This charming piece on retiring Yankee Stadium organist Eddie Layton
, who started working the Stadium the same year I shuffled onto this mortal coil, just reminds us how great it would be if Skydome had an organist of talent and imagination. I've attended or watched countless games at the Dome, and I've concluded that the organist knows exactly three tunes: "Charge!" "The Addams Family Theme," and "Go Jays Go" (a variation on local favourite "Go Leafs Go"). And that's it. Day after day, over and over ... these three vapid tunes symbolize the Skydome sound as much as the preternatural echo. Isn't Nancy Faust available as a free agent?
When Mike Wilner first rose from the primeval swamp that is Bathurst and Steeles in Toronto 33 years ago, it was far from a foregone conclusion that he would become a fixture in the daily lives of so many Blue Jays fans – including many Bauxites. But now, Mike is a familiar voice to many of us, as the studio host of the Blue Jays broadcasts on the FAN radio network, including the FAN 590 in Toronto.
This entry will be updated as necessary throughout the day.
Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees, 1 PM ET
Today is Minnesota's best shot. They have their ace going, a fireballing lefthander is Yankee Stadium. If Minnesota is to win this series, today figures to be a must win for them (although I thought the same thing in the 2002 ALDS between Anaheim and New York). The key to this game will be Santana's ability to throw strikes to a patient Yankees lineup. If he can walk fewer than 4 batters and go 7 innings, he should be able to limit the damage.
It seems like half the time Mike Mussina is unhittable; the rest of the time you can get 4 or 5 runs off him. Minnesota's lineup isn't very potent, so scoring 3 runs in today's game will more than meet my expectations.
Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves, 8 PM ET
The best offensive team in the National League will face one of the best starting rotations around. The Braves would like to win tonight's game and put the pressure on Zambrano in game 2. The Cubs' best chance to win the series is to take the 3 games Wood and Prior are scheduled to start.
After four years on the job, including an incredible 116-win season but without any pennants, Pat Gillick resigned today
as GM of the Seattle Mariners. He'll remain with the M's as a "consultant," however, and I'd be surprised if he took another GM position at his age. His Seattle tenure probably helped him erase the bad taste from his time in Baltimore, and IMO helped secure his credentials as a worthy Hall of Fame inductee. He served the franchise well, staying competitive without mortgaging the future; a few less injuries to his young pitchers, or maybe picking up Shannon Stewart down the stretch one year, and it all might have played out differently.
So who takes the reins in Seattle? If I were Billy Beane, I'd be checking the fax machine outside Paul DePodesta's office right now.
Florida Marlins at San Francisco Giants, 4 PM ET
This figures to be another great pitchers' duel. Base-stealers have had good success against Jason Schmidt, so look for the Marlins to bunt and steal frequently. Florida manager Jack McKeon has stated he will pitch around Barry Bonds at every opportunity.
Josh Beckett has been lights out the last month, but might become dramatically less effective after 100 pitches. The key for the Giants will be to get the first three hitters on base, so walking Bonds will put great pressure on the defence.
The Jays' GM will be taking listener calls on The Fan 590
soon. I live downtown, so I don't know the long-distance number to call, but it's 416-870-0590 for those of you in the GTA. If you don't have a radio handy, click the link to get to the station's home page; you'll find a "Listen Live" button there.
The coveted autographed T-shirt (many thanks to Mike H. for the donation, and to J.P. Ricciardi and Carlos Tosca for the autographs) is going to Texas, not Toronto. Congratulations to Scott Lucas on his Nation Builders' 10-1 victory over Billie's Bashers in the two-week final. After a fourth place finish in the regular season, Scott drew a tough playoff assignment, edging Mebion Glyndwr in the first round, then knocking out the regular-season champs, Gashouse Gorillas, in the semi-finals. Snellville Jones' club whomped my Toronto Walrus 9-3 in the bronze-medal matchup, while Spicol's Red Mosquitos won the consolation bracket 8-2 over the Eastern Shore Birds. It was a great first season. There will be no trading until after the World Series, and the rules committee will have a few proposals for all owners to vote on before then.
Feel free to use this thread to discuss how you did in other fantasy leagues this year. For example, Roy Halladay and Carlos Delgado led my team in the AL Roto Junkies 5x5 league to a championship. No T-shirt involved, but I'll be getting a nice cheque. Unfortunately, according to our rules, I can only keep one of my cornerstones next year. It's a tough choice, just like J.P.'s decision. Advice is welcome. There might be an opening in that league next year; e-mail me if interested and I'll forward it to the Commish. The BBFL already has a waiting list, but we're hoping to start a second ZLC league for '04.
Here's my report card for September. This is a happy occasion: as expected, the Jays beat up on the American League's weaker sisters in September. It's too bad nobody outside the Greater Toronto Area noticed. Oh, well - it's the same as it ever was.
A full year report will follow sometime soon.
There's very little left to play for today: all 4 division series matchups have been determined as the Houston Astros were crunched. San Francisco and Atlanta are still battling for homefield advantage in the NLCS.
I am going to hold off on my breakdown of the 2003 Jays for a few days yet. But I did want to give you all an opportunity to comment on the season now past.
Batter's Box is still at the same address, but we have changed hosts. The switch was thrown this afternoon, so you may notice a couple of minor changes. The "Hot Topics" list reflects the most recent changes made to the archives on this new server; it will be back to normal soon. If you posted a comment between about 5:00 and 7:00 today, they may be "missing," but that should be temporary.
Our technical gurus, Gwyn Price and Joe Drew, are working furiously behind the curtain. Gwyn has also added the new Poll feature, which we will be employing from time to time. Great work, guys. To our readers, thanks for your patience.
We now resume normal blogging...