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Thanks to Gerry McDonald for this link -- Baseball America has compiled the Opening Day rosters for every organization, at each level from the majors to Low-A.

Each player's batting and throwing hands are listed, along with height, weight, age as of April 1, and the peak level they played at in 2002. Like any project of this size, it's not perfect; they've got some big pitcher named Rob Halladay on the Jays roster, and I don't remember Cam Reimers playing in Toronto last year. It's still interesting, and to some, may even be useful.
So says Ken Fidlin in the Sun this morning. I'm getting letters already from people whose impatience is mind-boggling, but this is a calm look at a team that will have three-game losing streaks this year, like 29 other clubs.

Fidlin's comments are reasonable, unlike the appalling Mike Ulmer piece yesterday -- "Baseball North Goes South", screamed the headline, and Ulmer trashed the Ricciard/Oakland connection (even the marketing guy) as "compulsively collecting former employees" before admitting "two games might be a little early to write off a team". Ya think?
Back in January, we discussed the sale of the New Haven Ravens to a New Hampshire investor. Our pal Pistol just sent me this update, which suggests it will be made official shortly -- the team is leaving Connecticut. The Jays' AA farm club will play this year in one of the more decrepit old minor-league ballparks, then move to a completely renovated facility in 2004.

New Haven baseball fans probably feel abandoned, so attendance could suffer this season, but from the Toronto organization's perspective, it's an excellent move in the long run. The 2003 Ravens still have plenty of talent, even if they are ignored by the locals, then the 2004 edition in Manchester should receive great fan support, as they begin a lasting relationship with their new community. The Red Sox allowed it all to happen by waiving their territorial rights, adding to the impression that the two AL East rivals have a friendly front-office relationship. I'm still not sure whether this was just good fortune for the Jays, or they expected it even before they changed their AA affiliation. Either way, I'm already thinking about a road trip next summer.
Here's another gem that offers a look at the Blue Jays from afar. Carl Kotala of Florida Today features two Toronto pitchers who went to high school in Brevard County. There's some good background on Jeff Tam, including his 2002 decline and the reasons for optimism that he will rebound this year. Even better is the profile of Jason Arnold, a kid you just have to like, as a pitcher and a person. Thats two extra-base hits today for Ryan, our New Brunswick correspondent; thanks.

Long time BB reader Ryan Adams passed this one on, from the Corpus Christi (TX) Caller-Times, one of Craig B.'s favourite papers. It's a reprint of an article from the Knoxville News-Sentinel, where ex-Jays Woody Williams and Chris Carpenter contribute to Nick Gates' premise:

The bar has slipped for the Blue Jays, whom the Smokies severed ties with last fall after a 23-year affiliation. Once considered a first-class organization, Toronto is in a state of flux. Payroll has been slashed and winning the World Series seems unrealistic.

Fans in Knoxville are happy with the Smokies' change in affiliation from Toronto to St. Louis, because the Cards emphasize winning throughout their farm system. It's too bad they don't play New Haven. Carpenter (apparently a Gord Ash fan) proves again he isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Most of us wouldn't use "disarray" to describe the J.P. Jays, yet that's the impression some people have. Geography can change perception; this is an interesting look at how others view the Blue Jays.

Archives View Printable Version Game Three: Lefty vs. Moose
You'd think Mark Hendrickson would have a nickname, but I heard from an old friend of his out in Mount Vernon, Washington, who doesn't know of one. Hopes of salvaging some pride for the home team in this disappointing series rest on his long left arm tonight.

There's no Canadian TV, unless you have deeper pockets than me and subscribe to the Extra Innings package on cable or satellite. Perhaps our friends in the Empire State can share their observations on this one while the rest of us listen to the radio. I'd be at the Dome again, but there's a coaches' meeting at the Pits. Do you think I'm getting enough baseball?
I'm very happy to announce the latest improvement to Batter's Box, courtesy of our technical guru Gwyn Price. On the sidebar, the formerly useless "20 Hot Topics" segment has been changed; it no longer shows the articles (active or ancient) in order of total comments. Instead, it lists the most recently active threads, plus the time of the latest comment!

This will save time when you visit the site. No matter when you last checked in, you'll be able to see what you've missed, at a glance. It's going to be especially helpful for Internet Explorer users, as the other trick we "borrowed" from Sean Forman of Baseball Primer works only in other browsers.

There will be a few growing pains with this feature; if you had bookmarked BB including the former index.htm home page, that link won't work and you'll get a 404 Error. The "new" home page is index.shtml -- however, if your bookmark just points to, it should be fine. Also, there is no automatic refresh function yet, so don't be surprised if there's a delay before the list gets updated. We have put in a request to Rogers, our Web host, to automate it every five minutes, but that won't take effect for a few days. For now, the BB authors will take turns running the update script manually.

I'm so happy with this, I'm going to move it higher up on the page. Bear with us if there's some unusual activity or the site seems a bit slow; it does take some time to rebuild Greymatter after making changes. Awesome work, Gwyn. We're doubling your salary.
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.
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As an unabashed socialist, I am very much in favor of spreading out the saves. As one of the proud BB Zombies, I can recognize that the last three outs of the game are just three more outs. As a fan, I see how fun it could be to do in-game pools to guess which co-closer gets the call in the ninth. Maybe, then, it was just my imagination. Maybe, in fact, I was dreaming that Boston's Chad Fox and Alan Embree looked like they had never pitched in Little League, let alone as decent major leaguers, when they squandered that three-run lead against the Devil Rays in the 9th inning last night.
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Andy Pettitte is, in my opinion, the Yankees' best starting pitcher when healthy. He's now become a full-fledged power pitcher, with good control and sharp breaking pitch. He cuts off the running game with the best of them. He does get in trouble when he leaves the ball out over the plate to righthanded hitters.

Cory Lidle's main strength is his control. Avoiding walks and keeping the ball in the park is a must against the Yankees.
Stephen Tomlinson has posted his 2003 Blue Jays Projected Record on his website.

Stephen has been doing these amazing sabermetric previews of the Jays, and in-season analysis as well, for years now and they are always an excellent read.

Stephen's Pythagorean projection for the Jay's this year agrees with Carlos Tosca's assessment - 85 wins.

Most of us have seen the play by now. A few questions up for discussion:

1) Can anyone remember a collision involving a catcher at third base before?

2) Was Huckaby reckless?

3) Should Jeter have been called out?

And so to Opening Day.

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I'm sure I was grinning ear-to-ear in my sleep last night. Meeting J.P. Ricciardi yesterday was very cool; learning he reads Batter's Box "every day" was incredible. He doesn't agree with everything we say, but he does think we "get it" -- as a group, the GM says, the Zombie-like Cult understands and appreciates what he's trying to accomplish.

OK, let the greybeard jokes begin. Aaron Gleeman says I look like Bill James; I would rather think like Bill James and look like Mel Gibson, but no such luck. Thanks to the fan who took the picture, and to J.P. for allowing me to use it.

Just the other day, Dave Till worried about BB becoming "too" successful:

I guess that, soon, this blog will draw enough attention to attract the notice of somebody in the Jays' front office or connected with the team itself. I suppose that, once the Jays or Griffin or somebody finds us, we'll all have to behave ourselves. What a bummer. :-)

Great timing, Dave, and it made me bite my tongue, until now. There's been a well-kept secret around here for a while -- Keith Law discovered us very early, and has been a great friend. Jordan, Craig and I had a memorable lunch with him in January, and he's kept in touch by e-mail. To his credit, Keith has never suggested a topic or tried to influence our opinions, but he's quick to correct us -- well, me at least -- when our speculation misses the mark. We are hoping he has time for an exclusive interview with BB at some point this season, and we're trying to schedule a group night (tentatively April 25) for the ZLC, where Keith can say hello to all of you.
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A long time ago, I asked myself if the Skydome favours a certain type of hitter. It didn't take me a long time to gather all the necessary data, but I wasn't sure what to do with it.

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