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We went for the convertible. See, we were getting the rental car at the Alamo counter at the Tampa International Airport, which as airports go was very nice, and we had just arrived to start a nine-day trip to the Gulf Coast region of Florida and to catch three Blue Jays spring training games, and the “we” here is myself and my wife Joan, who very graciously agreed to help fulfill my long-held dream of visiting the Grapefruit League in Florida, and of course we needed a set of wheels, and so here we were.

So we had booked a mid-size car (a Sebring, no less), and the agent behind the counter, who was a crafty veteran at this sort of thing, suggested off-handedly, “Would you like to make it a convertible?” And although Joan was skeptical – it wasn’t a cheap upgrade – she and the agent could probably tell from one look at me that I was instantly hooked on the idea. I expect that car-rental agencies can see people like me coming a mile away. So we got the convertible, and I’d never driven one before, and I can’t tell you how amazingly cool it is to drive with nothing over your head but blue sky and palm trees, and if you ever find yourself in Florida or somewhere else good and hot, and you have the option to get a convertible, do it.

Now, listening to other people’s vacation stories is about as exciting as dishwater, so I’ll skip over the details of our trip, other than to say that it was very good, that North Redington Shores (where we stayed at the San Remo Resort Condominium) is more than a little on the dingy side (as is the San Remo), that Fathoms restaurant in Indian Shores is great, that the mini-golf on the Gulf Coast is superb, that the strawberry daiquiris there are embarrassingly served with whipped cream and a maraschino cherry, that the sunsets are remarkable, that the beaches are great, that the support for the troops is unanimous, that the proliferation of junk food is unbelievable, that the serving sizes of food are overwhelming, that “recycling” is apparently a foreign concept, and that we would do it all again if we stayed in a unit that didn’t sit directly on top of the four-lane Gulf Boulevard highway. On to the baseball.

Saturday: Jays vs. Astros

I’d like to start with a word to the good burghers of Dunedin. You have a lovely town, friendly people, a pleasant historic downtown and many interesting sidestreets. I know all this because we wasted an hour roaming your town fruitlessly searching for Knology Park. Has anyone been wondering how to pronounce that, by the way? It’s “Naw-logy,” rather than “Ka-naw-logy.” I know this because we passed a Knology billboard on the way to the ballpark on Saturday that read, and I’m not kidding you, “Knology: the company with the silent K.” Now, does that not strike you as the worst slogan ever? I suppose there are companies for which it would be a worse slogan -- K-Mart, for example. But does it tell you that Knology is a cutting-edge 21st-century communications company? No. It tells you that the K is silent. I think maybe they need to give this some more thought. Anyway....

As we approached the city limits, driving along Edgewater Road, we passed a charming “Welcome to Dunedin’ sign, complete with bagpipe-blowing Scotsman (Dunedin is proud of its Scottish heritage, though the landscape bears no actual resemblance to any highlands I’ve seen). It was just after 11:00, and we were ahead of schedule to pick up our tickets and catch an hour of BP. Turning to our really poor map of the Gulf Coast, we located near the centre of town something called the “Blue Jays Training Facilities,” and made our way towards it. It wasn’t easy, because there were no signs indicating which way it lay, but I knew this was likely the Englebert Complex, so I kept an eye peeled for that.

Fifteen minutes later, we finally catch a small roadside sign indicating “Englebert Complex,” and make our way to a spiffy corporate building fronting a large greenfield. This turned out to be the Jays’ headquarters, and the sign in the parking lot said, severely, “Employees Only.” Hm. Okay, so we turned around and searched for visitor parking. Eventually, another low roadside sign announced “Blue Jay parking” with an arrow, which we happily followed to what turned out to be a dusty makeshift parking lot containing a dozen cars and pickup trucks, adjacent to several ballfields where extraordinarily young players were batting and fielding under the watchful eye of numerous coaches. And they were all slowing down to cast a glance at this convertible with two pale northerners clutching a series of maps easing its way into an open space.

Correctly deducing that (a) this was not Knology Park and (b) now would be a good time to leave, we backed up and tried again. We accosted a fellow in a Sheriff’s car, who gave us directions along the lines of “Follow that truck,” pointing to a van on its way out the front entrance to whose driver he had given detailed directions moments before. We gave chase, but lost the van in traffic. Now it’s halfway through BP, and we’re getting worried. We see another low sign by the side of the highway: “To Dunedin Stadium.” We follow that for a while until we start saying, wait a minute: Dunedin Stadium? It should be either Knology Park or Grant Field. Dunedin Stadium could be the local lawn bowling palace, for all we knew. Pull over, check the map again, head off in a different direction. Soon enough we were on a four-lane freeway that was right off the map we were carrying. Now we’re not happy.

So we finally circle back to the Jays corporate HQ in some desperation. The employee parking is still off-limits, but several spaces in front of the building are reserved “For Media Only.” Joan and I exchange glances. Heh. We pull into the spot, and I prepare to declare myself a Batter’s Box Correspondent as I make my way inside.

The nice lady at reception had clearly been asked this before, since she had a hand-drawn map of directions ready to show me. Leave the lot, turn right, turn left, turn right at the lights and keep going until you hit Douglas Street. I consulted my map. Guess where Douglas Street and Knology Park were? One block east of the “Welcome to Dunedin” sign we passed on the way in.

Now, I’m not a man easily provoked. I was on vacation, and relaxation was the point. So I will simply say, to the good burghers of Dunedin: since your town has only one significant industry, could you maybe post a few friggin’ signs saying, “This way to the industry”? Would this kill you? And to any members of the Blue Jays front office who’ve stumbled across this: we are most certainly not the first Canadian tourists to criss-cross Greater Dunedin in growing frustration, looking for the damn ballpark. Thank you.

So anyway. The game. Our seats were about 15 rows up and somewhat to the left of home plate, so we had a pretty good view of the action. (The seats at Knology Park, like the stadium itself, are fairly antique: hard, flat and metal, though at least they’re relatively wide. If your butt is bony, bring a cushion.) Things started poorly when I was horrified to hear, following the national anthems, the rising strains of “Okay Blue Jays” filling the stadium – and not just the regular version we’re abused by in the 7th inning at Skydome, but the full version – an extend-a-mix! Foreshadowing of bad things to come.

Miguel Batista was set to oppose Jeriome Robertson on this occasion. I got the feeling early on that this wasn’t going to be El Artista’s day when Adam Everett hammered a double off the top of the left-field wall in the first inning. That run came around to score, as did four more the next inning. Batista was consistently behind the hitters, and even though this wasn’t their A lineup – only Lance Berkman, Richard Hidalgo and Everett were likely everyday starters – they knocked him around but good. After the disastrous second, Batista must have had a long conversation with Greg Myers – the two had communication problems, judging from the number of shakeoffs and mound trips – and Batista posted three scoreless frames thenceforth before departing. The only noteworthy point on the Blue Jays hitting side was that Reed Johnson led off the game with a supernaturally good bunt single. The Jays should videotape Sparky’s bunts and produce a DVD for all their minor-leaguers who want to use speed and bat control to jack up their averages about 20 points. Johnson may be the best bunter I’ve ever seen.

One last thought about Batista, and it worries me a little: on Adam Everett’s next trip to the plate, Batista hit him in the face with a pitch. Everett was on the ground briefly before being escorted off the field and evidently is none the worse for wear. I thought of this while reading yesterday’s account of the beanball war between the Phillies and Jays in which Batista played a significant role. Now maybe this is all coincidence; I know he has the rep as a poet and a humanitarian. But Batista could quickly develop another rep in his new league -- headhunter – if he doesn’t watch it. For a guy who supposedly was taking on a mentorship role, that’s not a label he wants to earn. The Jays scored some runs late, but overall it was a pretty pedestrian effort – a sign of things to come on this trip.

Robertson, for his part, was effective, especially considering he pitched against the Jays’ Opening Day lineup. I thought it was a little odd that Tosca started Myers and Catalanotto against a lefty – possibly Robertson was a late substitution – but oddly enough, he couldn’t get the lefties out all day. He walked every lefty batter but two, whom he struck out. Weird. Houston’s Rule 5 pick from Cleveland, Willy Taveras, also played – I note this only because Robertson was traded soon after the game to Cleveland in return for the right to keep Taveras. Not often do you see two guys on the same team who are about to be traded for each other.

Monday: Jays v. Twins

With a Saturday game against Houston drawing a large crowd and the Tuesday game against Boston all but sold out, tickets for the Twins game were in remarkably good supply – which explains how we ended up directly behind home plate, five rows back. I didn’t think to pack a “Batter’s Box” banner for this game, since I never imagined we’d get seats this good, so I wasn’t able to give a shout-out to my homies at Da Box. If you were watching the game, you may have seen me, though I was hardly a standout presence: white T-shirt, shorts, baseball cap. What you may have seen, in the middle innings, was this great hairy lummox in a tank top and sunglasses perched behind the plate – cell phone in one hand, big paw waving slowly to the camera. “Yeah, can you see me? Yeah. That’s me!” Well, he was right next to us. We heckled him – quietly, since he was quite the brute – and he eventually left in the sixth inning.

Possibly he left because the game was just hideous. 13-2 Minnesota, and it wasn’t that close, frankly. Pat Hentgen had a couple of decent innings, but it all came apart in the third. His curveball was working, but his fastball had nothing on it, and the Twinkies – mostly their minor-leaguers – were making him pay. Someone named Luis Maza hit a monstrous two-run homer that may still be going. Reed Johnson didn’t even move as it flew over the fence behind him. I have considerable concern about Pat heading into the regular season. The relief corps made it worse. Jordan De Jong appeared for an inning, and I could see both the good and the bad there: his pitches aren’t overwhelming, but they have terrific movement; but they move out of the strike zone a lot, and when they are in the zone, they’re high. Boom. Aquilino Lopez continued his miserable spring by showing up late in the game and contributing four more runs to the cause. I think I saw him throw one good slider the whole time. Nobody else was noteworthy at all.

The Jays’ hitting was dreadful: this was the second game in a row that they’d looked lethargic and uninspired at the plate. They made Seth Gresinger look good. Late in spring training, everyone gets the blues to some extent: get the season started, already! But that doesn’t make it any easier to sit through. Joe Mauer started at catcher for the Twins, to my delight, but the Jays gave him so little to do behind the plate that it was hard to get a read on him defensively. But man, does he have a quick bat: it goes off like a mousetrap. He’s going to be good this year, and he’s rapidly going to get a lot better. My only other noteworthy observation was just how good Doug Mientkiewicz is with the glove at first base. He robbed two Blue Jays of hits with spectacular diving plays.

The day’s only saving grace for me came early. We were at the game with friends of ours from Toronto, Daryn and LeeAnn, and we had a great time chatting about this and that. Very early on in the game, though, Daryn leaned over to me and said, “Check out who just sat down behind you.” Our seats were in the last row of the front section; above and behind us was a railing and the concrete walkway, and beyond that, the upper rows. Directly behind the railing were a series of plastic deck chairs. And sitting in the one directly behind me was JP Ricciardi.

Now, you have to understand my situation. I am, to say the least, a big fan of JP Ricciardi and the work he’s done with this ballclub. But I’m also, in this position at least, a correspondent of sorts; not for nothing did I park in the “Media Only” space at Jays HQ on Saturday. So I felt I couldn’t really be a fan in this situation. Daryn could (and did) ask JP to autograph his baseball cap, which he graciously did. In fact, during the course of the games we attended, JP granted many requests for autographs and even photos, and spoke with passers-by who recognized him. Full marks to JP for that; not many executives are willing to surrender themselves to the certainty of fan interaction. Anyway, I’m not an autograph hound regardless, and I didn’t want to meet him under those kinds of circumstances. Luckily for me, I subsequently ran into Keith Law, whom I had met before, and as we chatted briefly, he introduced me to JP as one of the Batter’s Box guys, which was very cool. JP and I exchanged “Pleased to meet you”s, and that was basically that: Hentgen was getting lit up at the moment, and JP was watching him like a hawk, so it wasn’t the time or place for chit-chat. Nice guy, though; firm handshake.

It’s weird watching a ballgame with the team’s GM sitting behind you; although you know he’s not paying any attention to you (JP was flanked by many of his front-office colleagues and scouts, including Sal Butera, with whom we also spoke briefly; very nice fellow), you still have this terror of saying something stupid and looking like a clod in front of the one guy you’d love to impress somehow. At the same time, it’s tempting to try to overhear what the GM is saying about the team – especially when the team is getting drubbed – but even if I’d thought that was appropriate (which I didn’t), any conversations behind us were inaudible anyway. But that didn’t stop me from living one of the most embarrassing moments of the entire trip.

I may not have mentioned this before, but it was hot down there in Dunedin: 80 degrees minimum, which this Newfoundland expatriate is not used to, and even hotter in full blazing sunlight with no breeze. Add to this the fact that it was a heavy, lazy day, and the few quiet Jays fans in attendance were vastly outnumbered by more vocal Twins fans. Add to that the fact that I was having multiple conversations with my wife and our friends, and that the Jays and Twins were wearing very similar-coloured uniforms, and that okay, maybe I’d had a beer or three, and that the game was such a dud that eventually I was paying very little attention to the events on the field. This is how it happened, then, when a Jays batter hit into a rally-killing, inning-ending double play, that I found myself applauding loudly for the Twins while seated directly in front of J.P. Ricciardi. That, my friends, is embarrassing.

Tuesday: Jays. v. Red Sox

At this point in the trip, you can see why Joan and I were beginning to think we were bad karma for the Blue Jays. The two games we attended weren’t just losses, they were deeply unwatchable losses. So with some trepidation, we set out again for Dunedin and the last of our three spring-training games. But we started late – the Gulf of Mexico is an amazingly comfortable swimming pool – and by the time the game was starting, we were still driving north, closing in on the Dunedin city limits. It was soon after 1:00 start time that my cellphone went off; this was Daryn, who was already at the game.

“Guess who’s pitching for Boston,” he said.

“You’re kidding,” I moaned.

“Yup,” he said. “And he’s getting smoked. Just had to call you and rub it in.”

Indeed, by the time we got there, it was 6-0 Toronto over Pedro Martinez, thanks to a grand slam by Josh Phelps and a solo shot by Eric Hinske. According to the Red Sox fan we were seated next to, Pedro’s fastball was anemic in the first inning; when we got there, he’d reverted to his change and curve almost exclusively. The Boston fan was not an exception: in our section – we were well down the first base line this time – because there were many Red Sox rooters. And they were a boisterous lot.

David Ortiz muffed an easy ground ball at first base. “C’mon, Ahtiz, look alive!” David McCarty flubbed a flyball to left. “Jeeziz, McCahty!” Okay, I’m exaggerating the accents a little, but what they lacked in New England twang, they made up for in leather lungs and aggressiveness. The bald, shirtless, bearded fellow with the lumberjack arms three rows down was particularly memorable. But if the fans were concerned about Boston’s defence, they had reason to be: with Trot Nixon and Nomar Garciaparra starting the year on the DL, people like Ortiz, McCarty and Mark Bellhorn, all of whom took the field this day, will make fielding an adventure early in 2004.

Not that the Jays had much to brag about. Maybe he was still dreaming about his slam off Pedro, but first baseman Josh Phelps in the fourth had one of the worst defensive innings I’ve ever seen. The first batter grounded hard towards the first base line; Josh staggered after it and waved at the ball as it bounced down the line for a double; bending down or diving apparently wasn’t an option. A subsequent batter hit a grounder that Phelps bobbled and kicked for an error. The next batter also hit a grounder; blocked by the runner, Phelps again misplayed the ball (Tosca came out, unsuccessfully, to argue interference). By this time, Phelps was getting incredible amounts of abuse from the fans: grief from Toronto rooters, mockery from Boston loyalists. You can start to see why big-leaguers can’t afford to have rabbit ears; if you can’t shut out the crowd, you can’t concentrate. Josh had one more questionable play – he didn’t stretch well to receive a throw on a potential double play – before the inning mercifully ended. For those of us expecting to see Carlos Delgado leave Toronto next winter, we’d better hope that Phelps gets a lot of instructional time at first base in the months to come.

The Red Sox scored three runs the next inning on a massive McCarty homer off Mark Lukasiewicz, drawing them to within 6-4, and we were getting seriously worried about being a curse on this squad. But the Jays scored three more runs, making it 9-4, before we had to leave in the sixth inning for a prior appointment (I noted with some satisfaction that many Sox fans had already streamed out when the Jays scored their ninth run; the Jays eventually won 11-8). But I did get to see Adam Peterson before I left. In one brief inning, and from a distance, he looked solid: he throws hard, he’s got good movement on his pitches, and his command looks promising. And as others have noted, Justin Miller threw very well over the first 3+ innings: he’s gaining some control over his excellent stuff. He just needs time and reps to improve it. Syracuse is the right place for him right now.

It was unfortunate, in a way, that we came down to spring training late in March: most of the prospects had already been assigned to minor-league camp by then, and we saw mostly regular lineups at Knology Park. The Jays’ minor-league camps – back at that dusty parking lot field, ironically – was where the prospects could still be found, but we had other things to do in Florida than immerse ourselves in baseball, and there simply wasn’t time. Maybe another year. As for the big-league team, it can’t be said often enough: spring training games mean nothing. Aside from Pat Hentgen’s struggles, nothing I saw from the players particularly worried me or inspired me; when the regular season starts, everything goes back to zero. There wasn’t a lot of insight I could bring from Dunedin on this occasion.

But the convertible was cool.
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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mike Green - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 05:50 PM EST (#74194) #
Thanks, Jordan, for the report. I feel a warm breeze in my office, but it was just my imagination running away with me.
Coach - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 06:03 PM EST (#74195) #
Welcome home, Jordan. I'm glad you had the convertible, the sunsets, and the chance to make such an indelible impression on J.P. :)

Too bad about your luck with the quality of baseball; the Beer Club watched the Astros game -- we were looking for you on TV -- and apart from Sparky, we didn't see much to get excited about. Of course, a "bad" day at a ball park in Florida is better than a good day almost anywhere else.
Gitz - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 06:08 PM EST (#74196) #
Good reporting, Jordan. I felt that tug of regret for having missed spring training again this year, what with having gone for several years in a row in the 1990s. Alas, the burdens, er, pleaures of marriage. I can only repeat my plea a few months back: if you get the time and the money, a trip to Florida or Arizona in March is as close as a baseball fan can get to heaven. Sure, the games mean nothing, but the games will never be closer, because for as nice as ML ballparks are, they're impersonal. And, as Jordan mentioned, you will find new appreciation for some ballplayer you may have not liked, or thought you knew, etc. For me, as I've said before, one of those players is Mike Bordick, and as long as I watch baseball, I will always compare shortstops (in terms of defense) to him. If I had only seen Bordick all those years I went, it would have been worth it, but I also saw Bonds, McGwire, Griffey, F. Thomas, the first year of Legends Field in Tampa, etc. etc. And all of it up close, close, close.

One other thing, Jordan: you mentioned that Joe Mauer had a quick bat and that he's going to be good this year, but I wonder how true that is. His minor-league numbers indicate he's not going to be much better than Sean Burroughs was in his rookie year. Long-term, of course, both guys have high ceilings, even if Burroughs' looks a bit lower than it originally did. Maybe I missed it, but did Mauer face Hentgen? Because, if he's really throwing 82 MPH, I could turn on that "heater" and drive one somewhere, too.

I hope Mauer is good this year, if for nothing else than to give Gleeman something to smile about, but I'm not sure the hype is justified just yet.
_Rob - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 06:12 PM EST (#74197) #
Same thing happened to us in 2001. Couldn't find the stadium, but found the training complex...for a good stadium, try Hammond Field in Ft. Myers (Twins). Very nice atmosphere, and six year olds play soccer right next door!

Good report, and I'm worried about El Artista to.
Gerry - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 06:18 PM EST (#74198) #
A good vacation story! I was in Clearwater about five years ago and also got lost looking for, what was back then, Non-Knology park.

Hentgen will have to be watched carefully, all reports suggest his fastball has no zip.
_Mick - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 06:56 PM EST (#74199) #
Somebody's been channeling J.D. Salinger. Those first three grafs would fit nicely into Catcher in the Rye (as opposed to Uecker's awful Catcher in the Wry).
_Jordan - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 07:05 PM EST (#74200) #
Oddly enough, Mick, I've never read it (Salinger, that is, though I've also avoided Uecker). My knowledge of the great works of fiction is mostly restricted to whichever ones were rendered in Classics Illustrated format. Pretty sad, really.
Gitz - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 07:07 PM EST (#74201) #
Salinger? I'm thinking a longer-winded Hemingway, maybe even a slightly more "literary" Mark Twain. Especially that second paragraph ... "We wuz raftin' down the Missisippi, and the sun wuz good and hot above us ... "
Gitz - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 07:11 PM EST (#74202) #
Wildly off topic, but seeing that Jordan has never read Salinger made me think of something I ponder quite often, which goes to show how pathetic my life is: what if Jordan, or anyone, wrote a book, and literally it came out verbatim as a book that has already been written, even though Jordan had never read the book? If the book was a classic like The Catcher in the Rye, how much would that suck to hear back from your literary agent?

"Um, Jordan, this has already been done."
"But I swear, I've never read it!"
"Sure, you haven't. Sure you haven't."
Pepper Moffatt - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 07:21 PM EST (#74203) #
what if Jordan, or anyone, wrote a book, and literally it came out verbatim as a book that has already been written, even though Jordan had never read the book?

Happens *all* the time in academia. You write a working paper on some obscure topic, send it off to some journal, just to get a note back saying:

Mr. Moffatt,

Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, we can not publish your paper in our journal, as the model you created has already been published by Moominpappa in a 1972 issue of Physical Review A.


Of course, a lot of times the journals *don't* catch it, which is a bad because these duplications aren't always accidental. There was a mathematician at one of the U Cal schools who made a career of translating old math articles from Cold War era Polish math journals, then passing it off as his own work.


Pepper Moffatt - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 07:24 PM EST (#74204) #
err.. "which is a bad THING".

Time for coffee.
_Steve Z - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 08:21 PM EST (#74205) #
When my sister-in-law was in law school she authored a fairly lengthy article, now cited quite a bit in tne annals of copwrite law, on the subject of cryptomnesia (or subconscious copying).
_Lefty - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 08:57 PM EST (#74206) #
I've been out of the loop for this past week. Has anyone heard whether any decision has been made for Jays closer. Last weeks odds on was Kerry followed closely by Justin. Thanks.
_The Original Ry - Friday, April 02 2004 @ 09:12 PM EST (#74207) #

I hadn't realized you were going to be down there. I was at the Saturday game with my father, sitting in section 107, row 4. And just to rub it in, I had no trouble finding my way to Knology Park -- I just made a point to print off the directions from the Blue Jays website before I left New Brunswick. :-)

The only other game I was at this trip was the Sunday game in Clearwater at the Phillies' new stadium. That place is beautiful and puts Ol' Knology Park to shame. Ted Lilly started and looked pretty good. Towers came in after Lilly reached his pitch count and didn't seem to fool very many Phillies. They hit him pretty hard.

J.P. and Tim McCleary were sitting six rows infront of me at that game, and as everyone was leaving afterward, I made a point to say "how's it goin' J.P.?" He replied "hey, how you doin'?" He looked like he wanted to check his cell phone (and possibly get away from a certain pale Canuck who was wearing a loud short-sleeve shirt and hadn't shaved in days), so I didn't pursue the conversation beyond that.

We didn't have a convertible, unfortunately. We rented a Saturn Ion from National (located in same building as Alamo). The Ion is a cheap, freaky-looking thing with an underpowered engine and an automatic transmission that isn't particularly bright. Visibility was good and it was easy to maneuver, so it wasn't all that bad for a rental car.

For anyone planning a trip to the Tampa area for spring training in the coming years, the airport La Quinta is a nice hotel at a reasonable price in an upscale part of the city. Legends Field is just a couple miles down the street and Dunedin and Clearwater are pretty easy to get to from there. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a good place to stay.
Craig B - Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:12 AM EST (#74208) #
what if Jordan, or anyone, wrote a book, and literally it came out verbatim as a book that has already been written, even though Jordan had never read the book?

Unfortunately, Gitz (and quite ironically) this idea has already been done.

It's the subject of a brilliant and bizarre story by Jorge Luis Borges called "Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote" which appears in his Collected Fictions.
Gitz - Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 12:27 AM EST (#74209) #
Maybe Joseph Campbell is right: there really is only one story, and we go on telling it with continuing ferocity.

And I love Borges. His non-fiction, in my humble opinion, is as good as his fiction, from which he derives most of his (underrated?) fame.
_Jays Fan in the - Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 01:26 PM EST (#74211) #
"What if Jordan, or anyone, wrote a book, and literally it came out verbatim as a book that has already been written, even though Jordan had never read the book?"
(Sorry, but I can't figure out to italicize quotes on these newfangled computers)

Assuming a 400 page book, with 1000 words per page, and five letters per word, the odds against it are 26 to the exponent 2 million.

But what do I know from 500 miles away- JFITWC
_R Billie - Saturday, April 03 2004 @ 02:37 PM EST (#74212) #
I saw the pitch to Everett and it didn't look aimed for his head as much as for the letters and it ran a bit up and in. Most of the time the batters gets out of the way but this time Everett was leaning and it glanced off his shoulder and caught him flush in the cheek. Fortunately it didn't do big damage with his shoulder absorbing much of the blow but as long as there isn't a rule about how far a batter can lean over the plate I'm not sure what recourse a pitcher like Batista has; he can't keep putting the ball over the plate and allowing hitters like Everett to get full swing doubles.

It's always bothered me that hitters always cheat and hang over the plate (and wear body armour in some cases) or erase the lines of the batter's box to be able to stand outside of it (see Frank Thomas) and yet the pitcher will be called for any little balk. If hitters like Eckstein, Johnson, Delgado, and Everett stand close to the plate they have to accept that inside pitches may hit them.

That doesn't mean it's ok to throw at someone's head but I haven't seen evidence that it was intention yet. The second time was on a changeup if I understand correctly.
_Daryn - Monday, April 05 2004 @ 02:21 PM EDT (#74213) #
Being the afore-mentioned "Daryn", I have to say that a couple days in the ball park with Jordan is the most fun I've had drinking American Beer... ok, there was Labbat's Blue as well, but how do you choose?

Anyway, the day before we watched Pedro getting smoked, and just after J.P. Riccardi signed my cap, Jordan was taking his turn to buy beer and Margarita's and the rest of us heard J.P. (first name basis now) talking to Sal Buterra and they agreed that Pedro just isn't Pedro anymore, and that he hardly throws anything over 90 mph anymore...

and I have to say, that on that Tuesday and again last night against Baltimore he looked it... his curve is still mean though...

too bad I didn't get that info in time to help anyone's fantasy draft, but it might be a good time unload him if you can get a top guy in return... or not.. who knows.. Right??!

_Daryn - Tuesday, April 06 2004 @ 09:11 AM EDT (#74214) #
I just remembered, when Keith introduced Jordan as "one of the Batter's Box guys" to J.P. he didn't just say "pleased to meet you".. he said, "are you the guy that has been cutting me up!"...

Jordan looked horrified!
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