2014-07-10

Interview With Andy Burns




If you listen closely to the really smart baseball people out there, they will all say the same thing: the biggest jump in minor league ball is from High A to AA.

We respectfully submit exhibit A for your reference: Infielder Andy Burns. In the 2013 season he played the exact same number of games in the Florida State League and the Eastern League: 64. That allows for a rather straight forward comparison.

High A:                                 AA:   
248 AB                                265 AB
45 runs                                40 runs
81 hits                                  67 hits
15 2B                                    19 2B
5 3B                                      2 3B
8 HR                                     7 HR
53 RBI                                 32 RBI
21 SB                                   12 SB
9 CS                                     5 CS
25 BB                                  23 BB
38 K                                    55 K
.327/.383/.524            .253/.309/.419


A few notes:
Batting average and OBP dropped almost 75 points
Slugging percentage was down over 100 points
The only increases were doubles and strikeouts

Stats taken from here. If they aren't fucking nerdy enough for you, go ahead and click here.

He does have roughly the equivalent of a full season of experience in AA now so let’s take a look at those numbers, which are current as of July 10.

570 AB
83 runs
140 hits
34 2B
4 3B
16 HR
69 RBI
26 SB
11 CS
56 BB
123 K
.246/.314/.404

That’s not too shabby, all things considered. With his position flexibility – 83 games at SS, 212 at 3B, 13 at 2B and 3 at 1B – he has an intriguing skill set that could potentially help a major league team, perhaps right away.

If you read that sentence again you’ll see that we didn’t say anything definitive, which is kinda neat!

Our amazing interviewer, Jay Floyd, caught up with Andy Burns last month and had a nice chat about the following topics and more:

Playing in the northeastern U.S. to start a season
The minor league life in general
Hobbies, and who the video game champion on the team is
The college baseball experience
His thoughts on a possible tobacco ban in baseball
What it’s like to hang out with some Blue Jays legends



2014-07-04

Interview With Tyler Ybarra


Tyler doing work

Tyler Ybarra was a late-round pick (43rd round, 1299 overall, to be precise) in the 2008 draft. He has made steady progress up the minor league ladder, being challenged with a new level at the start of each year, and he was given the chance to pitch in the star-studded Arizona Fall League after a dominant 2013 season in the FSL.

This year, he has appeared in 29 games for the Fishercats, and only 12 of those appearances have not been of the multiple-inning type—so he’s not just a LOOGY. In fact, he has some reverse splits going on, meaning he has been tougher on right-handed hitters than lefties—this year, anyways.

If you’re as tired as I am of watching guys like Rob Rasmussen get their head kicked in at the big league level, then keep an eye out for this guy as he might be in line for a shot sooner rather than later—we all know Gibby loves having three LHP in the pen whenever possible.

Our man on the ground, Jay Floyd, caught up with Tyler Ybarra and was able to impressively dodge both a possessed vacuum cleaner AND a pesky air conditioner to get some insight into the following topics:

Having higher expectations
Skipping a season after rookie ball
Scouting report on himself
Pitch repertoire
Following in his father’s footsteps
Being a late round pick
Good luck charms



Follow Tyler Ybarra @TYbar23
Follow Jay Floyd @Phoulballz
Follow Us @1BJW

2014-07-01

Interview With Mike Crouse


Outfielder Mike Crouse was drafted at 17 years old in the 16th round of the 2008 draft. He hails from British Columbia, stands 6’4 and weighs in at a svelte 215 lbs. We have heard him described as "looking quite good in the uniform," so to speak.

Mike had a breakout season in 2011 for the Lansing Lugnuts, where he slugged 14 bombs, grabbed 38 bags and slashed .261/.352/.475 in 101 games playing RF beside uber prospect Jake Marisnick. Mike’s production at the dish was comparable to Jake’s and had many prospect hounds drooling.

Fast forward a couple of injury plagued seasons and the chatter has pretty much died down. For the 2014 season, he has been plugging away in AA with the New Hampshire Fishercats as a 23 year-old player--which is still 1.7 years younger than the median age in the Eastern League, according to Baseball Reference.

In his complete minor league career to date he has played 199 games in RF, 163 in CF and 70 in LF, which seems a little light in terms of reps considering he is entering his 7th year of professional baseball. Hopefully he can stay on the field for 400+ at bats and the chatter will start up again. If our math is correct, he must be added to the 40-man roster before next season or he could be lost via the Rule 5 draft.

Our minor league interviewer extraordinaire, Mr. Jay Floyd, caught up with Mike Crouse and discussed many interesting topics:

If there is any extra pride/drive/desire to play in the Blue Jays system
When baseball became the game of choice for him in this hockey crazed nation
A brief scouting report on himself
Favourite player growing up (spoiler alert: YUCK)
The experience of playing winter ball in the ABL




Follow Mike Crouse: @_crouse_
Follow Jay Floyd @Phoulballz
Follow Us @1BJW


2014-06-25

Interview With LHP Daniel Norris


Much virtual ink has been spilled over the name Daniel Norris these past few days, a second round high school pick who happens to throw a baseball with his left hand. But if you recall, it hasn’t always been that way. When he was taken 74th overall in 2011, the so-called draft experts were saying how it was a steal to get him there and that he was the best high school lefty talent available in the entire draft. Then he goes to rookie ball and hangs up a 7.97 ERA in 10 starts with a 1.629 WHIP. Not exactly world beater stuff right there.

As an organization, if you are going to get in the habit of taking a lot of high school players in your draft classes then you must be willing to wait for them to develop. This isn’t always easy to do, and the Blue Jays deserve some praise in this specific case. Patience is only half of the equation, really—you also need some great coaches at the lower minor leagues levels who have the right approach. Seems to have worked out pretty swell as he is now being mentioned as a potential trade chip for guys like David Price, Cliff Lee and Jeff Samardzija.

Daniel Norris was recently named to the Futures Game roster, representing the American side. This is a premium showcase for young, developing talent and it is quite an honour to be involved in this game.

From the most recent Baseball America Podcast:

I am very interested in seeing Daniel Norris because Daniel Norris, I give him massive loads of credit. There are not many guys who’ve pulled off what he did. Daniel Norris for the first, I don't know seven pro months of his career, was terrible. I don't mean bad, I mean getting his brains beat in pretty much every time out, what's wrong with him, for a guy who got a whole lot of money how is he as bad as this, you know, what's the problem? And he didn't go into a funk, he worked with his coaches, he got better and then it was like the light switch turned on. And the funny thing is he always had stuff even when he was giving up two hits an inning, even though he was walking a lot of guys. The light switch got on and he's gotten better and better and better, and now he's very much the Daniel Norris that everyone thought he was gonna be coming out of the draft. I give him a lot of credit, a lot of guys when it goes bad like that gets really hard to pull out of it. Daniel Norris pulled out of it.

If you are wondering when exactly the light switch turned on, we’ve got that for you. Who better to ask than the gentleman who watched him pitch every game last year: Our boy Jesse, the radio broadcaster with the Lansing Lugnuts.

Q: Can you pinpoint the exact time in which Daniel Norris turned the corner last year?

A: Absolutely. May 13th, and up another level on August 4th.

The game logs for the 2013 season can be found here.

Our lead minor league reporter Jay Floyd was able to catch up with Daniel Norris last weekend in Trenton and spoke to the 6’2, 180 lbs pitcher. In a wide-ranging interview, they discuss:

FSL all-star experience
AA debut
Learning to pitch to the ballpark
Draft experience
Pitch repertoire
Pregame meals
Attention to hydration on the days before he pitches and on game day
Favourite baseball movie
Trade rumours
Faith in God




Follow Daniel Norris @DanielNorris18
Follow Jay Floyd @PhoulBallz
Follow Jesse Goldberg-Strassler @jgoldstrass
Follow us @1BJW

2014-04-01

25 Man Roster Challenge Winner Declared


 

This year's edition was yet another closely fought 25-Man Roster Challenge.

After a group of 5 contestants jumped out to a late lead, an injury to a key player that everyone selected on their ballot - closer Casey Janssen - appeared to perhaps let another team or two jump back into the race. Turns out that didn’t happen, and the fabulous five who nailed 22 out of 25 names correctly went to the tiebreaker: the team’s spring training record.

Here are the teams that went to the tiebreaker, along with their tiebreaker, and the names of those on their ballots who didn't break camp with the team:

Team @scottwspicer
17-13
J.A. Happ
Anthony Gose
Casey Janssen

Team Man With The Golden Arm
16-13
J.A. Happ
Luis Perez
Casey Janssen

Team @BirdsOfBABIP
15-13
Ubaldo Jimenez
J.A. Happ
Casey Janssen

Team @gregorMLB
13-16
J.A. Happ
Anthony Gose
Casey Janssen

Team @CDNBaseballHOF
14-17
Ervin Santana
Munenori Kawasaki
Casey Janssen

With that, I can declare...

I can already hear the murmur in the crowd that the fix is in; but, rest assured, this is all above reproach.

...that I am the champion of my own contest!

I knew that the Blue Jays had to run the table in Montreal for me to have a shot at victory, and they did just that. Thank goodness Jose Reyes was in the lineup for those two (really important) games.

I guess I will keep the prizes for myself and put them up again in next year’s challenge.

Thank you to all who joined in the fun and we hope to see you all play again next year.

2014-03-25

25 Man Roster Challenge Update



We have been thinking about doing an update regarding the 25-Man Roster Challenge for a few days now. With less than a week to go, things are still somewhat unsettled with respect to your Toronto Blue Jays opening-day roster.

There isn’t much point in going into too much detail about the remaining job battles and where they're currently at—the minute this post is uploaded, things are certain to change. This has been one of the most interesting and frustrating spring training camps to watch in recent memory.

With respect to the challenge, it appears as though someone going 25-for-25 will have to wait for another year. Up until the demotion of Anthony Gose, both Team @gregorMLB and Team @scottwspicer had real shots at the elusive perfect ballot. It now seems that having just one player wrong might be enough to take home the prizes and bragging rights.

Of course, things could change if Jose Reyes’s hamstring isn’t fit enough for games, or Dustin McGowan’s general arm/shoulder area starts to hurt again, or Casey Janssen can’t answer the bell after having only a week of practice, or someone finally realizes that Ryan Goins is at the very best a really shitty utility player, or Erik Kratz and his handful of bullpens is somehow deemed to be better at catching the knuckleball than Josh Thole and his 565 2/3 innings of major league game experience, or Matt Tuiasosopo impresses enough with his play in a short period of time, or J.A. Happ refuses the pending optional assignment he is surely to receive, or another borderline MLB player gets plucked off the waiver wire.

Got all that? Did we forget anything?

The following teams, as of right now, have only one player wrong on their ballot:



Team @gregorMLB

Team @scottwspicer

Team @BirdsOfBABIP

Team Man With The Golden Arm



Of note is that Team @BirdsOfBABIP has Jeremy Jeffress and lottery ticket Ubaldo Jimenez on his ballot. Since Jeffress is still technically in the hunt for a job, we couldn’t rule him out as a "possible" to break camp with the team, even though it appears to be a longshot. It should also be noted that all of these ballots have Josh Thole winning the back-up catching job. If he gets cut and starts the year in AAA, this thing could get real interesting in a hurry.

2014-02-21

And They're Off!


The field in this year's edition of The 25 Man Roster Challenge is jam-packed with all-star calibre participants. We were able to get ballots from the president of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, the MLB beat writer for the Blue Jays, a finalist from the MLB Fan Cave, the beat writer for the biggest newspaper in the country, a writer who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and many great bloggers and fans of the team alike.

We want to thank all of you for interest and wish you all good luck.

Before we get to the individual ballots, we'd like to point out some interesting facts about them. This year, there were 22 ballots cast and all of them contained the following 14 players:

R.A Dickey, Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil, Dioner Navarro, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Colby Rasmus, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Maicer Izturis.

A few players only appear on 1 ballot; these are the long shots, so to speak:

Drew Hutchinson, Neil Wagner, Rickey Romero, Sean Nolin.

We hinted that the Blue Jays may be forced to carry an extra reliever to start the year due to the volume of quality pitchers in camp who are out of options. The brain trust has already started to float the idea. Of the 22 ballots cast, 8 contain a 13-man pitching staff while the remaining 14 go with the more conventional 12-man pitching staff. How the team ultimately decides to go in that regard will be the deal-breaker in this challenge.

Height doesn't measure heart, but nobody seems to care just yet. Top prospect Marcus Stroman did not find his way onto a ballot, which is somewhat surprising.

As for the mystery pitcher, it was interesting to note that over half the ballots cast selected a player that is not currently on the 40-man roster. The voting breakdown was dead even, with 6 participants selecting Ervin Santana and 6 going with Ubaldo Jimenez.

In what can only be described as random, all 22 ballots are different. There is no favourite this year. Think about that for a second. We asked all of you to give us just 25 names and nobody came up with the same 25 names. That's the current state of this team in a nutshell.

So that's the deal. Below you will find the individual ballots. There isn't really a good way to do this in terms of presentation so apologies for the long and repetitive nature of this post. The numbers after the names on the ballots is the tiebreaker—the team's spring training record.

Team Mrs. Man With The Golden Arm
Ervin Santana
J.A. Happ
Steve Delabar
Sergio Santos
Esmil Rogers
Aaron Loup
Dustin McGowan

Josh Thole
Ryan Goins
Moises Sierra
Kevin Pillar
17-13

Santana
Happ
Santos
Delabar
Loup
McGowan
Rogers

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Munenori Kawasaki
17-13

Santana
Rogers
Delabar
Santos
McGowan
Loup
Todd Redmond

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Kawasaki
14-17

Santana
Happ
Santos
Loup
Delabar
Rogers
McGowan

Goins
Erik Kratz
Brent Morel
Anthony Gose
11-17

Santana
Happ
Delabar
Loup
Rogers
Redmond
Neil Wagner
Jeremy Jeffress

Kratz
Goins
Sierra
16-12-1

Team Human Rain Delay
Santana
Happ
Rogers
Santos
Delabar
McGowan
Loup
Luis Perez

Thole
Goins
Sierra
15-14

Ubaldo Jimenez
Happ
Delabar
Santos
McGowan
Rogers
Redmond

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Pillar
14-16

Jimenez
Happ
Delabar
McGowan
Perez
Rogers
Santos

Kratz
Goins
Morel
Sierra
13-17

Team Ant
Jimenez
Happ
Santos
Perez
McGowan
Rogers
Loup

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Morel
13-16

This was the only ballot to not select the name Steve Delabar. We did some follow up on this omission and the reasoning behind it was solid. Delabar has an option remaining left and it was a difficult decision but he was left off this ballot. From All Star to Buffalo? 

Jimenez
Happ
Santos
Delabar
Loup
Jeffress
Rogers
McGowan

Thole
Goins
Gose
12-18

Jimenez
Happ
Santos
Delabar
McGowan
Rogers
Jeffress
Redmond

Thole
Goins
Sierra
15-13

This was the only ballot that had a brief write up attached to it. You can see it by clicking here.

Team Jays Are My 2nd Favourite Team:
Jimenez
Happ
Rogers
Santos
Delabar
Loup
McGowan
Perez

Thole
Sierra
Chris Getz
15-13 

Happ 
Santos
Delabar
McGowan
Loup
Rogers
Drew Hutchison

Thole
Goins
Gose
Sierra
13-16 

Happ
Santos
Delabar
Loup
McGowan
Rogers
Sean Nolin

Kratz
Goins
Gose
Sierra
15–15 

Happ
Rogers
Santos
Delabar
McGowan
Loup
Perez

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Kawasaki
16-14

Team Jimmy Triggs
Happ
Delabar
Santos
Loup
McGowan
Rogers
Redmond

Thole
Goins
Gose
Morel
15-15

Happ
Santos
Delabar
Loup
Jeffress
McGowan
Kyle Drabek

Thole
Getz
Morel
Sierra
12-18

Happ
Santos
Delabar
McGowan
Redmond
Loup
Rogers

Thole
Goins
Sierra
Gose
17-13

Happ
Rogers
Delabar
McGowan
Loup
Redmond
Perez

Thole
Goins
Kawasaki
Sierra

No tiebreaker selected!

Team Last Row 500’s
Santos
Delabar
Loup
McGowan
Rogers
Jeffress
Drabek
Ricky Romero

Thole
Sierra
Morel
15-15

Happ
Redmond
Santos
Delabar
Loup
Perez
Rogers
Drabek

Thole
Goins
Sierra
17-13

Team Man With The Golden Arm
Happ
Rogers
Santos
Loup
Delabar
McGowan
Perez
Redmond

Thole
Goins
Sierra
16-13

2014-02-13

Tick Tock

 

The 25 Man Roster Challenge deadline is coming quick. If you intend to play your ballot must be in by Saturday February 15th at midnight. Check out this post for info on all the rules, how to play and prizes!

As much as we want to see your Toronto Blue Jays sign a free agent pitcher to help us out in the rotation this year, we'd really like it if this happened after the deadline to have your ballot in. We think this might add yet another element of the unknown into the process of selecting the 25 names you think will be on the team opening day.

If you need a bit of insider assistance selecting the players on your ballot, we've taken the time to collect a few articles that might prove helpful to you.

Courtesy of Shi:

Projected Rotation: R.A. Dickey; Mark Buehrle; Brandon Morrow; J.A. Happ; and Esmil Rogers/Todd Redmond/Marcus Stroman/Drew Hutchison/Kyle Drabek 
Projected Bullpen: Casey Janssen; Steve Delabar; Sergio Santos; Dustin McGowan; Brett Cecil; Aaron Loup; Esmil Rogers/Todd Redmond
Projected Starters: C Dioner Navarro; 1B Edwin Encarnacion; 2B Ryan Goins; SS Jose Reyes; 3B Brett Lawrie; LF Melky Cabrera; CF Colby Rasmus; RF Jose Bautista; DH Adam Lind
Projected Bench: C Josh Thole/Erik Kratz; INF Maicer Izturis; INF Brent Morel; OF Moises Sierra/Anthony Gose

Shi basically breaks down all the battles for you. He does have McGowan in the bullpen but it should be noted he will be stretched out as a starter in the beginning of camp. Not sure how wise an idea this is but he could very well end up in the number five slot in the rotation. It should also be noted that he went with the classic four man bench by giving some love to Brent Morel. The possibility of an eight man bullpen to start the year is quite high in our estimation. Especially if it means we have to carry a plug like Brent Morel as the guy who might play twice a week.
 
Courtesy of Gregor, here's a closer look at the full list of players attending camp:

Catchers: A.J. Jimenez, Mike Nickeas, Josh Thole, Dioner Navarro, Erik Kratz, Jack Murphy, Derrick Chung
Infielders: Jonathan Diaz, Maicer Izturis, Jose Reyes, Brent Morel, Edwin Encarnacion, Brett Lawrie, Dan Johnson, Ryan Goins, Steve Tolleson, Adam Lind, Jarad Goedert, Chris Getz, Adam LaRoche, Munenori Kawasaki, Andy Burns, Kevin Nolan
Outfielders: Anthony Gose, Kevin Pillar, Moises Sierra, Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, Ricardo Nanita, Kenny Wilson
Pitchers: Drabek, Santos, Morrow, Romero, Cecil, McGowan, Rogers, Jeffress, Nolin, Hutchison, Storey, Sanchez, Dickey, Janssen, Wagner, Perez, Happ, Delabar, Stilson, Stroman, Ohka, Buehrle, Perez, Redmond, Rasmussen, Loup, Jenkins, Walden, McGuire

Hope you can join us and play. Terribly sorry for the weekend deadline but we really have zero control over the reporting dates. Not sure what the team intends to do with all these pitchers and catchers on a Sunday but it probably involves a bunch of doctors and needles.

This picture isn't weird at all

2014-01-27

Interview with Sean Nolin


We are unloading the clip, so to speak, on the interviews from last year we had stored away for safe keeping. Below you will find one from a consensus top-10 prospect in your Toronto Blue Jays' (ridiculously totally somewhat) thinned-out farm system.

They say that in poker, timing is everything. This rock-solid interview was done on July 19, 2013, almost two full months after Sean Nolin was called up to the show. Our top minor league guru extraordinaire, Mr. Jay Floyd of PhoulBallz.com, Phillies Nation TV, the Shore Sports Network and other outlets wasn't shying away from the elephant in the room at all. "Jay Ballz", as he's nicknamed, asks the tough questions. Jay Ballz listens to the awkward responses. Jay Ballz takes it all in stride. 


In this latest masterpiece you will hear:
  • His motto: "wish high, think high" (just not with the fastball, okay, champ?)
  • How he was notified by a fan in the stands of his MLB promotion
  • How he has been trying to call his own games more often
  • What it's like to throw to top catching prospect A.J. Jimenez
  • Him defending the honour of our boy Jesse Goldberg-Strassler from his days in Lansing
  • How he grew up a Yankee fan and how there might be some added fire when he pitches against the dreaded Red Sox


If you skip ahead to the 2:06 mark you can actually hear what it's like to have your childhood dreams smashed/destroyed/lit on fire right before your very eyes.

Why the hell this guy was brought up to the Major Leagues only to be farmed out the very next day is still a mystery to us. One option burned for a whopping .001 days of MLB service time. We realize that things went south in a hurry last year in terms of arms, but this particular roster move still blows the mind. 


And not in a good way. 

Please don't think that we are down on what the future has in store for this player. We think that he could someday be a decent back-of-the-rotation type guy and he does throw a ball with his left hand. The tale of Sean Nolin's MLB debut and the soul-crushing aftermath should serve smartly as a cautionary warning to the brain trust the next time they think about rushing a young arm up to the show. 

It does appear your Toronto Blue Jays learned this lesson rather quickly since they slammed the breaks on bringing up Marcus Stroman in the garbage time of the season, known more formally in these parts as "September."

Interview with Jack Murphy


We've been sitting on this interview since May 1st of last year and it's classic Jay Floyd awesome. In the interview below we are quite sure you'll notice that Jack Murphy isn't your prototypical jock. He more than likely has a career as a coach or manager when he's done playing.



If you need some basic stats, click here. Be warned, it's not exactly pretty. He did have a big game in the finals of the Asia Series:
After you listen to the interview, you'll get the sense that Jack Murphy knows exactly what kind of player Jack Murphy is and he's totally cool with it. Classic org guy. The Blue Jays rewarded him for his loyalty with a taste of AAA at the end of the 2013 season. He then went back over to Australia again to play more winter ball. The picture from above is a shot from this off season courtesy of a local newspaper in the land down under.

He even found some free time while becoming a cult hero to enjoy himself!


2014-01-26

The 25 Man Roster Challenge is back!

The 5th annual 25 Man Roster Challenge is once again a thing. It`s really easy to play and you can win cool stuff!

All you have to do is pick your Toronto Blue Jays opening day roster. That`s it.

If you want to play you have 3 options on how to get your ballot in:

1: Send us an email: 1bluejaysway(at)gmail.com
2: Make a post on your blog, if you have one and send us a link
3: Add your ballot to the comments section of this post or the reminder post we will do

In the event of a tie, and it`s pretty much a given at this point there will be a tie, we ask that you also give us a prediction on what you think the spring training record will be. From what we can see it appears as though the boys of summer will attempt to play 30 spring training games this year. That total includes the 2 exhibition games against the Mets in the Big O but not the split squad game against the Canadian Junior National Team. Try not to forget that sometimes it rains in Florida and the games don`t generally get made up.

It is not a requirement that you select a tie breaker and all ballots containing 25 names will be considered valid. It`s just a really good idea that you choose one. Last year we had a stupid close finish and we actually had to break it right down to winning percentage.

The deadline for submitting your ballot this year is February 15th at midnight. Pitchers and catchers report the next day. We will do up a reminder post shortly before the deadline.

Some things to consider:

Your Toronto Blue Jays currently have 8 (yes 8!) players who are out of options on the 40 man roster and would therefore have to make the team or be sent through waivers before they could be demoted to the Minor Leagues.

Sergio Santos
Brett Cecil
Dustin McGowan
Esmil Rogers
Luis Perez
Jeremy Jeffress
Todd Redmond
Moises Sierra

We are not 100% sure if Josh Thole has an option left. We are working hard to confirm this. Once we have an answer we will update this post.

Another thing that might come into play is the make up of the roster. Most teams opt for the traditional 4 man bench but AA said on Prime Time (skip ahead to the 17:30 mark) early this month that they may have to go with an extra arm in the bullpen to start the year. It’s a somewhat unpopular move that totally limits the skipper’s ability to make changes that might affect the outcome of a close ballgame but could be necessary in order to keep an option-less live arm like Jeffress around. In the same interview he said that he could be active at the end of camp when other teams make decisions on their own players.

Looking over the 40 man roster as it currently stands we think the X factor this year is the mystery pitcher. There is a real chance that the top free agent pitchers will not be signed before camp begins.

It is possible that injuries play a part in this year’s roster challenge. Somebody always seems to go down near the end of camp. This throws the entire challenge into flux and a ballot that once looked like a longshot might not look so longshotish anymore. We appreciate it when people take a chance on a non-roster invitee or a player who at the start of camp isn’t in the organization.

Keep in mind no one in the 4 years we have been doing this exercise has ever gone 25 for 25. We'd like to see that change this year.

Prizes:

Unfortunately, last year`s winner did not want to part with the coveted Randy Knorr autographed 8 X 10. Fear not as we have been able to put together what we feel is a somewhat comparable prize list. The winner of this year`s roster challenge will receive a Upper Deck Cecil Fielder baseball card AND an autographed Rawlings baseball signed by former Blue Jay greats Brandon League and Gregg Zaun. Both prizes are yours to keep if you are victorious.

Behold!



Really hope you can join us and play this year. Good luck to all.

2013-10-11

#FANtasking Initiative by MLBAM Kicks Off Wireless Improvements at Parks

Thanks to the folks at Qualcomm for the heads up on a big initiative going on throughout all of Major League Baseball.  For everyone that's ever dealt with weak signals on his or her device at the ballpark, new and improved mobile experiences are coming soon!

With All-Star Brandon Phillips on board, helping to spread the word via social networking, the FANtasking has been rolled out and seems quite fun.  Check out the following details from a press release and find out how you could win tickets.


Baseball is a game steeped in history and tradition. Unfortunately for fans, the “tradition” of nose bleed seats is as old as the game itself. With its new FANtasking video feature, Qualcomm is making the impossible possible: turning the worst seats in the house into the very best.

Granted, hot dog piƱatas are likely not going to become all the rage at MLB stadiums, but one thing is clear, the future for fans is brighter than ever thanks to the efforts of Qualcomm and MLB to bring the future for fans into the palms of their hands…or more literally into their mobile devices.
The short video below brings this exciting future to life in some rather “unorthodox” ways that we thought you and your readers would truly appreciate.



(Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fquwqFGU_8U)
   
Qualcomm has teamed up with MLB Advanced Media and is “changing the game” for fans all across baseball by super charging the fan experience through their efforts to maximize mobile connectivity within MLB stadiums. Take me out to the ballgame, is becoming more and more, “take me INTO the ballgame” thanks to the role our mobile devices are playing in the fan experience. 

And speaking of enhancing the fan experience, Qualcomm’s 
FANtasking Photo contest is currently offering fans the chance to win a Samsung Galaxy S4 and a trip with tickets to Opening Day 2014 game of their favorite team (as long as you enter before 10/20/13)!