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Jordan Furlong, who shares this space with me, is a regular on my favourite baseball blog, posting as "Gideon Clarke" or (as is the custom there) under a variety of other pseudonyms, used to enhance a joke. Click Baseball Primer for a hilarious discussion of pronunciation ('primmer' or 'prymer') that leads to the vagaries of the English language (#35) and Jordan's classic reply (#56.) I'd never call him a Primm-ate, but "Gideon" deserves a Prime-y award.

Maybe when they get rid of 'funny' aliases at Primer, more people will comment here, which may (or may not) help our fledgling Blue Jay blog spread its tiny wings. If you want to contribute, it's about anything to do with baseball, from a Toronto perspective. E-mail the Coach to post articles for discussion.
To begin by restating the obvious: the Toronto Blue Jays need pitching. Outside of Roy Halladay and Cliff Politte, there are very few locks for the 2003 pitching staff, so shoring up the hurlers -- both for the short-term and the long run Ė- is a Ricciardi priority. Most of the off-season will be bent towards this priority (though we also hope the team can somehow acquire control of the Skydome -Ė Iíll have a whole lot to say about that in a future entry).

In the first few days of the free-agent signing period, therefore, it wasnít surprising to see the Blue Jays active in this market. But the first three names they brought in probably wonít overwhelm the season-ticket phone lines. So who are these guys, and will they help next year? Letís take a look.
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Bear with me while I learn this stuff. Gradually "fixing" the templates, re-numbered the Entries, but somehow the "Post Comment" function stopped working. Tech support is on the case, so here's what I tried to post as a comment to Jordan's latest piece:

- I was at the game Linton pitched a decade ago as an emergency starter in a pennant race; he has guts. WAY more fun to root for than Loaiza. He's in the mix, with Walker, as placeholders -- fifth starter, long man -- until the "young guns" being acquired by drafting and trading produce some help.

- [Quoting Ricciardi]
"(Creek)'s a guy that can give us two innings out of the bullpen. He's good against left-handers, but he's just as good against right-handers. It helps our bullpen. We're just happy to have it done."

Classic GM-speak; J.P. is good at it. Rough translation? I have no higher expectations for Creek than for Borbon, but I found a veteran middle-inning lefty who isn't just a one-hitter specialist, at a more realistic cost. One item off the task list.

Another stopgap measure; not the guy you need in that role two years from now, but useful in the meantime. He'll vulture a few wins when a righty starter gets shelled and the offence rallies in the fourth or fifth while Doug's holding the fort.

- Trever Miller essentially replaces Brandon Lyon, as a guy who can help in AAA for sure, and is a longshot to be part of the big club's anticipated rotation improvements. There may be reasons for Lyon's departure that will never be made public, but it may have been purely a baseball decision -- management doesn't like "finesse."

- Ricciardi is doing lots of low-risk housecleaning. It remains to be seen whether he has the permission, or the desire, to spend any "real" money on a free agent #2 starter, but he won't have to if he can arrange a trade for one. I wonder if the Yankees would return to the Mondesi aisle to try their luck again; Escobar, Stewart and Cruz for Nick Johnson, one of Juan Rivera or Marcus Thames and a AA pitching prospect sounds like a quick fix in N.Y. that Toronto could benefit from long term. They would have to admit their expensive mistakes on Raul, Rondell White and Steve Karsay, but they would become a more serious chamionship contender again. Just daydreaming.

Hey, Jordan -- not that your posts are long, or anything (we are both prolific) but let's see what the optional "More" text box does...
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We hardly knew ya. One of the more embarrassing legacies of El Gordo's tenure is getting fleeced in a deal by Kenny Williams, who may be dumber than Syd Thrift. There are going to be inevitable comparisons to that "ingrate" Al Leiter, who got paid to stick his blisters in Toronto pickle brine for a few years, then moved on to win a World Series or something, but this lefty was far more seriously injured. The guy has a zipper in his shoulder for the surgeon's convenience.

I'm a Canadian. I walked away from being Director of Racing in the big leagues of harness racing (Pompano Park in Florida) to the relative obscurity of Ottawa's Rideau Carleton, mostly because I didn't like raising my family in the U.S., so if Mike Sirotka wants to continue his unlikely comeback attempt in his homeland instead of a foreign country, je comprend. He never asked to come to Toronto.
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My good friend and dugout companion has generously donated a bit of space on the Web server I'm setting up for his store. It's called Parentbooks. This is a test of the Greymatter system.
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At Kentís very kind invitation, Iím going to try contributing a couple of articles to this terrific Weblog. My name is Jordan Furlong and Iím a legal magazine editor in Ottawa, as well as a long-time Blue Jays fan. How long-time? I remember when Barry Bonnell, Lloyd Moseby and Hosken Powell patrolled the outfield at Exhibition Stadium, and Roy Lee Jackson was the teamís best option to close out games.

Not exactly halcyon days, and like most Jays fans, I became spoiled by the 1983-93 run of success, was heartbroken by the many near-misses (Iím looking at you, Larry Herndon), and the still-astonishing triumphs of í92 and í93. But the Dark Ages from 1994-2001, the years of the Belgian brewers, Gord Ash and Tim Johnson, almost made me nostalgic for people named Iorg. Under the new management, however, my interest in the team has been revitalized, and Iím as positive about this organization as Iíve been in a long time.
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Every 93 years or so, a rookie pitcher wins Game Seven in the World Series. You could look it up. John Lackey was better than Livan Hernandez, Darin Erstad made one of his spectacular catches, Garret Anderson delivered the expected clutch double, and the bullpen did its job under extreme pressure. The better team won; the more deserving team won. Baseball won, with another exciting finale. Last night didn't match Saturday for sheer drama -- how could it? -- but it was a well-played, intense contest.

Credit Barry Bonds for carrying his team as far as he did, and while Troy Glaus (especially in Game Six) may have been the most heroic Angel, the concept of an MVP award has, unfortunately, been lost. Team success has a higher priority than individual excellence among the morons who vote for such honours. Like Alex Rodriguez in the AL regular season, Bonds was clearly the best player in the Series, but a .700 OBP and 1.294 SLG fails to penetrate the thick skulls of the media if it doesn't coincide with victory. Can Barry help it if LVP candidates Sanders, Shinjo and Goodwin are teammates? Can A-Rod singlehandedly overcome the absence of any big-league pitching on his club? While I'm digressing, ya gotta love a Commissioner who can't pronounce "his" MVP's name.
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The most unlikely thing happened Saturday night after Dusty Baker gave Russ Ortiz the game ball, which is probably worth more now to collectors. The Angels won. If you missed the play-by-play, or you just want to read his description, Gammons correctly elevates this classic to '75 and '86 status on ESPN.

Barry Bonds is the series MVP no matter what happens tonight, but Troy Glaus stepped up with a magnificent performance when it mattered most. Garret Anderson, "Mr. Calm" according to Joe Buck, was (of course) a key player in the Disney victory script.
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A glance at the time stamps of the preceding posts will confirm that my stream-of-consciousness commentary during Game Six ended as abruptly as Bonds' "decisive" home run left the yard. Lest anyone think I fell asleep, or changed channels, let me explain.

I was about to write "too little, too late," or words to that effect, when the Angels got their second runner on in the seventh, but I held my breath (and ignored the keyboard) during Spiezio's at-bat. That obviously worked, so my continued electronic silence became "necessary" to allow the miraculous comeback. It was my version of a rally cap.
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Barry just threw the knockout punch. What was Molina thinking, after sneaking a pork chop past a hungry wolf for strike one, by challenging Bonds? Anything off speed, a slider inside or a back-door job, but another fastball? The kid should have shaken it off; both are to blame.

By the way, Commissioner, that homer was a moment. A season is longer than a moment. The 'Shot Heard Round The World' was a Moment, sadly omitted from your sponsor's tedious top ten. So were Carter's and Mazeroski's blasts.

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The skipper's quick hook was necessary, yet Appier's fit of temper is understandable. With fantastic control, he was abused by an incompetent official whose strike zone is ridiculous. After keeping his emotions under wraps to avoid provoking the hostile ump, an explosion was inevitable.

It's not looking good; that run Lofton manufactured with his feet is huge.

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My friend and I are of a certain vintage. We got our baseball on the radio as kids, and a Game of the Week on TV was a big deal. For us to adjust at all to the computer age has been a stretch. Until now we've been amused by the premise that one can "watch" a game while surfing the Internet, or posting observations to a baseball Blog. Tonight I've crossed the line.

I love a 0-0 game, and am really ticked that this umpire doesn't. Another horrible non-call this inning (the fifth) on an inside-edge slider that should have been bronzed, and Scioscia's making faces. It was inevitable that Appier would have to groove a fastball or two, and he deserves better. Again.

Dunston seems like a nice fellow; I enjoyed the Fox guys showing us his pre-game stretches with his son, but he's an unlikely hero. Too bad you're not allowed to pitch to the corners tonight. Bring on the phee-nom.

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I leave it to the gurus of statistical analysis to "prove" the wisdom of challenging Barry in any situation. The quasi-intentional walk is less harmful than a double or a homer. Appier aiming at his feet with ball four wasn't necessary, and might make the big guy even more dangerous next time.

Man, when this ump calls a strike, which is rarely, he sure is slow. You know he wasn't a pitcher when he played, and I bet he was a lousy hitter. Again forced to make an additional great pitch, Kevin gets the 5-4-3; Glaus looking like a giant shortstop. Rally time, but spare us the damn monkey.

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OK, that's enough. Home plate "umpire" Tim Mcclelland did everything he could to get Jeff Kent a fat pitch. He's been consistent: doesn't call the low strike, the inside strike or the outside strike.

Appier has thrown so many pitches that just missed (in the biased eyes of the masked man) in three innings; not all were perfect, but he's being squeezed.

Ortiz and Santiago are living by the high heat, and second time through the order they might just die by it. Appier must owe this ump money; he's held them scoreless this far despite the 15-inch wide plate and high knees. That, and Glaus' defensive miracle on a perfect Lofton bunt, should inspire the red team.

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The difference between Jarrod Washburn winning two games (as I thought he might) and losing two (as it turns out) is the difference between winning the series in five games and not winning at all. It's not that Jason Schmidt was brilliant, but in both their matchups, Washburn didn't have the control or the confidence he displayed against the Yankees and the Twins. This is written in anticipation of a must-win game for the Angels; as long as the season goes that extra day, I'll be happy.

I thought that Anaheim "deserved" to win because they are a more harmonious team, all of whom seem content to sacrifice individual notoriety for the common cause. Now, I've realized that the Giants have, despite some volatile elements, pretty good chemistry. I am in awe of Barry's talent, but decidedly out of awe in regard to his character; he's still more likeable than Kenny Lofton or Jeff Kent. The manager suits his team perfectly, nothing upsets him. Kids in uniform suggest a "family" resemblance to the Stargell-era Pirates.
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