Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine Batter's Box Interactive Magazine
She said - "Listen John I love you,
but there's this bloke I fancy
I dont want to two time you,
so it's the end for you and me"
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You kicked and cried like a bullied child
A grown man of twenty-five
Oh, he said heíd cure your ills
But he didnít and he never will
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A bond of trust
Has been abused
Something of value
May be lost
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Sure, it's unusual to devote a new Batter's Box thread to a move from a non-Canadian organization.

But how often does a team designate its all-time franchise saves leader, a recent All-Star and a guy with 10 saves in 20 appearances through May 23, for assignment?

Danny Graves flipped a fan the bird and now he's gonna be a street free agent within 10 days unless someone -- paging Mr. Steinbrenner? -- trades for him and his US$6.25M salary. So, is Graves worth a shot, and if so, by who? And what would you give up for him, if anything?

He snatches at you and you match his cigarette
She pulls the eyes out with a face like a magnet
I don't know how much more of this I can take
She's filing her nails while they're dragging the lake
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Consequently, Iíve a tendency to be unhappy
You see the thoughts in my head
All the words that were said
All the blues and the reds get to me
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Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Or in my case, doomed to repeat Partial Differential Equations 315A. We'll see what we can learn about the 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates by looking back at the 1980s.
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In 2004 the Milwaukee Brewers finished last in the NL Central for the third consecutive season and failed to win 70 games for the fourth straight season. They scored the second fewest runs in the National League and they had the fourth-lowest attendance in the NL, despite playing in their relatively new stadium, Miller Park. Should we expect anything to change this year?
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In 1975, the Big Red Machine broke a four-decade drought by besting the Boston Red Sox in the greatest World Series ever played.

Fifteen years later, in 1990, the Nasty Boys took the Reds to the most surprising World Series sweep in the history of the Great Game, blasting the Bash Brother-led Oakland A's in four straight.

It's 2005 -- another fifteen years later. Baseball is starting its 136th professional year on the shores of the Ohio River. And it's about to happen again.

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Last year's Astros didn't play the winningest baseball in franchise history but did offer the most exciting. Dead as a doornail in mid-August -- 56-60 and in seventh place in the wild card standings - Houston roared to 36-10 finish, won its first ever playoff series, and came within four innings of the World Series.

Do the 2005 Astros have what it takes to expand on last year's accomplishments?

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Let me take you back to the end of the 2004 season...
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The year 2003 is one that Reds fans would love to forget. The team was beset with injuries, the starting pitching was horrendous, and the team finished only one game above the last place Milwaukee Brewers. This was followed up by the senseless murder of outfielder Dernell Stenson and the death of former owner Marge Schott.

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Not Your Father's Cardinals

In the summer of 1961, if it was daylight, I was playing ball. Most nights, I pretended to be asleep while listening to broadcasts on the earphone of my transistor radio and reading by flashlight about the Pastime and its history. I was a good reader for an eight-year-old, and there weren't enough books in the local library to satisfy my curiosity about Ruth, Cobb and DiMaggio. I liked aggressive players and "characters," so the Gashouse Gang had special appeal.
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When Joe Jackson wrote "You Can't Get What You Want ('Til You Know What You Want)", we doubt he had the Pittsburgh Pirates in mind. The team could never decide if wanted to try for one last gasp at a division title, or rebuild. In trying to meet both goals, it accomplished neither. The team has averaged a 71-91 record over the last 6 seasons and has finished higher than fourth only once since 1998.
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The Houston Astros might be the best franchise never to win a World Series. That should change this year.

Yes, thatís high, out-on-a-limb praise, but as Lou Brock once said, show me a man whoís afraid to look bad and Iíll show you a man you can beat every time. As my track record of predictions has clearly established, I have absolutely no fear of looking bad, repeatedly so in fact. All the same, the 2004 Astros have the look of a team thatís geared for a championship run. They need do only three things to achieve greatness: win the season series with the Cubs, fire their manager in May, and bench their incumbent centerfielder in June.
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