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So the Blue Jays don't have a game tonight. Looking for your baseball fix?

Try some Syracuse SkyChiefs baseball, in this, the first Batter's Box Minor League Game of the Week. Syracuse's Scott Downs, last year's Pacific Coast League Pitcher Of The Year as a member of the Edmonton Trappers, faces off against ex-White Sock James Baldwin of the Ottawa Lynx at 6:00.

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Today, on his 43rd birthday, I pay homage to the man, the myth, the legend that is Jim Walewander.
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Howdy, everybody. For those of you who joined us since the offseason: every month, I produce a Blue Jays report card, grading each Jay using my patented GPBRFON system (Grades Produced By Random Firing Of Neurons).

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What's gone wrong with the Jays, you ask? Well, not as much as you might think: every team goes through bad stretches. (Ask the Yankees, who had to face The Boss's full-on wrath after punting a few games early in the season.) But one thing now seems clear to me: talent always trumps effort.
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Last September John Suomi was playing in the most exciting baseball series of his life and he had every reason to feel on top of the world. The 23-year-old catcher had just completed a very solid season for the Modesto A’s of the California League, which had included a spot in the California League All-Star Game. The A’s were playing the Lancaster Jethawks in the California League Championship Series and the best of five series was knotted at one game apiece. Suomi had solidified his status as something more than organisational filler, and a ticket to Double-A looked to be in the cards for 2005. However, in the third game of the championship series came the play that may have irreparably changed Suomi’s career.

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I'm homeless.
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Test your prognostication skills in the 2005 Batter's Box Predictions Contest!

In 2004, Simon held off 78 other contestestants to win the 2004 Contest. In 2003, I somehow won. Will this be your lucky year?

The prize for winning this year's contest may or may not include one of the following:

On to the Contest!

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The following story will appear in the April 1 and April 15 editions of American Way magazine, the award-winning inflight magazine of American Airlines. It is republished here in full with permission of the author.

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I saw the below cartoon today and just absolutely could not resist, because it leads to such an interesting QOTD (remember those?) ...
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Each year, I always enjoy seeing the Jays' upcoming schedule: look at all that baseball waiting to be played! The following are some random ramblings on the subject.

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This article was inspired by Jordan Furlong’s original Dunedin Diary from Spring Training 2004, and I suggest you read that one -- if you haven’t already -- before continuing here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

I tried to post this on a really cold day here in the Greater Toronto Area, just to rub it in. Enjoy!

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A news release today from Rogers Media and the FAN 590 reported that Jays broadcaster Tom Cheek will require additional brain surgery next week.

Please be sure to include Tom and his family in your thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks. Batter's Box wishes him a successful surgery and speedy recovery, and if you'd like to add your good wishes for Tom please do so in this thread.

I've always thought that predicting an individual player's performance was next to impossible: there are just too many factors to consider, one of which is just plain luck. But, just for fun, I thought I'd make two predictions for each Blue Jay hitter and starting pitcher likely to make the team in 2005. The first prediction will be wildly optimistic, the second wildly pessimistic.

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(Bonus points to anyone who can name the 1980s Canadian band that debuted with that album title.)

There's a lot of sound and fury in sabrmetric circles today, and it's the doing of Bill James. He wrote an article for SABR's Baseball Research Journal titled "Underestimating the Fog," and he's gotten a lot of folks pretty riled up in the process. We don't have access to the essay itself, so here's a link to an article that discusses it.

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The DH was implemented in the American League in 1973 with the stated intention of increasing offence. Unlike most of major-league baseball’s innovations, this one actually worked, kind of. Scoring, which had been in the doldrums, perked up: the AL’s collective batting average rose 20 points, and the AL has outscored the NL in runs per game in 31 of the 32 seasons that followed (interestingly, the NL actually outscored the AL by 0.05 runs per game in 1974, the year after the DH’s introduction).
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