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Here's my first impressions of (most of) the 2006 Blue Jays.

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Craig wrote an interesting piece on the slowest runners around. It's a good read and the kinds of things that sabermetrics should be about, but often is not.

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The chirping of the birds outside the window was the sole incumbrance to my steadfast refusal to acknowledge that it was, in fact, a beautiful day outside. It was a hot July afternoon in 1993 and the conditions for were ideal for a swim at Peltoma Lake, a popular weekending spot for a few dozen families in rural southwestern New Brunswick. My thirteen year old id knew that there were girls outside and, unaware that it would later experience a five year Jordan Bulls-like period of dominance over my ego and superego during the high school/university years, was anxiously imploring me to put on my swim trunks and attempt interaction.

But I could not do it. The reason? The epic Jays/Athletics stratomatic series that my friend and I were playing in the cottage was about to crest in a game seven. Susie on a beach towel never had a chance against Juan Guzman on three days rest. And so it went. These are the choices that we make, and undoubtedly, if you are reading this, you experienced similar instances of budding baseball nerdness interfering with normal adolescent development.
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Normally, I multitask when watching baseball. But I can't do that on opening day, especially this opening day. So I took notes. Here they are, only lightly edited.
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On Friday and yesterday the Jays offense, pitching and defense went under the readers microscopes. Now it is time to draw a line in the sand. How many games will the Jays win in 2006?
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It all starts tomorrow, and Blue Jays fans are filled with an optimism not seen around these parts since... oh, about two years ago.
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On Friday the Jays offense was subject to the detailed analysis of the Bauxites. Today it is the turn of the pitching and defense. Tomorrow we will feature our predictions for the Jays in 2006.
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Test your prognostication skills in the 2006 Batter's Box Predictions Contest!

2003 Winner: Lucas (me)
2004 Winner: Simon
2005 Loser: Me again, because I forgot to tabulate last year’s results. I intend to have them by Tuesday when Toronto’s season begins.

On to The Contest!
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Over the last four weeks you have read previews for 29 major league teams. This is number 30, a three volume effort. Today the roster will discuss the offense. On Monday we will dissect the pitching and defense, and on Tuesday, opening day, we will share our season predictions. On to the offense.
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Here's a look at the 2006 Blue Jays. Enjoy.
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The Toronto Star's JABS site (Just Another Blog on Sports) is featuring a multi-part baseball bloggers' roundtable. Da Box contributed three panelists to the brain trust: Aaron, Magpie, and Pistol.

The link to the roundtable can be found here.

Opening Day is not that far away, people!

1. The updated Jays salary spreadsheet

2. An updated version of the baseball Reference Firefox plugin

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So... getting excited yet?

Well, why not. I'm beginning to feel it. There will be much to watch out for.

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After Bill James stopped publishing his annual abstracts in 1988, sabermetric analysis of baseball was rarely found in book form for a decade or more. Sure, there were annual publications from Stats Inc., but in the main, the genre did not take off. The last few years have seen a renaissance of sabermetric book publishing with the Hardball Times and Baseball Prospectus annuals, the new Fielding Bible from John Dewan, and now "The Book- Playing the Percentages in Baseball" by Tango, Lichtman and Dolphin.
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It's a simple game - will a team win more than or less than a certain number of games. Rosterites took a look at the lines and chimed in with predictions and comments.
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