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Hey Batter's Box! To all you devotees of "Baseball from a Canadian Perspective," there's an interesting post today from valued fellow Bauxite Tangotiger on his The Book blog called Lowering the standards to retire numbers so that we can have an excuse for celebration.

More to the point for our site's interests, though, Tom also dips his toe into the question(s) raised by the fact that "the Nationals have retired the Expos numbers." First, can you name the four Expos whose numbers have been retired***? And what do you think of Tom's list of four (especially one) who should be, but who aren't on that list?

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That was the question Bob McCown posed to Stephen Brunt during the 4:00 hour on Monday's edition of Prime Time Sports.  Brunt answered he was okay with them and that they are better than the 70's version.  McCown then said, "if you like the current jersey, you better go get one because this time next year, they won't be available."  McCown said he did not know what the proposed new uniforms will look like but guessed it would be closer to the original version or a combination of the new and old one.  There appears to be further proof that McCown is on to something because the Jays have joined forces with a marketing firm for re-branding purposes.

     The 1994-1996 alternate uniforms (best in team history!)                                           The current day uniforms.

Images provided by Sportslogos.net.

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We decided to dip into the Batter's Box budget and design a collectible to rival Jose Bautista Bobblehead Day April 3.
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Brandon Morrow will not make his scheduled April 2 start against the Minnesota Twins at the Dome.  The Globe & Mail says the 26 year-old Morrow is going on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm strain.  BlueJays.com describes the injury as inflammation in the flexor muscle of his right elbow.  Thanks to Bauxite China fan for the heads up! 


Brandon Morrow in action against the St. Louis Cardinals at the Dome June 24. 

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The Toronto Sun says manager John Farrell likes what he sees from prospects Brett Lawrie and Anthony Gose.  The story says Farrell believes Lawrie is ready for the bigs now but GM Alex Anthopoulos thinks the Langley, B.C. native could use some time in Triple-A.

“I sent a text to Alex yesterday saying I can’t wait for the day that Lawrie and (Anthony) Gose might be fully ready to go as major league players.  They’re exciting young players and they can impact the game in a number of different ways. That’s not to say we’ve made a final roster decision when it comes to Lawrie but both of those guys are extremely talented and are going to have an impact the day they arrive in the majors.”

Brett Lawrie and his sister Danielle Lawrie wearing Team Canada uniforms.  Danielle is a softball pitcher at the University of Washington.

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'Cause after all, he'll hit the baseball!  There's still a long way to go but Brett Lawrie continues to make his case that he should play his second ever game at the Dome April 1.  The Canadian third baseman (who was at the Dome not that long ago) slugged his second homer of the year to help the Blue Jays knock off the Twins 7-4 Thursday afternoon in Fort Myers.   Jays fans are hoping for similar results during the season opening series at home April 1-3.

Brett Lawrie is hitting .381 so far this spring with two homers and five runs batted in over 21 at-bats.

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A couple of former Blue Jays decided to call it quits over the weekend.  Sportsnet.ca says catcher Gregg Zaun, who tried to catch on with the San Diego Padres this spring, will officially announce his retirement today.  Also, outfielder Frank Catalanotto said over the weekend that he is hanging up the cleats.  He played briefly for the New York Mets last season.

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An underrated rite of winter: the Vegas sportsbooks release lines for team win totals.
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Faster than a Delorean, the Toronto Blue Jays have come to terms with speedy outfielder Scott Podsednik on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.  Podsednik, who split last season with the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers, could have been a Dodger again in 2011 but turned down a team option earlier in the off-season.

Scott Podsednik leads off from first during a game in Toronto April 21.

UPDATE February 17 @ 9:00 am:  Bio information added.

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Bill Risley's claim to fame as the last Toronto Blue Jay to go to Arby's may still be intact.  Monday's arbitration hearing involving home run king Jose Bautista and the team has been postponed until Friday, leading to speculation the two sides could hammer out a long term deal.

Robert MacLeod of The Globe & Mail has comments from second baseman Aaron Hill and reliever Jason Frasor who hope the 54 home run man is back in the fold for 2011 and beyond.

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Interesting thought while scanning past the MLB network recently and hearing metnion of 1979 as a  great year of champions for the city of Pitttsburgh-- the Steelers of '78 won the Jamuary 1979 Super Bowl and later that same year, the We-Are-Fam-a-lee Pirates knocked off the Orioles in the World Series. It made me wonder -- how often has something like this happened in one calendar year for one city?

I can think of just two off the top of my head -- the 1987-88 Lakers preceded their City of Angels brethren the Dodgers in a shared championship year.; and the 1968 New York Jets won th Impossible Dream Super Bowl III  in January of 1969, the same year that brought us the Micacle Amazing Mets in October (Also, ironically, over the Baltimore Orioles.)

Close bu t no cigar: the 2007-08 Celtics actually won their title in 2008, the calendar year AFTER the Red Sox win their second title in four years (that still seems strange to write) ... but wait, there's a nother one ... that first Sawx title in  2004 was in the same calendar year the Pats -- not officially a "Boston" home team, but close enough, hey? -- closed out a Super Bowl title on Feb. 1.

There must be others ... let's limit it to the big four, the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB ... who's missing? And which is the most impressive?

The Blue Jays and reliever Jason Frasor have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one year deal worth $3.5 million with a club option for $3.75 million.

Jason Frasor pitches a scoreless inning against Tampa Bay during the Jays 17-11 win at the Dome August 7.   He compiled a 3-4 record with a 3.68 earned run average and four saves in 2010.  Frasor also struck out 65 batters and had a WHIP of 1.382 in 63 2/3 innings.
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As we learned here yesterday, former Jay Overlord Pat Gillick is a Hall of Famer. Bauxites expressed surprise that Marvin Miller was not yet selected for induction, though that seems inevitable after he fell just one vote short this year.

The only other candidate to receive even 50 percent of the vote was ex-Big Red Machine shortstop Dave Concepcion, who probably never gets in (though I admit it, I grew up in Ohio in the BRM days and personally would love to see Davey Shortstop in the HOF).

Who else deserves what? Here's my take ....

  • Shocked he didn't get in overwhelmingly this year: George Steinbrenner
  • Nice career, probably doesn't belong: Ted Simmons, Vida Blue, Steve Garvey, Al Oliver
  • Probably belongs, probably gets in eventually: Billy Martin,
  • Probably belongs, probably never gets in: Tommy John
  • Probably doesn't belong, but watch out for the "New York Bump": Ron Guidry, Rusty Staub

Your thoughts, valued Bauxites?

Try the Boston Red Sox, gumshoes!   As noted in a previous thread, the Padres have traded first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox for three prospects - pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo and outfielder Reymond Fuentes.  The Red Sox will also send a PTBNL San Diego's way.

Update Dec 5 @ 5:40 pm:  The San Diego Union Tribune says the deal is not done yet.  It's believed Gonzalez and the Red Sox are not seeing eye to eye on a proposed contract extension.

Update Dec 7:  Now it looks to be done!  Seven years, $154-million bucks.



Meantime, the Blue Jays are hoping to make a big move of their own in acquiring a Cy Young Award winner.  The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott reports the Jays are targetting Kansas City ace Zack Greinke and it's believed the asking price will at least be Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider for starters.

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Doc vs. The Freak

In my humble opinion, they're the two best pitchers in major league baseball right now. Given a choice between the two of them to start a pitching staff, factoring in age, current cost, etc. -- hell, I don't have a single clue which one I'd go with.

The 2010 National League Championship Series (NLCS) looks to start with a matchup of Tim "The Freak" Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants facing off with Roy "Doc" Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies. Could there possibly be a more exciting starting pitching matchup in this year's post-season? (Sorry, Cliff Lee, apologies Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels).What do you foresee in this year's NLCS, Bauxites?