Best Opening Day Ever

Monday, March 31 2003 @ 08:20 AM EST

Contributed by: Coach

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!