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I'm sure I was grinning ear-to-ear in my sleep last night. Meeting J.P. Ricciardi yesterday was very cool; learning he reads Batter's Box "every day" was incredible. He doesn't agree with everything we say, but he does think we "get it" -- as a group, the GM says, the Zombie-like Cult understands and appreciates what he's trying to accomplish.

OK, let the greybeard jokes begin. Aaron Gleeman says I look like Bill James; I would rather think like Bill James and look like Mel Gibson, but no such luck. Thanks to the fan who took the picture, and to J.P. for allowing me to use it.

Just the other day, Dave Till worried about BB becoming "too" successful:

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. :-)

Great timing, Dave, and it made me bite my tongue, until now. There's been a well-kept secret around here for a while -- Keith Law discovered us very early, and has been a great friend. Jordan, Craig and I had a memorable lunch with him in January, and he's kept in touch by e-mail. To his credit, Keith has never suggested a topic or tried to influence our opinions, but he's quick to correct us -- well, me at least -- when our speculation misses the mark. We are hoping he has time for an exclusive interview with BB at some point this season, and we're trying to schedule a group night (tentatively April 25) for the ZLC, where Keith can say hello to all of you.

Spicol posted a fine review of the day in another thread. My afternoon was similar. I'd estimate the crowd at about 2,500 (3,000 if you count Japanese media) and I must have talked to 200 strangers; everyone was excited and optimistic. I'm not an autograph collector, but had several conversations with players, and shook a few hands. Mr. Hinske is quite a specimen up close, and a terrific guy.

Here's J.P. getting swarmed by the TV cameras, while Roy Halladay is visible on the JumboTron -- they had a media conference room set up, and everyone could hear the Q & A live. Doc said he's not thinking ahead, he believes this is a playoff team right now. Joe Torre grumbled about the notorious "Boo Matsui" ad, but Godzilla (through his interpreter) said something like "thanks for spelling my name right" and laughed it off.

My mug was on the big screen a few times; I asked Carlos Tosca about L-R matchups and he gave a predictable answer, but later had a moment alone with him where he convinced me he's doing the right thing. I even got him to laugh -- he's pretty serious in interviews, but that's just his game face.

If you're going to tonight's game, you now know what I look like, and I'd be glad to meet you. I'll be wearing the same black-and-red windbreaker, watching the Yankees take BP from the 100 level behind home plate (courtesy of an usher friend) before moving to my seat up in the 500's at game time. E-mail me if you want to say hello. Play ball!

Best Opening Day Ever | 19 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 08:44 AM EST (#91979) #
Wow, that's really cool.
_EddieZosky - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 08:49 AM EST (#91980) #
Great post Coach as always. Just curious, how long before JP starts posting everyday?

We'll keep an eye out for you tonight. A bunch of us are halfway up the 500 level between first and home. We'll be the drunk obnoxious ones.
_Spicol - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 09:29 AM EST (#91981) #
I was in the middle of the autograph throng as well. I care little for autographs but it was fun pointing out Doug Linton for the kids who had no clue who he was, blocking off the obvious memorabillia dealers and just generally being around the players.

I saw Vernon Wells up close last year as well but he looks bigger than I remember him, specifically his chest. Don't get me wrong...I'm not speculating about drugs (his forearms are still regular old, wiry baseball player forearms)'s just that he looks much more powerful than before. Hopefully it doesn't affect his flexibility.

It's sad that I had to qualify my statement about him being bigger, isn't it?

Coach, or anyone else who was at the Dome, there was a very tall goateed media person with a red shirt that had a white stripe going through it. There was a media scrum around him at one point and post-scrum, he was being interviewed on camera by Sportsnet and then the Score. He resembled Mike Hogan from the FAN but the voice wasn't right. Do you know who that was and what the scrum was all about?

To those going to the game tonight, have a great time and I hope to see you there. To those watching at home, have fun with Rob Faulds!
Dave Till - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 09:46 AM EST (#91982) #
Wow, what a cool photograph.

It's nice to see the Jays go the extra mile to market the team. Things are much better than a couple of years back: then, the Jays were trying to lure fans into the park by naming star players from other teams that fans could have the opportunity to see. ("Come out and see Nomar Garciaparra beat the living daylights out of Your Toronto Blue Jays!") Now, the Jays are marketing their own players, which is a Good Thing.
Coach - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 09:49 AM EST (#91983) #
Spicol, that was Jim Bloom; all the attention was about the bird poop ad. I explained to someone that the seagull connection in Toronto doesn't begin and end with Dave Winfield; anyone who went to enough games at the Mistake by the Lake saw somebody's french fries or hot dog get, uh, seasoned.

Eddie, I'm sure J.P. follows Beane's Fifth Commandment (from the Trading Desk piece):

5) Every deal you do will be publicly scrutinized by subjective opinion. If I'm the C.E.O. of I.B.M., I'm not worried that every personnel decision I make is going to wind up on the front page of the business section. Not everyone believes that he knows everything about the personal computer. But everyone who ever picked up a bat thinks he knows baseball. To do this well, you have to ignore the newspapers.

To which, I would add -- "and even the blogs, no matter how much more insightful they may be."

I forgot an important thank-you: to my son Zach, for lending me his digital camera. That's Mr. Law (directly behind the cage, on the left) enjoying one of the perks of his job. If you see this smiling face around the park, you'll know who it is:

Blame the technically-impaired photographer for it being slightly out of focus; Keith was actually quite sharp yesterday.

_Mike H. - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 10:52 AM EST (#91984) #

It looks like with a little red hair coloring, you could be a dead ringer for Hank Scorpio.
_Sean - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 11:43 AM EST (#91985) #
A good time to let the cat out of the bad, Coach. The photos came out quite well, and I need my Blue Jays fix now. I've never had the pleasure of watching a game in the Dome; all my first-hand attendance was at Exhibition Stadium.
_Shane - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 12:01 PM EST (#91986) #
Very very cool. Congratulations to Coach for creating an obviously well received Batters Box. That's a sweet pic.
_Sean - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 12:36 PM EST (#91987) #
Sigh. "Bad" should read "bag". Mea culpa.
_jason - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 12:57 PM EST (#91988) #
So that's what you look like. Cool stuff Coach.
_Jurgen Maas - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 01:21 PM EST (#91989) #
Hank Scorpio... is there no end to Albert Brooks' genius?

Very cool post.
_James Bond - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 01:24 PM EST (#91990) #
Shhhcorpio, you're mad!
Lucas - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 03:24 PM EST (#91991) #
I am soooooo jealous!

I am fairly confident Terry Ryan has never heard of my site and, if he has, he isn't interested in it. Maybe I should move to Canada, the front offices are much more blog-friendly up there!
Coach - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 04:16 PM EST (#91992) #
Aaron, congratulations on the 50,000 hit milestone! Our counter is going to reach 40K soon, which of course is only about 25,000 American. Another reason you should consider moving to Toronto -- Canadian chicks dig roto-geeks, especially if you look like Hank Scorpio or Bill James.
_Sean - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 04:31 PM EST (#91993) #
Heh. Seriously, Aaron, you have a fine blog. You just need to keep putting up photos of actresses and models. Eventually, you know it'll somehow get Mr. Ryan's attention. ;)
_Mick - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 08:16 PM EST (#91994) #
Aaron, the problem with your blog is that you're covering the wrong Twins.

Do you really think people are on the Web for these Twins ...

... or these?

_Darryl - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 10:53 PM EST (#91995) #
Wow thats great guys.

I have to agree its great to see members of the front office being willing to have that kinda personal touch with the fans. It really does help build fans in my opinion.

I really wish I could have made it to the open pratice, but its 2.5 hour trip to TO on average, so my TO trips are kept to a minimum.
Gitz - Monday, March 31 2003 @ 11:09 PM EST (#91996) #

Don't sell yourself short. I'd be surprised if somebody hasn't made Ryan aware of your site, if not Ryan himself. After all, smart people borrow ideas; geniuses steal them.

It'd be an upset if Ryan hasn't checked out your blog at least once. More than likely, he's been there a few times.
_Jordan - Monday, April 07 2003 @ 05:14 PM EDT (#91997) #
Coach -- It looks like with a little red hair coloring, you could be a dead ringer for Hank Scorpio.

Too late -- Shcorpio's already been taken.
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