Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
I sometimes find it difficult to explain to people exactly what this site is. "It's an online community," I say, and invariably the reply comes back, "what do you mean?" I try to explain that it's a website that I write articles for, like a little magazine, only daily... but unlike a magazine, people congregate here and talk. It's not just one-way communication. It's more of a forum for discussion. Some of us who write for the site set the topic, but the conversations veer all sorts of ways, and they're all happening at once.

Little is more incomplete than an institution in search of an identity. Well, let us look no further. Like a bolt from the blue, an e-mail two weeks ago on the SABR-L list made me realize exactly what we are.

Batter's Box is a Peña.
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A place to discuss one of the more maligned but more interesting awards, the Manager of the Year in each league.
A place for discussing the Rookies of the Year for each league.

"A player shall be considered a rookie unless, during a previous season or seasons, he has (a) exceeded 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched in the major leagues; or (b) accumulated more than 45 days on the active roster of a major league club or clubs during the period of a 25-player limt (excluding time in the military service)."
Fight! Fight! Fight!

We can have our MVP arguments in this thread. No spitting, and no pepper games.

Here is the verbatim text of the letter that is sent to MVP voters, for your information (and for starting arguments)...
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An all-purpose thread (tough, hardy, and water-resistant to 30 metres) for doing what a lot of people will be doing this week... talking about the Cy Young Award candidates in both leagues.
Roy Halladay gets his 35th start of the season tonight, looking for his 22nd win. The win would snap the team record he currently shares with Jack Morris and Roger Clemens, but don't look for anything different from the usual from HLH. The line has him at +280 to win, so we can officially say "good odds".
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I am seizing the reins, and beginning on behalf of Batter's Box what I hope will become an annual tradition.

This is our Blue Jays "Players Of The Year" awards, which will be voted by the fans of the team. One award will be given to a major league player who played with the Jays during the year, and one award will be given to a minor league player who played in the Jays' farm system during the year.

In order to vote, send an e-mail to with the subject "Players Of The Year". Please vote for one major leaguer and one minor leaguer. In order to make it even easier to follow these instructions, you can click here and your browser should set up your e-mail for you.

The Box braintrust are going to get together to think up a suitable award which will be given to the winning players.
In Spencer Fordin's notes on, he mentions Bobby Kielty's determination to get stronger for next year, then sheds some light on the Jays' pitching plans for the final week.

Pete Walker is out of the starting rotation -- again -- and Vinny Chulk might be in for the first time in his big-league career. Tosca named his starting staff for the next four days: Mark Hendrickson, Roy Halladay, Josh Towers and Kelvim Escobar.

Thursday's game is officially TBA, but according to Fordin, it will be Chulk, with Lidle bumped a day. It seems that Mark Hendrickson will go to the bullpen after today, and Pete Walker also has the manager's confidence against lefty batters.

"We're going to be a little more cautious with [Miller and Kershner], and he's the one guy that can counter left-handed hitters," Tosca said about Walker. "They're just gassed."
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The game I'll be keeping an eye on (other than Doc's impending 22nd win) is Florida at Atlanta (Mark Redman versus Mike Hampton). This is Florida's last road game of the regular season: a win would leave them a game up with a 3 to play at home against the Phillies beginning Tuesday.

AL West/Wildcard
Oakland93636Sea 12-0  Tex 3, @Sea 3__
Boston91647Cle 2-0  Bal 4, @TB 3__
Seattle89676Oak 0-12  @Ana 3, Oak 35

Oakland stunned Gil Meche and the Mariners with 5 runs in the 2nd on route to a 12-zip shellacking. The AL West is all but Oakland's - there's every chance they'll wrap it up with Texas in town (they need only to match the Mariners' performance versus the Angels). The Mariners lost ground to the Pedro Sox and only poor play by Boston versus also-rans can save Seattle now.

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Good morning all! From here on in, I'll be providing daily updates on all the pennant races.

AL West/Wildcard
Oakland92637Sea 3-9  Sea, Tex 3, @Sea 3__
Boston90648Cle 4-13  @Cle 1, Bal 4, @TB 3__
Seattle89667Oak 9-3  @Oak 1, @Ana 3, Oak 37

The Mariners made it two impressive performances in a row in Oakland, and with Boston getting hammered in the late innings, Seattle has renewed hope for a playoff spot. Their patient approach at the plate should help them against Rich Harden, who has great stuff but hasn't quite harnessed it yet. They are slight favourites for the sweep, which would cut the Athletics' division lead to 2 games. The wildcard lead is likely to remain at least 1.5 games, as Pedro takes the mound in Cleveland.

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This is a repeat of last Sunday's pitching matchup in Toronto. A seemingly indifferent Cory Lidle grooved a few in the first inning and fell behind 3-0, then after the Jays cut the lead to 3-2, a sixth-inning 2-run shot by Jay Gibbons sealed the deal. On The FAN 590 the other night, Mike Wilner speculated that Lidle won't get any offers as a free agent and may have to accept a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Good riddance. Of course, that's what we all said about Esteban Loaiza.

Baltimore southpaw Matt Riley went five innings for his first big-league win, four years after being rushed to the Show while barely out of his teens. He had good success in AA (5-2, 3.11) and AAA (4-2, 3.58) this year, striking out a combined 150 while walking 51 and giving up 126 hits in 142.2 IP. In his first AL start, he was touched for a solo homer by Josh Phelps, along with three singles and three walks. We'll see tonight if the Jays learned anything about him.
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The Seattle Mariners, stuck in an offensive funk for several weeks now, were facing a must win situation against the Oakland Athletics by the Bay Friday night.

They were up against Cy Young candidate Tim Hudson. Hudson had been almost invincible against the most dangerous rivals in the league. Check out his performance against 3 of the 4 best teams in the A.L. this season:
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William Houston in todays Globe has good news Rob Faulds is 'on the bubble' as Sportsnet's Jays announcer. He goes on to even better news, that the job will probably be offered to Box favourite Dan Shulman, before ending on a downer - Shulman will likely refuse and the likeliest candidate is Rod Black.

Houston reported last week that Toronto One might be covering up to 25 Jays games next year, as Sportsnet is looking to lighten its baseball schedule. Hopefully the new channel will not become Faulds new home.
The conditions may not be perfect, but the last I heard, they were going to play baseball in Baltimore tonight. With the hurricane interrupting their normal routines, let's hope the Jays' hitters can take full advantage of mediocre, expensive southpaw Omar Daal, who has a 10.45 ERA against Toronto this year, and has pitched just two innings since June.

Kelvim Escobar is 9-2, 3.86 with nine saves vs. the Orioles in 28 appearances, 12 of them starts. He wasn't brilliant (six walks in six innings) but allowed them just one run last week at the Dome, and he's fared well in two previous starts at Camden Yards this year. Of course, you never know when Kelvim will be at his best; he could allow something like the unusual travel schedule to distract him.

Carlos Tosca has tweaked his "lefty-proof" lineup, dropping Hinske back down to seventh, with Bordick in the 2-hole. Kevin Cash (122/151/146 in 82 AB) remains a fixture behind the plate; the staff's ERA and W-L record with him receiving compensate for his hitting stats, which can only improve. In case you hadn't noticed, the Jays are 11-1 this month when Cash starts.
I’m overwhelmed by the kind words from my colleagues and by the continued popularity of our little hobby. Batter’s Box was intended as a place for a few Jays fans to talk baseball and amuse ourselves. I’m no visionary; there was no plan. When strangers began to leave comments and send e-mails, I was pleasantly surprised. The best evidence of my modest expectations was the original hit counter, installed with four digits, because I figured we’d never have ten thousand visitors. To my amazement, a few months later, we get that many every week.

There have been plenty of other milestones in our first season. Exchanging e-mails with Keith Law led to three of us having lunch with him last winter. That’s where I met Jordan and Craig for the first time, and I can’t recall a better baseball conversation. Meeting J.P. the day before the season began, and hearing his praise for the site, was quite a thrill for this fan. My first media pass (many thanks to the Blue Jays for acknowledging a mere blog) hangs on my desk, reminding me that sitting in the dugout to interview the coaches and Reed Johnson was a dream come true. Best of all was my sitdown with J.P., made even more memorable by being invited into the private box during a game. Along the way, we’ve swung and missed a few times, but a pretty good percentage of these 1,000 threads have been fun to read, and we’ve knocked a few out of the park.
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