By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The Toronto Blue Jays opened their Spring Training season with a pair of exhibition games over the weekend, meeting the Atlanta Braves and the Yankees Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The launch of the pre-season naturally means the launch of many hopes and dreams for every team and their fans, dreams that often are crushed by the end of April.
We'll see what the season holds for the Blue Jays who have been to the American League Championship Series in back to back years.
We'll also see how successful the alteration to the intentional walk process is.
In an effort to speed up the game, the four-pitch intentional walk has been eliminated.
Now when a team wants to walk a player, all the manager has to do is signal the intent to the umpire and the batter will be immediately sent to first base.
Not that I'm a traditionalist, but by and large I liked the intentional walk.
Sure, I didn't like the process when a big hitter was intentionally walked repeatedly as a strategy to avoid him.
But I did like the tension and drama that was created by a 4 pitch intentional walk.
I liked the idea of the unforeseen potentially happening; a pitcher botching the throw, a catcher missing the toss, or a heads up base runner maybe catching the defensive team asleep.
And of course, the 4 pitch intentional walk always reminds me of the great climax scene in the movies where Coach Buttermaker signals for Kelly Leak to reach out and swing at the intentional wide pitch which results in utter chaos and nearly sees the Bad News Bears capture the North Valley Baseball League title.
I'm Fred Wallace