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The Jays opened their grapefruit schedule yesterday against the defending AL Central champs.

They played the game, there were umpires and everything. I'm sure someone was even keeping score.

But no one cares about any of that stuff. It's spring training.

It's Spring Training here at Da Box as well, and this is the Very First Installment of a brand new feature: Game Reports. And because no one really cares all that much about what happened in yesterday's game, this seems like an ideal time to explain what we hope to achieve here.

Baseball reporting is pretty much as old as the game itself. And if you ever go back and read old newspaper accounts of games played in the early 20th century, you notice right away that the person describing the game is working under the assumption that you weren't there and you don't know what happened. Consequently, game stories used to be just that - an account, often a very detailed account, of what happened on the field. Often in rather purple prose that treated the athletes with a reverence that now seems... pretty damn silly. It was an innocent age, what can we say.

This type of reporting necessarily began to change as mass broadcasting media entered more and more homes: first radio, and then television in the 1950s. The writers describing the games must have had to deal with the knowledge that their readers had seen the same thing that they had. Consequently, they began to search for something that only they could provide. It was Dick Young of the New York Daily News who came up with the answer; he led the post-game charge to the clubhouse, to gather the instant reponse from the players and managers. This was genuinely new, and it gave the readers something they could not get on their own.

Now I don't want to go off on a rant here. But, personally, I don't think this was a great leap forward for baseball reporting. I've sat in the press box for hundreds of games. I've seen what the writers have to do. They're working to deadlines, which is never pleasant. They work with the knowledge that they have to spend at least the first forty-five precious minutes after the game hanging around the clubhouse on the very remote chance that somebody will say something interesting and insightful about the game that they just watched with their own eyes. The chances of a modern athlete saying anything interesting to a reporter are not excellent. Modern athletes are trained and schooled to be wary of reporters on general principle; the smart ones do their best to use and manipulate them. The reporters know that they're often wasting time they don't have to spare. This is why they have to start writing their stories around the sixth inning, and hope there are no late inning fireworks that mess up their ledes. This is why they moan so much about how long the games go on.

It's a tough gig. The men and women who do it deserve a lot of respect. We want no part of it. We want to do something completely different.

You see, Gentle Reader, it is now 2005. Every game is broadcast somewhere. If you live in Toronto, and you want to follow your beloved Colorado Rockies, you can probably find an Internet radio broadcast. You can sign up for or something like that. You can read game stories about every Rockie game, on ESPN, on, on USA Today. You can probably read the Denver sports pages on-line. The information, the news... it's all out there, if you want it.

So we're thinking that you're not going to need us to tell you what the final score was.

Look, here's what we don't want to do. We do not want to provide the type of material that is easily available elsewhere. We don't want to write the same kind of game story that Spencer Fordin is writing for - what would be the point of that? Spencer's doing that already, and he's really good at it. If that's what you need - and often it's what I need - well, go there. You know the way.

We hope to provide something that you won't get anywhere else. Or as Craig B (whose mad idea this seems to have been in the first place) put it:

I expect everything from haiku, to detailed analysis of manager moves, to stream-of-consciousness rants, to an inning-by-inning Win Probability breakdown, to Bill Simmons-style timed comments ("7:56PM - Another three-ball count from Hendrickson (this one to Wells) and already my tongue is starting to protrude.")

We are nothing if not ambitious.

We may be ambitious, but we're not insane. We are going to divide this labour, among no fewer than ten members of the Roster (There is No Cabal). After all, few of us are as young and vigorous as Dr Prison Fence. You can expect each of us, as we find our voice, and as we figure out what we want to do, to develop a different approach. We're going to indulge ourselves, which is dangerous. But no risk, no reward. We're all deeply interested in the game, and we all come at it from different angles. Some of us are intensely interested in what happens on the field. Some of us in more interested in why something happens. Some of us are curious about why certain strategic decisions get made; some of us like to see things in broad historical terms. Some of us are entertainers, some of us are... not so entertaining.

We'll figure it out as we go along.

Oh yeah, the Jays played the Twins yesterday. I didn't catch the game, I heard the Jays won 5-2.

Spring Training Game 1 - Jays at Twins | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Ron - Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 02:08 AM EST (#104625) #
The game reports should be interesting.

I'm a huge fan of Bill Simmons work, and if any of you guys can even write anything that is half as funny as Simmons, then it should make for a good read.

I'm also interested in POV's from people that actually attend the games. There's probably a lot of stuff that the folks don't see on tv.
Jim - Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 12:14 PM EST (#104631) #
haiku Please no haiku. Please.
Jonny German - Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 12:59 PM EST (#104640) #
On this fine spring day
Do tell us, Box poster Jim
Why you hate haiku
Magpie - Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 01:02 PM EST (#104641) #
Please no haiku. Please.

I solemnly swear that I, the entity sometimes known as "Magpie," will refain from using haiku in my Game Reports.

You said nothing about sonnets...

Jim - Saturday, March 05 2005 @ 01:14 PM EST (#104652) #
Well at least you mixed in a reference to a season.

My dislike must stem from Easterbrook. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but in a way to me it just seems so arrogant.

It's just one of those stupid things that bothers me for no real reason.
Spring Training Game 1 - Jays at Twins | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.