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The new season is almost upon us; the Jays played an inter-squad game yesterday and will play a full-blown Spring Training game against the Twins on Friday, and I am just itching to see and hear some baseball.

After two seasons of hardcore ballpark attendance (I went to well over 60 games at the Dome in '03, and about 50 last season), I'll be scaling back pretty significantly this year. I figure I should get out to between ten and twenty games, but I really don't know for sure. A lot depends on Theo, and since he's just two months old he's not freely communicating his wishes and desires quite yet. Well, aside from the desire to eat, which he gets across to us with a distinctive "llliiiiiiiiiiiiiiing" sound. But what I'm trying to say is that I don't know how he'll like the Rogers Centre experience, and as a full-time Dad starting next month, the Little Man will be determining just how often I get to go to the ballgame.

And that's why I bought a giant television. When Mrs. Hank and I decided that it was time to have us a kid, I began to catalog what we'd want to have at home that we'd no longer be able to afford, and I set about frantically acquiring as many of these items as I could before the blessed event. And, as if sensing my desire for a bigger TV, my faithful old idiot box, who had served me well for more than a decade, decided that it was time to make some sparks and smoke and be transported out to the curb. R.I.P., big fella.

We took delivery part way through last season, and the few times that I didn't make it to the park for a home game and got to watch the Sportsnet coverage, I was floored. Those games that they broadcast in HD, even when seen on a standard definition TV, were stunning. Mrs. Hank, not usually one to comment on such things, opined that we should stay home from the Dome more often to watch the Sportsnet coverage, that's how good it looked. And Rogers announced that they'd be broadcasting all of the Jays home games in HD this season, which is excellent news.

So anyways, one thing I'm looking forward to this year is watching more games on TV at home. That's a switch, ain't it? Plus, the new homestead here has a generous backyard, and once the weather is pleasant enough, I can't wait to get out there and sit in the grass and listen to games on the radio.

But enough blathering about me! This Friday will mark the first Game Thread of the new season, followed by the first Game Report on Saturday. For those of you who've been missing the threads where you can talk Blue Jays in a less-focussed manner, Friday marks their return. Yeah, we're not doing Roundups any more, but the Game Report is a lot like what the Roundups used to be -- except instead of being headed by a bunch of links to other articles, it'll be headed by an original writeup of last night's game.

I'm starting to get that buzz, that New Season buzz. Could be the coffee, I don't know. But I feel it. Suddenly, I don't care about off-season transactions or what happened last year. All I care about is this beautiful new season where all things are possible and where my favourite team is currently tied for first place.

Who's with me? What's going on in Jays-land?

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The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Jobu - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 10:14 AM EST (#104164) #
It's been far too long since I've been able to shout "PUNCH HIM IN THE FACE" while wearing scrubs in public. It's been far to long since I've drove out of towners silently crazy drumming above their head and making snide comments "Hey.... he actually CAUGHT that one! Not bad for 100 million". And most of all, it's been to long since I've seen O-Dog make a play he has no business making, Doc make a batter hack like MVP baseball, Sparky taking one in the shoulder for the team, Vernon jumping into the wall, and Rios stretching doubles into triples while looking like he's taking a morning jog. After last season, I say we're DUE for some breaks to go our way. Here's to 05 everyone!! See you at the ballpark....

in a couple months.
GrrBear - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 11:23 AM EST (#104171) #
I guess I'd have to see it to believe it, but how much of a difference does HD make? Is it similar to the difference between videotape and DVD, or is it a bigger leap than that?

Oh, and Spring Training!!! w00t!!! :)
Skills - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 11:32 AM EST (#104172) #
I can't describe my excitement, and due to my great distance from Toronto (i live in New Jersey) I hope to make maybe a game. The only time I've been to Skydome was *sniff* in 1994, when I toured the stadium only to see a 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Other than that, I'll have to try and see the Jays at Yankee Stadium.

By the way, and I know this is way off topic, but I'm headin up to Montreal in 2 weeks. Can anyone tell me some must see attractions or other useful info?
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 11:37 AM EST (#104173) #
HD makes a big difference, even when viewing on a standard definition set, provided the broadcast itself is good. We're watching standard definition satellite from StarChoice on a 52" standard definition TV, well calibrated, and the difference is night and day, especially when you compare it to broadcasts of games from stadiums with older equipment (and poorer lighting than the Rogers Centre, which is lit up like a TV studio). I remember the Twins broadcasts as being particularly poor in comparison.

I've heard complaints that Sportsnet looked bad on analog Rogers cable and also on their digital cable service. I asked a Rogers representative about that when we moved into our new house (we were toying with getting Rogers high speed internet and VOIP because Bell was jerking us around with telephone install dates -- they missed two and then went to the wrong place on the third try, and told us that because of the "difficulties" they wouldn't be installing our phone for another month, after the due date for our baby...hmmmm, no), and she told me that they'd upgraded the Sportsnet signal on the digital cable package. Theoretically, it should look as good as it does on StarChoice.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 11:45 AM EST (#104175) #
...and to answer the question, the old broadcasts weren't as bad as VHS, but the upgrade is nearly as noticeable as VHS-to-DVD, especially if you turn the 'sharpness' on your TV all the way down -- the old broadcasts look fuzzy, the new ones still look sharp as a tack, with more detail that was being obscured by the 'sharpness' effect.
Mike Green - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:03 PM EST (#104178) #
The calendar indeed says March. Alex Rios has been pumping iron and looks ready to go. And I'm ready.

Skills, Montreal is a great city for people watching. The cafes of St. Denis Street are my favourite place for it. The old city, and Mount Royal, are also worth a visit. If you're a skier, they've had tons of snow, and it's a short ride to the Laurentians (45 minutes tops) for very fine skiing. There are any number of reasonably priced excellent bring-your-own-wine restaurants.
Jobu - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:17 PM EST (#104180) #
Skills, find the closest "Eggspectation" to your hotel and eat there, everyday, for breakfast. You wont be disapointed starting your day there. I ate there thrice in one day once.

Also, if it's in your budget, have an evening at "Nuances", a five star restaurant ontop of Casino Montreal. The food is, needless to say, fantastic and they treat you like absolute royalty....royalty from one of the good contries too, not like the King of Bratislava or something.
John Northey - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:29 PM EST (#104182) #
I'm excited by the team, even if they don't make 500 as it looks, from the first game reports (intersquad), that they are going to be the type of team I love to watch, even though the stats person in me knows it isn't the most likely method to produce runs. Stolen bases, hit and runs, etc. Much more fun to watch than walk, walk, strikeout, home run.
C. Oliver - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:36 PM EST (#104183) #
Despite the snow here in Western New York State, Spring is here! The Jays begin their exhibition games and our high school baseball team (I am an assistant coach)begin on Monday. The organizational meeting is tomorrow!

It is all good!
Jobu - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:36 PM EST (#104184) #
Good point John,

maybe if the Jays become a "fun" team, we'll get more people coming to the park, thus making the experience more fun and luring more people, thus making the experience more fun and luring more people, thus.... well you get the idea. I like to call it "the Cheer Club Syndrome". The roll of NFH will be played by Mike Douglas with beard.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 12:55 PM EST (#104185) #
NFH, is that a Grundig radio picture on the thread intro?
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:14 PM EST (#104187) #
Yep, it's my baseball radio. That's the logo for Game Threads now.

Grundig FR-200.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:25 PM EST (#104189) #
Its my sailboat weekend baseball radio as well. Just wind it up and tack. Nice one.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:32 PM EST (#104191) #
We bought it for camping, but I really like the idea of not using batteries. The fear-based EMERGENCY RADIO ads for it make me a little sad, because it's so much better than that.
Matthew E - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:35 PM EST (#104192) #
We got such a radio for my parents after the Big Power Failure Of Ought-Three because they live in the middle of freaking noplace. I want one too, though.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:53 PM EST (#104193) #
They are a great radio, the battery issue is a huge plus. Its even kind of fun just winding it up every 20 minutes or so. The participation factor of making your own sparks. Just like old transistor radio's though, they don't stand up to tumbling to the deck very well. The volume control gets really scratchy.
Matthew E - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 01:59 PM EST (#104194) #
"The volume control gets really scratchy."

I had a stereo once that had that. I was able to fix it by, every now and then, opening it up and spraying WD-40 on the volume rheostat. Basically the rheostat was getting spots of oxidation on it. Is this the problem you mean?
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:09 PM EST (#104195) #
Thats the problem I mean alright. I had assumed it was because its fallen more times than I care to admit. But you might be right. I use it in a marine environment and just leave it in the boat. It just might be oxidation. I'm glad this subject came up, Thanks NfH and thanks for the tip Matthew. I'm going to give your suggestion a try. Its just about time to get the boat ready for spring and thats now on my list of things to do.

Lazily sailing along and non scratchy baseball is heaven on earth.
Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:10 PM EST (#104196) #
Radio Shack sells a product for cleaning pots. I use it on Atari 2600 paddles and it works like a charm. I've heard that WD40 can gum up the pot if used too frequently, though I've never tried it, so I don't know if that's correct or not.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:14 PM EST (#104197) #
I like to be all crazy and wind it enough to run two or three hours.

RE: scratchiness, yeah, I have that, too. Dropped it. I think something's loose inside, I'm going to open it up on a slow day and have a look. The sound of the scratchiness sounds the same as the oxidation problem (which I had on an old amp of mine), but it's definitely directly related to dropping the radio. Uh, a lot of times.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:19 PM EST (#104198) #
I say that in my case because the radio is pretty new and has never seen dampness.
Matthew E - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:20 PM EST (#104199) #
"I use it on Atari 2600 paddles and it works like a charm."

Yeah, once it had been explained to me what was going on with the volume, I instantly made the connection to what happened to my Atari paddles fifteen years previous. Sitting there trying to play Breakout with the little horizontal line jumping back and forth spastically. Obviously the same problem. If only I had known at the time.
Skills - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:21 PM EST (#104200) #
Thanks for the info on Montreal.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:35 PM EST (#104201) #
Give us a report back on how you make out. I'll do likewise when I get around to it. I'll leave it on a game thread. I'm sure I can spray a little can but would probably break the damn thing if I started playing mechanic.
gv27 - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:38 PM EST (#104202) #
I'm with John Northey. Watching Catalanotto hit a double the opposite way in the intersquad game Tuesday got me intrigued by the type of ball we'll see this year. Sure, home runs are fun, but I prefer dropping bunts with a guy dancing off third; a club that takes some risks instead of moving station-to-station while waiting for the big belt.
Ryan B. - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:41 PM EST (#104204) #
Yes NFH, I can feel it!

I found out yesterday that I can get both days I want off from work so I can make the long drive down the 401 to catch the Jays. I've managed to see only two games live the last two seasons (Both games the Jays were blown out, once by Oakland and last year by the Angles). This year I'm going to the home opener against the Sox and am staying over night so I can catch the next day’s game too!

Not only am I getting back to back games but I also get to go back down to Toronto later in the summer for more BlueJays action!

Being a Hardcore Jays fan but living too far away to catch games regularly makes each live game special. I just love it and I'm looking forward to seeing all the Stadium upgrades.

In short, I'm excited as hell for the upcoming season, even if being a .500 club would be overachieving!

Is there any way to catch the game Friday on TV/Radio/Web Cast? Also, does anyone know which spring training games are being carried by Sportsnet? And come to think of it, who will be in the broadcast booth this year for Sportsnet?
gv27 - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 02:57 PM EST (#104206) #
How far down the 401 are you Ryan? I'm curious to know how far people at Da Box have gone for a baseball game. For one of the final games at Old Comiskey, I left Toronto at 6:30am and drove to Detroit, got a $60 return airfare to Chicago Midway, and jumped in a cab. Watched Boston and play the White Sox in an afternoon game, got back in a cab, back on a plane, back in my car, and was home by midnight.
Rob - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:01 PM EST (#104207) #
The Mets-Nats game is on MLB.TV for free right now -- click here. Three reasons to watch this:

1) It's snowing outside (in the GTA, anyway)
2) It's baseball
3) See #2

DaveInNYC - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:04 PM EST (#104208) #
I don't know if this is the right place to put it, but some interesting stuff from the article on the team's website with regards to the intrasquad game.

Gibby has announced that Cat and Reed will bat leadoff this season, and Adams will bat ninth. That leaves us to assume that the lineup will look something like this.


To be honest with you, that's not THAT bad of a lineup.

Other things that were mentioned were that Alex Rios has gained 10-15 pounds of solid muscle and that Three Jays -- Alex Rios, Vince Perkins and Raul Tablado -- agreed to contracts with undisclosed terms on Tuesday. (Taken from

I'm sorry if this was all posted, but I'm just getting used to the new site design and it couldn't find it anywhere.
Ryan B. - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:09 PM EST (#104210) #
gv27, compared to your trip mine is a walk down the street. I live in Ottawa so it takes me between 4 and 5 hours to get to Rogers Centre.
Ryan B. - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:11 PM EST (#104211) #
Oh man! Dan Scholmen is doing play by play on that free Nationals/Mets game broadcast! Man I miss him and Buck.

Barry Larkin is making a fool of himself talking up the Nationals as an NL East threat.
Rob - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:22 PM EST (#104213) #
Yeah, we all love Dan Shulman. Larkin was rather good, aside from the Nats talk.
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:36 PM EST (#104215) #
Is there any way to catch the game Friday on TV/Radio/Web Cast?

The Jays don't appear to be running it, but the Twins are broadcasting it on the radio. I'd check for web feeds from stations that run the Twins games.

I don't want to post 'em for fear that they'll be clamped-down before game time on Friday, but anyone who wants a list of links that might work can drop me a line.

Pepper Moffatt - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:43 PM EST (#104216) #
That was fun. Thanks for the link, Rob!

Now I have to go back to my regularly scheduled 80's music. The joys of working from home. :)
Rob - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:55 PM EST (#104218) #
That was fun. Thanks for the link, Rob!

I know, there was REAL BASEBALL. Just 13 more days until I can see it in person.

One of the FAN 590's games is at 1:00 on Friday the 25th and I was all excited over the idea of listening at school...then I looked it up and March 25 is Good Friday. So much for that. Honestly, what's more fun: sitting at home listening to the game or sitting at your desk, one hand casually covering your play-by-play-fed ear?

Jobu - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 03:57 PM EST (#104219) #
Wow, you guys are making me feel guilty for only making about 30 games last season while living an hour and a half away.

I think the cheer club should give out a "how long did it take you to get here?" award each year.
BCMike - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 04:13 PM EST (#104222) #
Sounds like it's time to get MLB's Game Day Audio again. $14.95 is a pretty good deal.
Skills - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 04:34 PM EST (#104224) #
Does anyone know if MLB TV is worth getting? I haven't really seen it myself, except for short clips.
Magpie - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:14 PM EST (#104225) #
Ah, I don't want to go to the Dome.

I want to see NFH's big screen!

I am now going to talk about the batting order. Is this pathetic or what? No games have been played, Gibbons could very well change his mind next week... I just need a break from poring over each and every Dave Stieb start... stay tuned for that one.

Anyway, Adams 9th is obviously a Let-the-Rookie-Work-Without The Big-Time Pressure move. The one thing that worries me is Hillenbrand behind Koskie. I see... I see... 25 GIDPs in that case. Koskie gets on base, but he doesn't get down to 2nd quick enough to mess with the infielder.

Of course he wants to go R-L-R-L - in that case, maybe Koskie-Wells-Hinske-Hillenbrand might work better.

Starved for baseball, I tell ya. Starved!

VBF - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:21 PM EST (#104226) #
I can't remember if it was mentioned here or at another site, but wouldn't it be great if Rogers miked the sounds of the game on SAP. I find it difficult to watch games at home without hearing Murray Eldon introduce Orlando Hudson and all the sounds that come along with the game experience.

I can't wait to get back into the routine of going to the games. From the Go Bus Ride, to watching batting practice, to hearing "Imperial March" when the visiting team is announced.

DaveInNYC - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:23 PM EST (#104227) #
What about the contracts signed by Rios, Perkins, and Tablado? Does anyone know anything about the terms of these deals?
Named For Hank - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:30 PM EST (#104228) #
I want to see NFH's big screen!

Don't forget my killer stereo. It may not have been enough to lure Nomar Garciaparra to Toronto, but it kicks some serious butt.

6-4-3 - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:35 PM EST (#104229) #
I'm not sure about Perkins or Tablado, but the Star had a an article today on Rios, and it mentioned that he was signed to a one year, $400,000 contract.
VBF - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:38 PM EST (#104230) #
Did anyone read the Richard Griffin article on the Jays today? It was oozing with optimism so much that I had to question if Richard had even written the article at all. It wasn't just superficial optimism either- I think it was genuine. Good job Griff!
Dave Till - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 05:41 PM EST (#104231) #

I'm curious to know how far people at Da Box have gone for a baseball game.

The farthest I've gone just for baseball: at the end of the 1990 season, I drove down to Baltimore to see the last game of the season between the Jays and the Orioles. The Jays went into that game one back of the Red Sox; a Sox loss and a Jays win would have left the two teams tied after 162. Needless to say, this didn't happen. (The Sox pennant celebration was shown on the Memorial Stadium scoreboard, and the Baltimore fans were very happy, as they wanted the Jays to lose.)

On the return trip, I had the easiest passage through customs ever:

"How long have you been gone?"
"Two days."
"Where did you go?"
"Did you see the Jays play?"
"Drive on through."

BCMike - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 06:06 PM EST (#104233) #

I can't remember if it was mentioned here or at another site, but wouldn't it be great if Rogers miked the sounds of the game on SAP.

This is great idea. Has this ever been done before in any sport?

Andrew K - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 06:29 PM EST (#104235) #
Does anyone know if MLB TV is worth getting? I haven't really seen it myself, except for short clips.

It's my only option here. The quality is not near tv, but it is quite watchable (it's also quite variable, despite being the same bitrate; I don't know why that is).

Last summer I greatly enjoyed having my laptop in the kitchen, showing the game while I cooked and ate dinner. Can't wait for it to start again. Sadly it looks like only 2 Jays spring training games are on.

Jobu - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 07:10 PM EST (#104236) #
If there was a game sounds SAP, you could create the perfect hybrid of Tom and Jerry and game sounds. Such a creation hasn't been topped since the time Jerry announced my movements while I was listening to him and hanging a Lilly-K over the 500 rail.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 07:46 PM EST (#104240) #
Some new spring training news up on Slam Sports now. Wednesday spring training results etc.

Good news and bad news.

League was electric.

Koch shorted out. Hey, Brad Anrsberg said he was amped up.

"If he makes the team," said Gibbons, "we see him as a sixth or seventh inning guy."

The Gibbons comment doesn't sound very promising. Billy will just have to show everyone that Billy is capable of being Billy.
Useless Tyler - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 10:35 PM EST (#104246) #
Griffin's article was undoubtedly insane in the proverbial brain. I honestly could not believe this sort of optimism coming from a guy like him.

But on a more relevant note, I have been pumped for the season ever since I started wearing my jays hat on a regular basis (to test out NFH's theory about a new hat looking okay on me - so far no chuckling from others). The season pass should come in a few weeks, and I can't wait for what will most likely be an excellent year, both for the Jays and the Cheer Club.

But NFH - if you're only going to a third as many games as you previously have, that means you'll have to yell "charge" three times as loud whenever you do come.
StephenT - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 10:44 PM EST (#104247) #
Thanks to Rob and Andrew for the mentions of MLB.TV. It turns out you can still see the archive of the ESPN broadcast of the Nats/Mets game at . (Unfortunately, the commercials are also archived.)

First time I've tried MLB.TV in quite a while, and the quality is better than I remember. I'll probably check in for the 2 Jays broadcasts (Thu Mar 10 7:15pm vs NYY (presumably the YES broadcast) and Sat Mar 12 vs Twins (presumably Twins FSN broadcast)), especially if they are archived; though I notice those ones aren't labelled as Free.
Lefty - Wednesday, March 02 2005 @ 10:58 PM EST (#104248) #
Griffin's article was undoubtedly insane in the proverbial brain. I honestly could not believe this sort of optimism coming from a guy like him.But on a more relevant note,

Well it must be relevant if two people noted it and came to similar conclusions.

I think pretty much everything Griffin has written since he came back from vacation has been entertaining and pretty positive.

My guess is he and Godfrey have had a little chit chat.This team has a lot riding on this season.They need all the good press they can get. Not sure what the deal is but one could speculate.

Ryan C - Thursday, March 03 2005 @ 01:08 AM EST (#104253) #
I've noticed Griffin has been more positive as well and it's a nice change, but everytime I read one of his articles there is still that underlying snippyness there.

Every single column of his Ive read recently seems to focus alot on the Jays new style of play, more smallball-ish. And he loves it because it gives him the opportunity to point out how boring "station-to-station" baseball is, and how it totally failed last year, and how the Jays have now come around to his way of thinking, and how he was right and Ricciardi was wrong. It's like every column starts out on a positive note about the team but by the time you get to the end it's turned into one big "I told you so".

Still this Griffin is much preferable to the Griffin of last year any time. I would take self-serving potshots over relentless negativity any day of the week.
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