last night, but just shut up, Beane." (You'll know what I mean when you read the article, and don't worry: I'll get over this soon and be my usual pleasant self. Er, you know what I mean.) But Ratto also says "Shut up, Billy" far better than I could -- even though Ray is just another frustrated journalist lashing out at Beane, of course.

Very likely it's just Bob Elliott looking for filler copy, but the prospect of Cito Gaston managing the White Sox is an intriguing one. The ChiSox appear ready to collect a bunch of veterans and make a strong push for the division flag next year, and few managers are better suited to a veteran team than Gaston. Nonetheless, I wonder if too much time hasn't passed since Cito held the managerial reins; even in five or six years, a lot has changed in how to manage a winning ballclub. And speaking of ex-Glory Jays, here's a nice if somewhat over-the-top piece on Pat Gillick too.

My thanks to Robert, Dave, Mike and everyone else who've kept BB hopping these past few days while Kent, Craig and I have all been largely incommunicado for one reason or another. We aim to have more new features for you soon; starting on Wednesday, look for a multi-part interview with Blue Jays Scouting Director Jon Lalonde. And next Monday, the 2004 Minor-League Review finally arrives: a week-long series of analyses of each level of the Jays' system. And there's still more in store for the off-season; keep Da Box bookmarked.
Boston at Oakland, 8:00 PM ET (Game 5)

First, let me commend Robert, whose playoff work to date has been terrific, but I thought I would lead the game thread tonight, though I will be too nervous and involved with the game to comment on it while it is in progress. Ill leave the various pre-game machinations and statistical innuendo to and other sites, and instead I will ask one question: Just what is at stake here, as the As tryfor a ninth timeto close out an ALDS? In short, everything.
[More] (549 words)

Oakland Athletics at Boston Red Sox, 1 PM ET (Game 4)

Tim Hudson starts on 3 days rest - the second pitcher in this year's post-season to do so. Conventional wisdom supposes that a sinkerball pitcher doesn't need a lot of rest between starts, and Hudson threw only 106 pitches on Wednesday.

The Athletics should be celebrating a sweep today, but instead will have to deal with John Burkett. I'm not a big fan of Burkett - he always seemed to me like a pitcher who was reasonably effective only against weaker lineups. Prediction: Oakland 6 Boston 3.

[More] (371 words)

Chicago Cubs at Atlanta, 7:30 PM ET (Game 5)

Great offence has made a comeback - evening up both this and the Oakland-Boston series. When Kerry Wood can't locate with his off-speed stuff, he tend to have problems. We saw him lose his release point in the 8th inning of Game One. Mike Hampton will have to navigate through a lineup that hits lefthanders very well and he'll be pitching on 3 days' rest. If I were a Braves fan, I'd wish Greg Maddux were starting this game.

[More] (340 words)

New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins, 4 PM ET (Game 4)

With Johan Santana at home (provided he's healthy), the Twins should have an edge today. But if the Twins are behind after the 7th it's likely to be all over, as I expect Rivera to come in and get the 6-out save. I'm pulling for the Twins to win and take their chances in Yankee Stadium. It would be great to see the Yankees lose the series in their home ballpark.

[More] (347 words)
OK, I'm back. What did I miss?

By way of explanation for my absence, it's been a very tough week. The courageous Mrs. Coach had three operations on her left eye. Monday, it was scleral buckle surgery to reattach her retina. Tuesday morning, even a layman like me could tell it hadn't gone perfectly. They had to inject (yes, a needle in the eye; yes, she was awake) a gas bubble to reposition everything, then do it again to relieve the pressure because they had put in too much. On Wednesday, still not satisfied, the doctors decided on a laser procedure, which fortunately, seems to be working, though it may be weeks or even months before we know how effectively.

Meanwhile, I've been crippled by back pain, which often flares up in times of stress. We spent a lot of time in bed this week -- it wasn't as much fun as it sounds -- while our kids and our friends looked after us. I was able to watch quite a bit of baseball, but couldn't sit up to write about it. Robert has done a magnificent job with the playoff previews, and I hope to be an active participant in those threads today. First, I have a few questions about what's happened so far, and what might happen today, if anyone has answers.
[More] (660 words)

Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics, 7:30 PM ET (game 3)

Here's one for armchair managers. Do you start the lefthander Ted Lilly in Fenway Park against a potent Boston lineup, or do you go with the inexperienced fireballer Rich Harden? Personally, I don't think experience (or lack thereof) is as important as going with the pitcher who's best equiped to succeed in a given environment: I would have gone with Harden.

[More] (275 words)
Cast your ballots! If you're already a BP subscriber, just log in. If not, you can register for a free "basic" subscription to become eligible to vote.
Wow. It doesn't get much better than that. So said Cristian, in his post commenting on the brilliant Game 1 between Boston and Oakland. The quesion is, does it get any better than that?

In a series of articles that will run through the playoffs, I'll pay tribute to the history of postseason baseball. Stay tuned for the Ten Greatest Division Series Games Of All-Time; The Twenty-Five Greatest Championship Series Games of All-Time; and the Fifty Greatest World Series Games of All-Time.

[More] (136 words)

Atlanta Braves at Chicago Cubs, 4 PM ET (Game 4)

Russ Ortiz against Matt Clement is the most favourable pitching match-up for the Braves in this series. Even if the Braves win, Mike Hampton against Kerry Wood isn't a matchup Bobby Cox should like. When the Braves chose Hampton to start game 2 instead of Maddux, it decreased the number of potential righthanded starters the Cubs will have to face this series.

[More] (309 words)
New York Yankees at Minnesota Twins, 1 PM ET (Game 3)

Since Robert hasn't posted a thread for the New York/Minnesota game, here's one.