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On Friday, November 25th I had the pleasure of spending an hour talking to Toronto’s Vice-President of Consumer Marketing, Laurel Lindsay, in Kingston. Laurel, who graduated from Queen’s with a Special Field Degree in Communications in 1991, returned to her alma mater to give a talk at the Queen’s Sports Industry Conference that weekend and she generously agreed to speak to me an hour before her evening address to the conference.
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Imagine you were a scout for a major league team last winter and your general manager calls you to ask about Josh Towers. Your team has a chance to trade for Towers and the GM wants to know what you think. You say Towers is a #5 pitcher and he is not even guaranteed a rotation spot with the Jays in 2005, you suggest to the GM that he should turn down the deal. Next day the GM is back on the phone, the Jays have sweetened the deal and now they are ready to give up Alex Rios. You tell the GM to jump at the deal, you saw Rios at New Haven in 2003 and you think he is primed for a breakout season. Fast forward to today, do you still have a job?

If you want to be a scout you better have an opinion and you better be right more than you are wrong or you could be facing the wrath of your GM, if you are still working for him.

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Just in time for Ricky Romero's debut, Batter's Box presents its exclusive interviews with the Auburn Doubledays!

Last Saturday was a lovely afternoon in New York, and I went with friend/Jays fan/Bauxite Kevin Janus to KeySpan park on Coney Island in Brooklyn, NY, to meet the D-Days prior to their game with the Brooklyn Cyclones. And not even the subsequent pea-soup fog and Auburn defeat could dampen our enthusiasm for some of the choice quotes we were able to obtain.

We enjoyed meeting the D-Days. We think you will, too.
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The inaugural Batter's Box Group Interview, with baseball historian and sports journalist Alan Schwarz, concluded nearly five minutes ago ... and here's what was said:
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A reminder to all Batter's Box readers: our chat with Alan Schwarz, author of The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics, is tonight, June 9, at 7:30 PM Eastern. You can continue to post questions to at the Alan Schwarz chat thread through 8:15 Eastern as the chat is scheduled to end around 8:30.

The easiest way to get to the live chat is to use Batter's Box's own Java applet. It will automatically use your Batter's Box account name -- if you have one and you're logged in, but a Batter's Box account isn't required to chat. Tonight's chat is in a slightly different format than the usual game chat in that it will be moderated by our own Joe Drew. Read on for details.

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Regular Box contributor Lugnut Fan steps up with the following interview of Blue Jay prospect Chip Cannon. Thanks, Chad!
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REMINDER: SEE NOTED AUTHOR AND RECENT BATTER'S BOX
CHAT GUEST ALAN SCHWARZ IN TORONTO THIS WEEKEND
Note: recent media reports indicate that Vernon Wells will be with his wife during childbirth this weekend, significantly decreasing the likelihood he will appear as originally scheduled with Schwarz. And who can blame him? That's a man with his priorities in order!

Original story:
The following information is adapted from a press release by the Toronto Learning Annex.

TORONTO -- The Toronto Learning Annex Presents sports journalist Alan Schwarz, joined by Toronto fan favourite Vernon Wells, in a lecture related to Schwarz's book, The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics at the Rogers Centre, June 18 beginning at 12:00 noon ET.

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Gabe Gross and Eric Crozier made their major league debuts in 2004 playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. "Making it" to the major leagues is the fulfillment of a dream, a dream held at one time by a large percentage of North American boys. I talked with both Gross and Crozier in Buffalo recently to reflect, with them, on the realization of their dream.
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Part Three: Reading, Writing & Sabermetrics

See also:

  1. Part One: Paper Blue Jay
  2. Part Two: Inside the Clubhouse
And now, some parting shots from Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Tom Verducci, who flew down Blue Jay Way in Spring Training.
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Part Two: Inside the Clubhouse

Previously: 1. Paper Blue Jay

During the time Sports Illustrated Senior Writer Tom Verducci was flying down Blue Jay Way in Spring Training, the mainstream media was essentially ignoring the games on the field -- no big deal, it was Spring Training, after all -- to focus on games being played off the field.

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Part One: Paper Blue Jay

Not all that long ago, it's likely that most Toronto-based baseball fans had, at most, just a passing familiarity with the work of Tom Verducci, Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, even though the New Jersey-born scribe has been with the venerable print magazine since 1993, when the Jays were in the midst of capturing back-to-back World Series titles.

Now, pretty much everyone in Toronto, even the most casual of baseball fans, knows Verducci, thanks to his recent in-depth feature "I Was a Toronto Blue Jay," which placed the Blue Jays on the SI cover for the first time in more than five years. According to Verducci's own online-only "exclusive interview with myelf" about the experience, he was "embedded in the Toronto Blue Jays camp for five days, wearing uniform No. 2, [and] discovered what spring training and the major-league life are like in a completely unfiltered, uncensored way."

This week, Verducci steps into Batter's Box to further discuss his career and his Blue Jay experience, which Batter's Box general manager Jordan Furlong, writing in his own recent article, Viral Marketing 101, termed "terrific free PR" for the organization.

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Normally getting hired for his dream job would be the highlight of someone’s winter. However, on February 12, 2005 37-year-old Jamie Campbell married the new Mrs. Alison Campbell in Jordan, Ontario. Assuming that Campbell wants to stay happily married, it seems likely he’d prioritise his marriage over his baseball-related news. However, this does not lessen the enthusiasm of Sportsnet’s new Blue Jays announcer, who recently visited with Batter’s Box.
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Baseball America’s 2005 Prospect Handbook has just been published and to coincide with its publication Jim Callis, Baseball America’s Executive Editor, agreed to step into Da Box for some prospect chat. Baseball America’s Prospect Handbook ranks the top 30 prospects for each major league team, 900 players in total, and is a “must-have” book for minor league fans. Subscribers to BA’s web site have been able to read scouting reports on the Blue Jays top ten prospects but you have to buy the book to read about numbers eleven through thirty.

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JP Ricciardi is on the phone from Florida. And he’s not real happy with Batter’s Box.

JP graciously stepped into Da Box right around this time last year to give us some insight into his expectations for the Blue Jays 2004. This year’s interview, intended to do the same for 2005, did not get off to a great start.

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A few days ago in Jonny German's Spring Training '05 report called "Pitcher This," Batter's Box regular jsoh wrote, "I'm desperately hoping for Spike Lundberg to make the team ... he's got a name to die for. Come on. Spike. Lundberg. Can't you just hear Murray Eldon announcing him? Tickets for the Spike Lundberg bandwagon are on sale at the door."

Sounds like it's time for the another edition of "Ask Spike," as the new Jay hurler stopped by Batter's Box for an interview and to take questions back in mid-November, and he returns now to do so again.

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