Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
Put New Haven's batters with Charleston's pitchers, and you'd have a pretty fine team. As it stands, though, a lot of losses last night for Toronto's farm clubs.
[More] (362 words)
ESPN recently ran a fascinating conversation with Vernon Wells. In this interview, we learn, among other things, that Vernon doesn't like his name, doesn't swear, and never gets angry about his at-bats.
So named because Craig, Robert, Kent and many other BBers are assembled at Skydome tonight for the first meeting of the Batter's Box Blue Jays Bandwagon Club, and because if Toronto reels off a seventh straight win this evening, more than a few fans might be eyeing a comfy seat on the real bandwagon. The Blue Jays May turnaround has been simply electric, and people around the league are starting to notice. Now if only Torontonians would do the same: with no Stanley Cup game on, will the crowd break the 20,000 barrier tonight?
Browsing through the magazine rack at my local newsstand, I came across a really interesting publication called Legal Affairs, published by Yale Law School. Well, okay, interesting to me as a law magazine editor, but it's unique among such periodicals because it's aimed towards and accessible to both lawyers and non-lawyers. It wasn't the law angle that grabbed my attention, though, but a teaser line on the cover: "Are baseball players underpaid?"

This is the article that produced that headline, and it's quite a good read. Written with a lot more sophistication about the game than one would expect from a legal journalist, "Lowball" hammers the arbitration system, arguing (correctly) that it has come to unfairly penalize the rank-and-file players at the expense of the stars. Touching on everything from the Sherman Anti-Trust Act to the Kevin Millwood giveaway, it's a sharp little piece that I thought would be of interest to Boxers, legal and otherwise.
Howie Clark has played every position but pitcher in his professional career. Carlos Tosca has been reluctant to give call-ups Jason Kershner, Brian Bowles and now Josh Towers more than limited action in low-risk situations, so don't expect Clark to get a lot of playing time. The Jays will likely have Bordick start the lion share of games at third base, with Berg spelling him. Nevertheless, Clark's lefty bat could be useful coming off the bench in pinch-hitting situations.

Clark is a career minor leaguer who made his major league debut with Baltimore last year at the age of 28. He's been in the Orioles' organisation until this year, with the exception of 2001, which he spent in the Mexican League and the (Independent) Western League.

[More] (176 words)
British Columbia's own Adam Loewen went literally to the stroke of midnight before signing with the Orioles, who originally drafted him almost a year ago today. Terms were as usual not available, but Baltimore's last offer was reportedly in the $2.5 million range. That would be much less than other top picks have been getting recently, but with Bud Selig ready to clamp down on high-draft signing bonuses, Loewen may have decided he wasn't going to do much better. Besides, the way this year's draft was shaping up, Loewen looked destined for the Brewers. Wow, Baltimore or Milwaukee? Firing squad or the guillotine? Good luck, Adam, and watch your pitch counts.

The Blue Jays weren't going to so much as sniff Loewen this draft, but the signing is still a spot of bad news: it takes away one more potential high draft choice and reduces the pool of talent that Toronto could snag at #13. But JP probably has his eye on a number of players. Mississippi State lefty Paul Maholm and Houston right-hander Brad Sullivan appear to be near the top of the Jays' wish list, but with the paucity of big bats in the lower minors, don't be surprised if JP takes a position player #1. The draft starts June 3.
It's Roy Halladay vs. Bartolo Colon at the Skydome tonight, and if the game proceeds like most marquee pitching matchups these days, it'll be a 10-9 final. Okay, that's unlikely: both of these guys are near the top of their game right now, and the fans in attendance are in for a treat. Jerry Manuel is on a very hot seat, and if his ace loses this one to the red-hot Jays, he may be looking for a job this time tomorrow.
I went to Monday night's game; when I go to a game, I take notes. Here's my writeup; enjoy. (I like semicolons; some people don't.)
[More] (2,312 words)
Pitching, pitching and more pitching well, except for Diegomar Markwell and the continuing remarkable season of Simon Pond.
[More] (342 words)
Yes, I know: it's wildly premature. But what's the fun of being a baseball fan if you can't do irrational things once in awhile. As such, I've devised a new weekly feature, which I hope to update every Monday morning from here on in.

[More] (277 words)
Not the 1930's Cardinals, the 2003 Gorillas. Snellville's club is cruising atop the standings with a 9 1/2 game lead after Week 8 in the Batter's Box Fantasy League. My own Toronto Walrus is back in second (by percentage points) after taking advantage of a meltdown by the Springfield Isotopes. Mike Hansen's team picked a fine week to give up hitting and pitching, while Carlos Delgado and Matt Morris led my motley crew to an 11-1 victory.

There's a possible playoff preview atop the standings this week. Third-place Billie's Bashers are loading up the tranquilizer darts for the Gorillas, and fourth-place Baird Brain is on a Walrus hunt. I notice, looking a bit further over my shoulder, that the Sub-Urban Shockers are in the passing lane, and a 10-2 week for the Chatsworth Halos has moved them above the .500 mark, which in this league, means into contention.
[More] (486 words)
There's not much to add beyond Mike D's excellent White Sox Advance Scout. (I keep hoping that Ad-Rock or MCA will show up to do an Advance Scout, but no luck yet.)

Anyway, tonight it's Buehrle versus Hendrickson. I'd be a lot more worried about this matchup last year, but Buehrle is having a tough time getting outs. It's not just that he's 2-7, but opponents are hitting .306 off him and his walk-to-strikeout ratio is 27:29. The 5.19 ERA doesn't even do him justice; he's given up a lot of earned runs.

As Tosca said over the weekend, if anyone wants to beat the Jays these days they'd better bring their A game. The White Sox did bring their A game twice in the series in Chicago, but they've been incredibly disappointing and it's time for the Jays to show their killer instinct and pound on a struggling team throughout a series.
Chicago's American League entry remains a difficult bunch to figure out. Mark Buehrle struggles, while Esteban Loaiza shines; the team's supposed weakness -- pitching -- has been decent but the team's alleged strength -- hitting -- has been utterly horrid all season. Any hopes the S.S. South Side had been righted after taking two of three from the Jays were dashed by embarrassingly dropping two of three at home to the Tigers.

While the Jays are inspiring exuberance from the local fans and media, the Sox are shrouded in pessimism as they set out for a long road trip. The Chicago Sun-Times resident Griff, Jay Mariotti, has the following to say in today's paper: "Only the blind, deaf and dumb still have any faith in this pile of pulp ... When they finally return home, the Sox will be so far behind the Minnesota Twins they'll need a compass, map and Sherpa guide to find them."

Chicago does, however, have some good pitching matchups this series, and the Colon-Halladay duel tomorrow night should not only be entertaining but a good bellwether as to what extent Doc has gotten his groove back.

On to the Advance Scout!
[More] (964 words)
I'm not sure if an unofficial bandwagon can have an official meeting, but WE'RE GOING TO THE GAME. And we want you to join us. And tickets are FREE.
[More] (165 words)
The Blue Jays, 3 1/2 games out of the wild card race, have nothing to lose this afternoon (1:00 on Sportsnet) and the Yankees, especially Juan Rivera, are obviously feeling tons of pressure. Doug Davis has had surprising success against the likes of Giambi and Posada, and a few Toronto mashers always enjoy hitting off Jeff Weaver (Delgado has a 1.473 OPS, Hinske 1.408 and Wells 1.111). Weaver has seen his 2003 ERA rise by nearly two runs in his last five starts (1-2, 6.90, with 14 walks and 43 hits allowed in 30 innings). He did beat Toronto April 17, but a lot of things have changed in both dugouts since then.

The Yankees have enough talent to turn this mess around eventually, but for now, the aura is black, and Richard Griffin sums up the current state of the pinstriped mystique:

"Even the legends in Monument Park seem to be looking the other way, pretending they don't know these guys. If bronze could blush, it would."
[More] (159 words)