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As you've hopefully noticed we've started running our 2012 previews - the other divisions last week, the AL East this week, with the Jays to follow next week. I used this as an opportunity to look back at some of the predictions we made at the start of the 2011 season, and thought that this would be a good opportunity for self mockery. We here at the Box are nothing if not humble.

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So, Orioles... how've you been this year? Haven't checked in with you since the preview I wrote last year. People were expecting a lot from you, maybe even a fourth-place finish in the East, ahead of those overrated Blue Jays.
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But they most likely won't.

A few day ago at Fangraphs, Paul Swydan made a convincing case why they should both stay over Ben Francisco. I'm going to add my support here.
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The baseball season is just a couple of weeks away. And you know what that means... it's fantasy baseball season! The gang was joined by some fantasy friends (I mean real friends we play fantasy with, not friends we pretend to have, I swear) to discuss how playing fantasy sports changes us as fans. In part two, the long-awaited NL East Preview, recorded last week with Alex Obal in New York.

Subscribe here. Listen here.
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A very special "Live from New York" (it's Saturday night! (it actually was Saturday night (well, Saturday afternoon))) episode of the Boxcast this week featuring Da Box's Big Apple correspondent Alex Obal. Given the circumstances, Alex and I decided to chat about New York fandom and how it differs from being a fan in Toronto. In part 2 we took a cue from Matthew Elmsley and gave our predictions for who will get the playing time at left field and who will get the starts in 2012. Listen here.

The discussion was fruitful and free-flowing, so I'm going to save part 3 (NL East Preview) for next Monday so as not to burden listeners with a huge commitment. Also, we plan on going to a weekly schedule once the season starts so this is a good transition to that. Look for the Boxcast every Monday from now on!

Update: We're in the iTunes Store!
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With the new playoff slot we're all dreaming big here. However, how bad is the playoff situation in Toronto with the Leafs & Raptors looking inept and the Jays being in the toughest division there is? Is this something that should be expected or is it a once in a generation thing?
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A very special episode of the Boxcast this week. Episode 4: For a Few Boxes More. We open with the debut of the Boxcast's original theme song. Next, Anders and Thomas join me for an analysis of the second wildcard and how it affects the Jays in 2012 and the future. In our second segment, special guest Gerry McDonald joins us via Skype to talk prospects (around 22:00). Finally, a round-up of Jays spring training news and other news around the majors (around 43:00.)

Listen here.
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There are real live baseball games being played today.

This of course makes it is a good day. The Jays are up against the Pirates at 1:05, and there is coverage on the radio. If you have, they start their spring training coverage today with the Yanks-Phillies at 1:05 and the Red Sox against Boston College at 7:05.

Also here's a hilarious JPA story over at The Classical.

One of my two favourite books arrived at my door this week in the form of the 2012 edition of the Baseball America Prospect HandbookThis year's handbook has added a couple of new wrinkles in evaluating each team's top 30 minor league prospects.
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Happy Leap Day! I promised I'd get these up by the end of the month. Glad I had that extra day. 27 Bauxites entered the 2011 Record Prediction Contest - the most ever! Click through to find out who's got a crystal ball and who just has a crystal skull.
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You know, those 1992-93 Blue Jays were pretty good -- and rarer than I first thought or expected.

Not sure what made me think to do this, but if I've counted right, there have only been 13 occasions when a franchise won (at least) two consecutive World Series championships and only seven franchises overall have accomplished the feat. The Yankees have done it four times to lead the way (of course) while the A's (in two different cities) have pulled off the feat three times.

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I was just about to post a thread exactly like this myself, as I've had the MLB Network on in th background all day. but I see in another thread that valued Bauxite JustinD has already beaten me to it. Over to you,. Justin ...

"Don't know where else to post this, but thought this might spark some baseball talk. Been watching the MLB Network and they're doing a Top 10 Right Now segment where they break down the Top 10 at each position. So far, from what I've seen ...

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Mother Nature ruined the action on the field in Rochester, New York in late August but a chance encounter with a World Series hero from 1992 made sure Mother Nature wouldn't ruin the day off the field.
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Jose Bautista joined The Fan 590 in Toronto with Brady and Lang to discuss handling the off-season attention as a superstar player, his off-season workout routine, playing right field exclusively this season, wanting the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire another bat to give him some protection in the lineup, and the Tampa Bay Rays being picked as the early favorite to win the American League East.

Abbreviated transcript || Podcast (Bautista interview starts the show)

Anders, Thomas and I reconvened to talk about the 2012 schedule, the AL West, and the 2009 draft. Listen here.
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