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Three players will be wearing the black, blue and graphite for the first time on Opening Day when the Blue Jays take on the Tigers Monday night at the Rogers Centre.  They'll also get to wear powder blue during Flashback Fridays if they stick around long enough.

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While scouring the greatness that is BaseballReference.com for something entirely unrelated to this story, I noticed a really striking thing about a team I haven't thought about at all in three decades -- the 1977-79 Atlanta Braves. Seriously, can you, with confidence, name a single member of those teams? Of course you can -- at the time, former Jay Phil Niekro hadn't even reached his 40th birthday.

But Niekro was truly remarkable those three years, compared to the rest of his Atlanta pitching mates. Nothing agsinst those guys -- there were some other names you'll know, like Dick Ruthven, Andy Messersmith, and for about 20 minutes, even Jim Bouton. But Knucksie, still only about two-thirds down the path toward his 300th career win, and a decade off his brief foray into Toronto baseball, was truly exceptional. Read on and see if you can think of anyone else who's done something similar.
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The [Fill in Team Name HERE]

Your challenge: write the headline and the first sentence or two of the story that appears in this spot next year. Be as serious or as tongue-in-cheek as you want. Can we write plausible (or at least amusing) headlines and scenarios for all 30 teams?

Like this one ...

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"Game 5 - The Sequel" will basically have an overtime feel to it as it will pick up in the bottom of the sixth inning at 2-2 tonight around 8:30 p.m. EDT, weather permitting.  In a twist similiar to the tradition of the NHL playoffs, I'm asking you to choose who you think will score the winning run and who will be the winning pitcher in this one. 

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The season is nearing its close -- 11 games remain. The magic number for both AL East and Wild Card elimination for the Jays is just three. The questions  of interest are mostly numerical -- do either Doc or AJ (or both) have two more wins left in them to get to 20? Does anybody get to .300, to 20 homers, or even to 80 RBI? Not really captivating stuff. So let's try out a Question of the Day ...

Rank the Blue Jays Top 10 Most Valuable Players, in order. Explain your rankings, even the smart-ass versions. Ready? I'll start you off with one; you fill in the next nine (yes, this might be harder than you think!) ...

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Oddities and Quirks ...
Last night, former Jay Frank Catalanotto and his current Ranger teammate Jarrod Saltalamacchia had back-to-back RBI at-bats for Texas. It was a history-making event (we think) as Salty has the longest last/family name in major league history (14 letters -- sorry, William "Unlucky 13" Van Landingham) while Cat, with 11 letters in his own last/family name, ain't far behind that.

So ... two at-bats, 25 combined letters in the last names, two RBI. What other weird things are going on in the major leagues these days?

Earlier this week, we took up a Reader Challenge to find "the greatese single Franchise Position in baseball history" ... after a variety of responses, including a Magpie Chart (always a sign of worthiness!) we have found candidates for every position on the diamond (including DH!) except second base.

Let's review and answer the following questions ...

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Here's a challenge ... can you name the greatese single Franchise Position in baseball history? Isn't it Left Field, Boston Red Sox?

Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski you know about. Before them came Duffy Lewis -- who would have made a bushel of All-Star Games had there been such a thing back then -- and after them came Jim Rice, Mike Greenwell and now Manny Ramirez, the latter who is also headed to the HOF.

Um ... wow. I don't think even NYY 1B -- Gehrig, Skowron, Chambliss, Mattingly -- comes close to that. Does anyone else come close?

I'm sure it'll come as a surprise to Ichiro but Progressive Field, previously named Jacobs Field, was rated number one in a fan survey conducted by SI.com when it comes to the overall ballpark experience.  The Rogers Centre ranked 18th.
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 The Ottawa Rapidz played its first game in the independent Can-Am League and a former Blue Jay farmhand was the winning pitcher.
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... the great Jim "Catfish" Hunter spun a perfect game for the Oakland A's, topping the powerful (Carew/Killebrew/Oliva) Minnesota Twins, 4-0.

So, it's story time here at Batter's Box. Have you ever seen a perfect game? Or even a no-hitter? That means, live -- not "Oh, yeah, I saw Lenny Barker's perfecto on TV" (which I did, but that don't count here!) ... 

No-hitters have always fascinated me. So tell your story of seeing one, or sometimes just as interesting, almost seeing one (Dave Stieb fans out there?) ... My own painful story of almost seeing one is a bit different ...

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This was going to be the Rangers advance scout.
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Thanks to the stupefying greatness of Sean Forman's BaseballReference.com. we can now view the Opening Day starting lineup for every team, every season, ever. Here are Blue Jay Opening Day lineups dating back to that Opening Opening Day back in '77. Go take a look, revel in a trip down memory lane, then come back here and answer these questions ...
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Happy Wednesday, everyone. Anything going on?

QOTD: What other ballplayers can you name, Blue Jays or otherwise (past or oresent) who can be given a TV character moniker? (Yes, yes, the creepy little girl Wednesday's name was "Addams" with two d's ... what, you want extra "D" from Russ?)

And what else is happening?

It's family day in Ontario and Presidents day in the US, meanwhile almost all players should be in camp for the Blue Jays.  Spring training games will start in less than two weeks with intra-squad games coming up next Monday.
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