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The most over-used and misunderstood phrase of any early baseball season is easily "on pace for." In fact, announcers around the majors are on pace to use that phrase forty-seven billion times this week (roughly, that is).

So let's over-use it in a misunderstood sort of way ourselves. For instance, did you realize that just one or two (or in one case three) games into the MLB season ...

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The minors swing into action tomorrow.
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Apparently, at the end of the 2007 season, the Tribune Co. is going to put the Chicago Cubs up for sale.

Okay, we've got hundreds of regulars on this site, including about sixty lawyers, so let's figure out a way ... mostly Blue Jay fans here, granted, but surely there's something appealing to buying the Cubbies on the 99th anniversary of their last title?

So, how do we do this? Suggestions anyone? I've got a couple of $20 bills in my wallet (and that's American exchange) that I'll commit, but I want to be VP-PR & Marketing. Anyone else?

A look at the Vegas lines for team wins this season.
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Come and join us at the Harbour Sports Grille (Yonge and Lakeshore, a few minutes walk south of Union) on Monday - 12:45 onwards.  As Coach says - tell your boss you've got a Doctor's Appointment, and watch Surgeon General Halladay put on a clinic.
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The plot thickens?
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I am now running Community Forecasts, and participation among hardcore fans is appreciated.  I've already taken an initial look at Redsox Fans' feelings on Pedroia, Papelbon, and their relievers:

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/comments/community_forecasts1/

As soon as I get 20 ballots for the Jays, I'll do likewise.

The Twins won 96 games in 2006 behind the pitching of Johan Santana, Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan and the batting of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. Can they do it again?
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There are many reasons to expect Florida to take a step back in 2007.

1. Teams that make a big leap forward usually regress the next season
2. Florida's 2006 season was driven by the stellar performance of several rookies, the sophomore slump is likely to play its part in 2007
3. Florida relied on four rookie starters who threw almost 600 major league innings between them, expect injuries in 2007
4. Florida rallied around a fresh charismatic manager, Joe Girardi.  Lightning might not strike twice with Fredi Gonzalez
5. Dan Uggla is the universal pick of "poolies" to underperform in 2007
6. Dontrelle Willis has pitched over 800 innings in the last four seasons, all before his 25th birthday

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Bodog has published their February listing of odds for each club to win the 2007 World Series?  The Yankees, Tigers and Mets are most favoured, in that order. I like the A's at 20-1, and the Indians at 28-1.  Among the longshot choices,  the Snakes at 50-1 and the Rays at 200-1 would have some interest.  I am mystified that the Royals are only at 70-1.  Do Kansas City fans bet more than Phoenix fans?

Who would be the choice of Bauxites?  None of us bet, right?



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Today on ESPN.com, the underrated Tim Kurkjian provides a story that headlines Barry Bonds, but which more interestingly examines the possibility of a number of hitting and pitching milestones that could be reached in 2007. At one point, he writes the following:

500 Home Run guys: There is a chance that five players will join the 500-Home Run Club this year, which would be a first. Frank Thomas is 13 away. Jim Thome is 28 away. Manny Ramirez is 30 away. Alex Rodriguez is 36 away. Gary Sheffield needs 45. This used to be an exclusive little club. Now it's up to 20. Soon, the 20 will become 25. In another 15 years, there are going to be 35. Get used to the growth.

It raises an interesting point ...

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Well, in Blue Jays history anyway. And for those of you who expect the name "Josh Towers" to appear in this article.... I promise Satisfaction. And we will meet All-Stars and Cy Young winners as well as the Lost and Forgotten.
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No, it's not just about Adam Lind ... today on ESPN.com, the always-excellent Alan Schwarz, a friend of Batter's Box, takes a look around the majors at five rookies who may make a major impact in 2007. That's five (Young, Gordon, Garza, Tulowitzki and Lincecum, FYI) other than Daisuke Matsuzaka, of course -- and there's also a sidebar about the fading promise of Joel Guzman.

So to put the question before you, Bauxites ... forget about "Rookie of the Year" predictions for the moment. What rookies, both in Toronto and elsewhere, will make the biggest impact on MLB in the upcoming season?

Jeff Blair reports that the Jays and Lyle Overbay have agreed on a 4 year, $24 million contract.
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The 2007 roster is beginning to take shape, but its final construction is likely to depend on what actually happens in Florida this spring. Which isn't something we saw last year...
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