Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
You take wins any way you can get Ďem. One way or another, each of the Jays four minor league teams in action scraped up wins in a perfect sweep for the organization. Charleston and Dunedin both cruised to victory behind strong pitching and timely hitting, Syracuse pulled out a 9th inning comeback and (although itís still unknown which charity will receive the proceeds) a Walk-a-thon broke out in New Hampshire.
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With the 2004 draft coming up shortly on June 7th, itís a good time to look back on the first two drafts of JP Ricciardi.
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The "Hentgen for Closer" campaign hasn't quite managed to reach the ears of the decision-makers at Skydome yet. So his rooters at Batter's Box will have to content themselves with his start tonight against one of Anaheim's big free-agent pitchers, Bartolo Colon, who nevertheless has been dogged by reports of diminished velocity lately. The Jays got a gift win last night, but one they worked hard for and deserved; they'll try to keep it going against the league-leading Angels after a rare Tuesday off-day. No word yet on the status of Carlos Delgado and Orlando Hudson.
For baseball fans, the minor leagues have always been the Undiscovered Country. The big leagues, fans knew about Ė they read the daily boxscores, saw the highlights (first on local broadcasts, eventually on Baseball Tonight) and read the articles (from The Sporting News to Baseball Digest to USA Today to the Internet). There was an ever-increasing information base of major-league baseball data upon which fandom could feed. But finding out about the minor leagues usually involved the equivalent of travelling to Delphi to speak with the Oracle (and we donít mean Dan Szymborski).
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So, according to Jeff DaVanon, Bengie Molina couldn't hear his teammates shouting that home plate was uncovered because of the noise being made by the fans in the SkyDome. Take that, naysayers: a loud home crowd can make the difference between a win and a loss!
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The twenty-first century's yesterday
You can care all you want
Everybody does yeah that's okay
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Just 1 win out of 4 games in the Minors? On the night of an inspiring win for the Major League team, I'll take it!
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Well, what do you know, I just received this handy e-mail from Major League Baseball, and they want me to decide who should play in the All-Star Game this year! Now, that's not quite the same honor as being, say, a judge on American Idol, but it IS time to start thinking about who has earned everyone's votes on the (take a deep breath, Texas Ranger fans) AmeriQest Mortgage Company 2004 Online All-Star Ballot.

There's no game to worry about tonight. So go vote. And be sure to tell us who you voted for.
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Updates, roster shuffles and several points of interest and importance for Bauxites: read on for some Batter's Box news.
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The front-running Walrus endured our worst week of the season by far, yet somehow managed to escape with a 6-6 draw and maintained a nine-game lead in the standings. It helped that none of the closest contenders had great weeks, either. Mebion Glyndwr held on to second by rallying from an 8-3 deficit on Sunday for a 5-5 tie with the rebuilt SABR Magicians. AGF was defeated 7-4 by the improving defending champion Austin Senators, missing a chance to gain some ground. Baird Brain closed the gap on Billieís Bashers with an 8-4 decision; they're now tied for fifth. The big move of the week was made by the Eastern Shore Birds, who trounced cellar-dwelling Jickís Rays 10-2 to vault from seventh all the way to third. The Moscow Rats beat the Horse Field Hammers 9-3, moving to the fringes of playoff contention. Thirteen teams are now bunched within a dozen games of second place, so anything can happen. I'm fortunate to have a little cushion, as my team is awful right now.
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An almost perfect day in the minor leagues. The starting pitching was excellent, the hitting even better. After three innings the Jays four teams had outscored their opponents 25-4.
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All illustrated with cartoons
So when they come with that opinion poll
They better not use words like
Ideology
Or try to tell me 'bout the issues
Ideology
Whose side are you on?
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And now here comes the tough part of the schedule.... The Blue Jays, fresh off getting swept in Boston, come home to water-logged southern Ontario to face the team with the best record in the major leagues, the Anaheim Angels. Mike D's excellent Scouting Report tells you how the Angels are doing so well with so many key injuries, but the Jays have to hope that Anaheim's good fortune starts to waver a little tonight. Toronto sends its -- gulp -- best starter so far this season, Justin Miller, to the mound against the largely hittable John Lackey. The Jays have been losing painfully this year, close so often but falling short in the end; they could and perhaps should have taken 2 of 3 in Fenway. Can they rally to make a statement against the high-flying Angels?
The Jays had a tough weekend against the beasts of the East in Boston. But their homestand might be even tougher, as the Jays tangle with two of the best in the ultra-tough West.

How are the Angels, featuring (a) five key players out with long-term injuries, (b) not much of a batting eye and (c) a mediocre starting rotation, sitting pretty with baseball's best record? By applying the same formula that they followed en route to their 2002 world championship: fine defence, a rock-solid bullpen and a very, very high collective batting average to accompany their speed and power. You could look it up: The Angels are 27th in walks as a club -- but first in runs scored. In large part, the Angels owe their offensive success to timely hitting, as they lead both leagues by far in RISP hitting. Some say they're "clutch"; others, no doubt, view their performance thus far as lucky and unsustainable. We'll see.

Even allowing for very high hopes when the Angels dipped into the free-agent pool, Jose Guillen and the amazing Vladimir Guerrero have nevertheless surpassed expectations. The Jays would be wise to tread carefully with these two free-swinging outfielders, because there are holes in the Anaheim lineup. The problem is, the Halos don't strike out -- and a ball-in-play offence may well give the Jays defence fits, especially on turf. If the Jays can get to the Anaheim starters early, though, they just might make this homestand a successful one.

On to the Advance Scout!
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Even though I have confidence in Miguel Batista, I'm half hoping for a rain out so the Jays can take stock and make some mental adjustments. Their confidence must be at a low ebb, and facing a Boston team with a tremendous pitching staff can't be a pleasant thing.