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That was not the real Roy Halladay out there last night. Home plate umpire Joe West squeezed him pretty good, from where I was sitting (admittedly not the best vantage point) -- four walks and two HR is about a month's worth for Doc, and I pity his next opponent. I'm not even going to look up the exact numbers, but Halladay had an incredible total of unearned runs allowed last year, and five already this year. O-Dog's error shows you why I've tagged his fielding with the spectacular-but-erratic label. Not all 2B would have got to that ball up the middle, but those that did would all have made a better throw.

I didn't think my dislike for Roger Clemens could ever become hate. I was wrong. I'm sorry it had to be Jeter who got the karmic retribution for that disgusting pitch at Phelps from the gutless wonder, but I cheered at the time. A good hard tag to the face was certainly called for; Halladay didn't seem to have his heart in the retaliatory shot to Mondesi -- did he hit him with a curve? -- and since Clemens always hides behind his teammates, they have to pay his debts. As much as I wanted him to get shelled, I have to admit the loathsome Rocket was sharp, using the splitter a lot against the overeager young Jays, when he wasn't throwing at their heads.

It wasn't all bad, between the lines or in the stands. The crowd was lively, and I sure didn't miss the canned sound effects and deafening music, but I enjoyed the pre-game festivities. Here's the box score.

[rant] I want to point out that both catchers who are major-league hitters went 1-for-1, while the guy who shouldn't be here, in addition to the notoriety he'll get for crashing Jeter, had three AB that can only be called embarrassing. But that's nothing new; here's a photo from last year where he at least made contact:

Nobody appreciates Huckaby's subtle receiving skills more than I do; I believe Ernie Whitt should be "promoted" to doing PR functions around Ontario, and Huck should become the organization's roving catching instructor. But even if he's the greatest defensive C of all time, when you factor in his offence, he's a huge liability to this team. It's too bad, because he's a great guy; when a teammate like Dave Berg refers publicly to his first MLB single, a weak opposite-field grounder, as a "Huckaby hit," you know that Ken has a sense of humour about it and that Berg really likes him.

Early last year, on, I was all over the lame-duck manager and Joey Lawrence, calling in every column for both Buck and "Buck-Eighty" to be replaced. Huckaby's continued presence contradicts the entire Blue Jays philosophy -- to get on base and outscore opponents is supposed to be more important than a black hole in the batting order who is adept with the glove. (See Catalanotto, Frank vs. Cruz Jr., Jose). When Halladay is on, anybody can catch him. When he's not, it's even more important not to concede those extra outs. [/rant]

I couldn't understand why Pete Walker came in instead of Trever Miller, with three of the next four hitters batting left. But he pitched well, and even though it was a mopup situation, it can be interpreted as a sign of Tosca's confidence in Walker. Doug Linton was also effective. Someone needs to tell the scoreboard and laser show people how to spell Trever's name, by the way. Eric Hinske had a strange night; he was badly fooled on a lot of pitches, but the two he did hit were absolutely ripped.

There's an inch of snow on the ground, so I have decided to cancel today's UFA practice, and I'll be at the Dome again this afternoon, with a much better vantage point. We'll see Tosca's platoon lineup against Pettitte, but if Huckaby starts instead of Wilson, you can expect to read quite a bit about it here later tonight. Dave Berg at 2B (or RF) and Mike Bordick at SS I can live with; not that I think Woodward or Hudson should be benched, but it's important to get the utility guys some action early in the season, and both Woody and O-Dog fare better against righties. One game does not a season make, and this series is still winnable; much depends on Cory Lidle keeping it close today.

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_Matthew Elmslie - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 09:23 AM EST (#91755) #
This is Halladay's second straight thumping, going back to his last spring training start. You know the theory about how pitchers have a 'dead arm' period in spring training? Maybe Halladay's just getting it late. The timing's a little inconvenient, but on the other hand it's a hopeful theory because it suggests that there's nothing wrong and we just have to wait it out.
Pistol - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 10:10 AM EST (#91756) #
Could I make a suggestion? I think it'd be a good idea to put up a thread prior to the start of each game. Then if anyone had something to say about the game during the game, or shortly thereafter, they'd have a place to put it.

I happened to be online during the game last night and had no good place to post about Clemens gooning Phelps, so it ended up in the 'BOOO!' thread.

The Jays will bounce back today. I see a big Tom Wilson double being the difference.
Coach - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 10:51 AM EST (#91757) #
Good idea, Pistol. I'll do it if I'm home, and we'll sort it out if I'm not. Those watching on TV or listening to the FAN can make mid-game comments, and those who are at the park can add their impressions later. I was too upset at their pitcher and our catcher to post this when I got home last night, or even comment on another thread. I'm a bit more reasonable after sleeping on it.
_S.K. - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 11:00 AM EST (#91758) #
Either JP or Tosca has to bite the bullet and ask Halladay whether his own personal comfort level is more important than helping the team.
_R Billie - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 11:51 AM EST (#91759) #
I honestly don't think Halladay cares who he throws to...personally I'd like to see him stick to the fastball more than he did last night.
_benum - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 11:58 AM EST (#91760) #
Interesting Wire story at the MLB site. The Jays have released Tom Wilson (giving Huck the fulltime job) and have signed Greg Vaughan to a 1-way deal!
_M.P. Moffatt - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 12:08 PM EST (#91761) #
It wasn't all bad, between the lines or in the stands. The crowd was lively, and I sure didn't miss the canned sound effects and deafening music, but I enjoyed the pre-game festivities.

Did they get rid of the canned sound effects?!? Please PLEASE tell me it's true. Those things were are so annoying. I swear the Jays marketing department has been trying to drive people away from the park the last five or so years.

_Sean - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 12:09 PM EST (#91762) #
Sorry Benum but April Fools Jokes have to be at least *somewhat* believable.
Coach - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 12:31 PM EST (#91763) #
Further to Benum's announcement, Sidd Finch has come out of retirement and will be bringing his 150 mph fastball to Toronto for a tryout as the fifth starter.

Mike, I didn't hear a pane of glass shatter or that annoying "boing" or "Day-Oh" or any of that crap. It was just like baseball. Apart from the mandatory sponsor stuff, even the JumboTron presentation was improved. The laser show was cool, unless you're Trever Miller's mom; they spelled his name wrong in 20-foot letters. Not sure if they planned to set off fireworks for a Jays HR that would have narrowed an 8-0 deficit, but I hope not -- that should be reserved for game-winners or at least lead-takers. It's been a while since they had 50,000 in the building, so I'll excuse the long lines at the concession stands -- this time. The Hinske bobblehead is of much higher quality than I imagined, though my terrier hates it. In general, I'd say marketing is following the same path as baseball operations -- smarter and better, with more focus on what's important.
_M.P. Moffatt - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 12:43 PM EST (#91764) #

My *five* biggest annoyances about seeing the Jays are:
1. Hearing the "boing" noise 20 times a game
2. Hearing "Day-oh" 20 times a game
3. Hearing the glass-breaking noise 20 times a game
4. Hearing the splashing noise 20 times a game
5. Hearing Homer Simpson say "D'oh!" 20 times a game (and I'm a *huge* Simpsons fan)

I can live with the cheerleaders and bad pop songs between the half-innings, but the sound effects drive me nuts. They were like a little kid going "Are we there yet?" (or singing "The Song That Doesn't End") 100 times in 2 minutes.

_Jonny German - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 02:05 PM EST (#91765) #
Now that they've gotten rid of the sound effects, can't we please get rid of "Okay Blue Jays"? They've changed the logo from the original for crying out loud, why can't they change the lame song?!? Incidentally, the old logo was seen almost as much as the current among the fans... is it cool now?

I don't know about that laser light show... maybe my seat (right field foul pole, 200 level) was not ideal for it, but I thought it looked pretty amateur. The map of Canada on the Jumbotron looked to be mirrored or upside down or something, and on the field the text and most of the graphics were the simplest of line-drawn images.

I doubt if the fireworks are gone, they were definitely featured in some of the video clips. Speaking of haze, I did like the dry ice cloud that enveloped the Yankees along the first base line during the pre-game. It seemed odd that they didn't do it to the Jays at the same time... machine malfunction?

Hinske did look fooled rather frequently, including in each of his last two at-bats before he smoking a double each time. I thought Wells looked good as far as plate discipline, or at least better than expected. Soriano's grand slam at-bat was a beauty if you're a Yankee fan... If he can learn plate discipline, I'm not worried about Wells.
_deReeder - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 02:40 PM EST (#91766) #
Did anyone else notice the listing for "Rance Mulliniks Fan Club" on the Jumbotron when they were listing all of the groups who had bought tickets to the game?

Is any of the BB people behind it? I wish it was I.
_Darryl - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 02:50 PM EST (#91767) #
The Rance Mulliniks club is ran by an rsowen who posts over at my site.
_Chuck Van Den C - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 04:18 PM EST (#91768) #
I thought Wells looked good as far as plate discipline.

Except in the 9th. Down 8-3, with the count 2-0, he should have been taking all the way. Instead, he swings at an inside pitch, gets jammed, and pops the ball up to LF.

This was especially frustrating since players spend so much time looking at 3B coaches for no apparent reason (at least not to me). Example: earlier in the game, Delgado has single, Hinske is at bat, the count is 0-1. Hinske's staring in to the 3B coach who is going to tell him what exactly? That Delgado is going to steal? That Hinske should bunt? That Hinske has the take sign?

To my mind, Wells, with a 2-0 count in the 9th, down by 5, should have KNOWN to simply take the next pitch, no matter what. Failing that, the 3B coach should have given him the take sign.

Other observations:

* Huckaby as a .250 singles hitter who doesn't walk has no value. Yesterday, he swung the bat like a pitcher. His AB's truly were an embarassment and hopefully will expedite the process of having him removed from the major league roster.

* Against Clemens, Hinske swung the bat like Huckaby. Nice to see him shake off 3 horrible AB's before doubling.

* Halladay didn't have his sharp breaking ball. Several of his curves were sloppy frisbees. For all his reputation as a game-caller, Huckaby was inviting disaster having Halladay throw one curve after another in Soriano's grand-slam AB.

* Halladay 2001: 105 IP, 3 HR; 2002: 239 IP, 10 HR; 2003: 5.2 IP, 2 HR. If Halladay's ERA shoots up to the mid-high 3's this year, it'll be because his HR rate is more "normal".
_Mike H. - Tuesday, April 01 2003 @ 06:10 PM EST (#91769) #
Incidentally, the old logo was seen almost as much as the current among the fans... is it cool now?

IMHO, the new logo is uglier than either of the last two. Which old logo was seen more, the World Series-era logo (the baseball behind the Jay head) or the more recent vintage with the maple leaf more prominently? If it's the older one, it could be one of those retro things, like the old style Braves hats I've seen alot of recently down here (think Hank Aaron old). Otherwise, people just might not have decided to shell out the cash for new clothing.
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