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Well, thankfully we have a domed stadium in Toronto.
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There's not a great deal of significance in the Week One standings in the major leagues; the Royals are undefeated. So in the Batter's Box Fantasy League, let's not award the Ricciardi/Tosca autographed T-shirt to R Billie just yet. If this sounds like the whining of a guy in 15th place in a 20-team league, it probably is...
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Peter Gammons weighs in on the opening week of the season, dropping as many names as he can, as usual, including a familar one:

The Reds do love infielder Felipe Lopez as much as they say they do.

The latest rumour out of Cinci (heard it on the Braves game today) is Barry Larkin replacing Junior in CF, opening up a chance for Lopez to prove there's more than a 10-cent head attached to his 5-tool body. The prolific Gammons has two new columns on ESPN today, and in this one, mentions another ex-Jay getting an opportunity:

Brandon Lyon -- claimed off the waiver wire from Toronto last October -- has been (Boston's) best reliever with a win and a hold in two strong outings. As (Theo) Epstein points out, Lyon has some closing tools -- hitting 95 mph in short stints with good command of his fastball, changeup and slider -- but he hasn't yet proven he can bounce back or shoulder a lead.

I don't remember Lyon ever throwing that hard, especially last year. Youneverknow.
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Kent and I watched the game along with Aaron Gleeman of Aaron's Baseball Blog.

We had a few things to say... watch out, this is a massive log. Pun sort of intended. Editor's comments are in **double asterisks**.
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Just trying to point out, with the headline, how silly it is to get too excited -- or depressed -- about the first week of the l-o-n-g season, or to over-analyze the significance of one game or even a series. That said, break up the Royals!

Last night, the Jays left 15 men on base, which isn't good. However, they had 10 hits and eight walks, which is great. When faced with a "half-empty, half-full" conundrum, I always try to change the size of the glass. Considering that four of the Twins pitchers were tough southpaws, and I had predicted the "under", it was a fine offensive performance, and the Toronto OBP machine is starting to fire on (almost) all cylinders.
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Some of us around here have been quick to jump on Richard Griffin when he resorts to J.P.-bashing instead of journalism, but that's not the case today. The Star columnist has broken a very important story -- an idiotic decision by an insurance bureaucracy has forced the Blue Jays' team doctors to resign. This is a knee-jerk reaction by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (motto: "covering our own ass since 2003") to the successful malpractice suit by ex-NHL-er Dave Babych.

The doctors -- Ron Taylor, Allan Gross and Erin Boynton -- would risk bankruptcy by treating injured players, because any malpractice insurance the Jays could purchase for them would not cover suits by U.S.-based athletes. This decision also affects the six Canadian NHL clubs and the Raptors. The next time someone gets hurt at a sporting event, they will be attended by paramedics, and if necessary, taken to a walk-in clinic or hospital emergency room (assuming you can find one that's open) and treated by someone whose expertise with athletes pales by comparison to the specialists.

Griffin shows restraint by guessing the CMPA is full of proctologists, but he's in the right neighbourhood.
Let's hope we see the real Doc Halladay tonight, and that the Jays keep swinging the bats well. We know they're vulnerable to lefthanded pitching, so I'm expecting a low-scoring affair.

I'm in baseball heaven tonight. My last draft, the Roto Junkies AL league, is under way, and I'll be watching the game later between picks.

Welcome to the first installment of Advance Scout.

I figure we here at BB can look up stats -- especially the zombies among us -- and pitching probables on our own. My job will be to provide anecdotal reports, combined with probable batting orders and bullpen usages. Enjoy the weekend series, though the Twins aren't looking like a team ready to cut the Jays any breaks after the Yankees debacle this week.

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Archives View Printable Version Game Four: Sturtze vs. Reed
Here's tonight's "game thread" for those who want to comment. I'm already tired of Burkett vs. Ponson; I'm going to watch Arli$$ then catch up with Tom and Jerry later.
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?