It's official. Dollar Day at the Skydome (tonight's game against Texas) is a sellout, with every available seat going for $1. I'm not a season ticket holder, but if I were, I might be wondering if I'll be getting a refund in the mail sometime soon. But never mind that: it's a great PR move. The Jays look like heroes in the fight against the World Health Organization (that is what we're all fighting here, right?), 40,000 more Torontonians than usual get to see the team, and the club might be ready to go on another hot streak following the big Sunday comeback.
The forecast for Toronto today is 15 and sunny, going down to just 10 overnight. If anyone from Skydome Inc. is reading this, would you please consider leaving the Dome open tonight? This is fine springtime weather, perfect for watching baseball wearing a light jacket, cotton shirt and jeans. If 50,000 citizens are willing to brave the SARS epidemic, they can certainly brave a slight nip in the air. The Dome is a 100% better place to watch the game with the roof open; please show this huge windfall of an audience how true that is.
An avalanche of runs in the lower minors can't obscure some fine pitching performances in Toronto's farm system and a rare 4-0 sweep for the Young Jays.
The second full house of the season will feature A-Rod, but not O-Dog. Berg is at second, which means either Hudson's hurt, or he's become a utility infielder.
Teixeira's status as a platoon hitter continues to baffle me, and I think if I was ever going to start Blalock vs. a lefty, it would be Lurch. I respect Showalter as a strategist and motivator, but I've been questioning his lineup all year.
The performance of the Jays bullpen has improved a bit in recent games: instead of collectively blowing games every time they had a late lead, they have managed to provide effective innings to keep the Jays in the game more frequently.
Here are some bullpen numbers through game 26:
Two weeks ago I was driving from Las Vegas to San Francisco: an eight-hour trek through desert high and low, past lonely towns barely removed from the 19th century. Regrettably, I did not have a CD player, so I was forced to choose between war talk, sports talk, or the ramblings of my mind. The former was nauseating, the latter boring and depressing. Sports talk it was.
The AP is reporting The Toronto Blue Jays plan to formally change the teamís name to Jays
. There may also be trendy black uniforms. MLB has apparently already been informed and things are in place for tha change to happen next season.
If we can finally get a cool looking cap logo I promise to buy several of the expensive fitted variety.
I admit my Toronto Walrus squad was lucky to be holding an 8-4 lead over Billie's Bashers going into the final day of Week 4 action. My vaunted pitching staff lost Armas to the DL, and a few other guys were simply terrible (Baez had an 81.00 ERA). My hitters weren't much better, so I was going to be content with a split, but ended up on the short end of a 6-4 score.
That was enough to relinquish top spot in the standings. Snelville's Gashouse Gorillas (the only team to breathe that first-place air more than once) have a one game lead, and I'm tied with Jurgen's Baird Brain for second. Against the Jones boys this week, my team had better wake up or we'll get crushed.
Unlike their real-life namesakes, the Texas Rangers
are displaying little fortitude (and less sense) as they prepare to fly into The City Of The Damned today. A-Rod, who's normally more sensible than this, plans to stay in his hotel room during his off-hours, and most of his teammates appear to be following suit. Memo to Alex: from all accounts, the Kansas City Royals are not dropping dead on board their charter airplane, unless Tony Pena had a coronary following yesterday's ninth inning. This is going to get more annoying yet.
Weirdest quote of the day, from Buck Showalter: "I take great pride in washing my hands." I'm happy for you, big guy.
has gone to a mostly pay-per-view system (I haven't tried it yet, though I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has). But there are still some excellent items freely available on their site. One of these is the Prospectus Triple Play
, a series of quick-hits on three designated teams. This week, the Jays and Expos are both featured in the TP. The Jays authors point out the effectiveness of the Jays' catching tandem and talk up the progress of Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin. The Expos report gives the lowdown on unsung superstar Jose Vidro and a surprisingly strong 'Spos starting staff.
* In a game that Jayson Stark will be dining off for weeks, St. Louis beat Florida 7-6 in 20 innings
. The Marlins scored one run in the 3rd, five in the 9th, and zero in the other 18 innings. They also stranded 21 runners. How depressing must it have been to watch Jeff Torborg and Tony St. Russa match wits for 20 innings?
* Kevin Millwood no-hit
the Giants , issuing just three walks and striking out 10 in a 1-0 victory. This proves that the Braves actually won the controversial Millwood trade, as Johnny Estrada
already has four hits for Atlanta this year.
* The Houston Texans drafted none other than Yankees third-base suspect Drew Henson in the 6th round of the NFL draft
last weekend. Henson, the former Michigan QB who sports a mighty .171/.256/.343 line at AAA Columbus, has long insisted that he's not going to play football, and has now reiterated that stance. George Steinbrenner signed Henson to a $17 million contract before the latter had ever swung a professional bat. Think about that when you're feeling down, and smile.
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Rogers has bought all unsold tickets for Tuesday's game, and is offering them for sale for $1. They want to show that Toronto is safe for baseball. But we already knew that, didn't we?
Ultimate Series: The ConceptGame 1 Story
Box Scores: Game 1
* Game 2
After failing to muster so much as a scoring threat against the1977-2002 All-Star Yankees in Mondayís opener, the All-Star Jays rallied behind veteran southpaw Jimmy Key for a 6-3 Game 2 victory in a Saturday matinee at Skydome.
In a game where the first six innings featured five solo home runs, Tommy Johnís bionic left arm kept the pinstriped squad ahead until ...
I was certain yesterday that Cory Lidle would have more success against the K.C hitters than Miguel Asencio would against the Toronto bats. I expected a blowout. It looked that way after one inning, but gradually slipped away into one of the more disappointing losses of a (thus far) frustrating season.
Today, the 17-4 Royals have their ace on the hill, and Elvys' 4-0 record and 1.10 ERA are pretty intimidating. The Jays counter with swing man Pete Walker, whose last start was mediocre. There's no way to expect a complete game from Walker, which means the (shudder) bullpen will have to get results.
It's already a 2-0 deficit for Pete; a single to Relaford and a Randa HR on the first two pitches. Sigh...
Two in a row is a beginning, with a very favourable pitching matchup this afternoon. Cory Lidle (2-1. 3.33 vs. the Royals over the last three years) is the logical choice over 22-year-old Miguel Asencio (15 hits and 5 walks in 10 IP against the Jays in 2002) -- the righty, indirectly responsible for Corey Thurman coming to Toronto, has good stuff, but walks more people than he strikes out. Toronto's patient hitters should have some fun today, and we can expect the everyday lineup. K.C. has just 11 pitchers (no bullpen lefty; perhaps J.P. could give them Creek) and I doubt Wilson or Carrasco is available, so we may see quite a bit of Albie Lopez, who is having a surprisingly good year. Yet-to-be-used Jeremy Hill, called up from Omaha when Affeldt went on the DL, might have to mop up. Fantasy owners, start your Blue Jays.
Half empty? Toronto is in last place in the division, 11th in the league. Half full? Almost everything that can go wrong has, so far, and they're just 6 1/2 games out of the AL wild card spot with 138 to play.