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Many thanks to Steve Z. for alerting me to this terrific piece in the National Post, a paper I seldom read. Dave Feschuk profiles Jays pitching coach Gil Patterson, whose dreams of big-league stardom were cut short by a series of injuries. The former Yankees phenom learned the hard way about being rushed and overworked, so he's become a patient nurturer of talent. Just ask one of his former pupils, Al Leiter:

"He's not abusive on pitchers. He's one of the best pitching coaches anywhere, because he knows how hard pitching is, and he knows what a pitcher goes through to get to the big leagues."

Patterson's hiring is further evidence that J.P. Ricciardi's eye for talent -- on and off the field -- is paying dividends. Years ago, they coached together in A-ball, and J.P. has a long memory. There's nothing in this well-written feature about mechanics, pitch selection or any of the other things we might think of as his main responsibilities, but it left me with great admiration for Patterson, and a feeling that Toronto pitchers are in very capable hands.
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_Shrike - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 03:25 PM EST (#92081) #
That was a very, very chilling read with just enough redemption to balance the scales. Al Leiter comes across as an articulate professional athlete, as well.

Does anyone have more information on just how good a prospect Gil Patterson was, back in the day?
Gerry - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 03:39 PM EST (#92082) #
A good read. Standing up for your beliefs gets you fired in baseball.

Did anyone read Griffin's column today. Right at the end he says he logged onto a fan website to find out he is a moron. Is Griffin reading BattersBox?
Dave Till - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 06:15 PM EST (#92083) #
Griffin's columns are regularly linked to on Baseball Primer, so he might be referring to that site.

I guess that, soon, this blog will draw enough attention to attract the notice of somebody in the Jays' front office or connected with the team itself. I suppose that, once the Jays or Griffin or somebody finds us, we'll all have to behave ourselves. What a bummer. :-)

Reminds me of another Jays-related Internet connection: a few years back, when the Jays finally designated Jeff Patzke for assignment, I found out about it on the ESPN web site, and I posted a message to the Blue Jays mailing list passing this information on. It turned out that Jeff Patzke's mother was subscribed to the list, and hadn't yet heard that her son had been sent down. It felt strange to know something before a prospect's family does.

The Blue Jays mailing list, by the way, is - it still exists, though there isn't much traffic now. It's been in continuous existence since at least 1992.
_jason - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 06:15 PM EST (#92084) #
Will you boo?
Dave Till - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 06:20 PM EST (#92085) #
I won't boo, but why on earth is Major League Baseball asking the Jays to play God Bless America? I suppose that the Jays themselves, who are mostly American, will appreciate this. And, well, baseball is America's Game, I suppose.

Reminds me of the 1990 World Series, which was happening while Gulf War I was going on. Every major league uniform had a small American flag sewn on it. At the time, I wondered what the Latin players thought of this.
_the shadow - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 07:16 PM EST (#92086) #
sturtze in mid season form
_M.P. Moffatt - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 07:24 PM EST (#92087) #
I'm sure Griffin won't get too upset if he finds this "zombie-like cult" making fun of his work and him. I know I laugh when my articles generate hate-mail from people I have no respect for. :)

I think "Zombie-like Cult" would be a great name for a Blue Jays blog.

Craig B - Saturday, March 29 2003 @ 09:46 PM EST (#92088) #
Jason, I wouldn't boo, and I wouldn't recommend that anyone else boo either. I am opposed, *deeply* opposed to the war - to all war - but I think it's the height of crudeness to boo when it would be so deeply insulting to others. I won't stand, but I'd never boo. (That's if I'm there... it's looking like I won't be able to make it thanks to work.)

the shadow, thanks for the laugh... I really worry that Sturtze is going to get shelled.

Dave, I would presume MLB is asking so that they avoid nasty questions in the U.S. about why they didn't. I'm afraid that with the increasing politicization of professional sport, we are going to see more and more of this sort of thing at ballgames. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw the return of pregame prayers at some point soon.

At least they're doing it for the seventh and not adding another delay to the game!
_Doug Linton - Sunday, March 30 2003 @ 11:28 AM EST (#92089) #
I really worry that Sturtze is going to get shelled

I'm counting on it.
_jason - Sunday, March 30 2003 @ 01:09 PM EST (#92090) #
I'm not going to boo but I may walk out into the concessions area until it is done playing.
_Spicol - Sunday, March 30 2003 @ 06:55 PM EST (#92091) #
Speaking of Gil, I was at the SkyDome today for the open practice and spoke with him for a second. He's a really nice guy...the elbow scar looks a lot meaner in person.

The Japanese media was there in droves. Running, throwing, shagging flies, it didn't matter what Matsui was doing, the media was there with their telescopic lenses burning through loads of film. I've never seen such a frenzy, all for one man. And this was a practice.

Further on Hideki, the man obviously has skillz. He didn't seem like much of a slugger in his bp session though...he was spanking line drives, mostly to centre and right. He managed to hit one home run but it was right off of the top of the wall. His throwing arm was quite impressive. Watch enough baseball and you can usually tell when a guy is throwing with too much shoulder but Matsui is fluid, his legs, shoulder, elbow and wrist all coming together to fire a powerful but seemingly effortless throw.

I still love watching Raul Mondesi. Not because he's terribly impressive but because he has such an obvious and interesting ego. In his BP session, he seemed to have trouble consistently getting his hands through his swing. He had some excellent swings, all when he was able to get his hands through quickly. The rest of the time though, his elbows were all over the place and the result was rather weak. It's something that is obviously coachable but it's like he doesn't care to put the effort in.

Jayson Werth let me know his wrist is feeling a lot better. He had a plastic brace on it at first but curiously, took his place in right shagging flies sans brace (it's his glove hand). His stint on the DL may be rather short.

Bob File was there. Wasn't expecting that.

And my final observation is Batter's Box related...our own Coach was present and managed to get quite an ovation, or at least I think it was him. He had to compliment JP during a Q&A session to get the ovation but still, not too shabby. The funniest part though, which caused me to laugh right out loud, was the guy sitting behind me who called Kent a "roto-geek" after he asked his question. How did he know? ;) Don't worry Coach...I gave him a really dirty look in defense of your roto-geekness.
Craig B - Sunday, March 30 2003 @ 09:50 PM EST (#92092) #
Spicol, thanks. Coach gave me a rundown on the events of the day but hearing him described as a roto-geek is what really made my day. I fear from now on he may be "Coach Roto-Geek" to me. As always, a comment from the peanut gallery has shown us the way.

Coach knows about a million times as much about actually playing the game as I do... so it's good for me to work out the inferiority complex by teasing a bit. Apparently the Japanese media were taking pictures of everything, including Kent, so with his dazzling charisma soon to be recognized across the Pacific, I fully expect him to be spirited away to head up the Nippon Ham Fighters' official website ("Hammin' It Up") soon.
Coach - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 07:46 AM EST (#92093) #
Anyone who thinks I'm only a roto-geek is invited to pitch me some BP; I can still part your hair with a line drive. And it's a mutual admiration society, Craig. Your knowledge of sabrmetrics and the history of the game is awesome.

Excellent summary, Spicol. I understand Robert was there, too, and I'm sorry I missed you guys. I did meet Alex, one of my high school players, and said hello to James, one of our alumni who is on the team at York now. Sandy Hawley, the Hall of Fame jockey, is a huge Jays fan, and it was great to see him again. I chatted with Jerry Howarth, who I hope will give BB a plug someday on the air, and to most of the young fans who asked questions of J.P., Carlos Tosca and Josh Phelps. I even talked to Richard Griffin, and after thanking him for something very kind he did for me years ago in Montreal, told him I was part of the ZLC. He laughed and said (I'm paraphrasing) it's his job to provoke us.

I wasn't fishing for applause when I said J.P. has done the best rebuilding job I've seen in over 40 years of obsessive fan-hood. But the crowd's spontaneous response was gratifying -- it's not just the statistical seamheads who recognize that this is the best Jays team in a decade.
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