DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Roy Halladay is gone and Toronto is auditioning starting pitchers.
And while you have to travel long distances to find anybody willing to pick the Blue Jays anywhere other than dead last in the AL East (I know, I've been traveling long distances here in Florida and have yet to find that person) ... well, maybe it's not quite as bad as it looks.
"In Kansas City, I feel they were forcing guys up a year or two before they were ready. They were rushing them, and it was tough to catch them.
"These guys are telling me why they like to do this and why they like to do that. They have a plan, and that's huge."
Nobody in camp has thrown 200 innings in a major-league season -- Romero's 178 last season is the high. Marcum has never made more than 25 big-league starts in a season. Morrow is still trying to catch up to the hype. Cecil needs to throw more strikes.
"Romero is somebody who stands out," Buck says. "You hear a lot about him. The way he works, the way he gets after his day. Some of the small stuff he does to get ready ... that probably relates to Halladay when he was here. The drive."
The Jays will miss Halladay tremendously. But if he left a few things behind -- such as his model work ethic for these guys to follow -- then maybe, for now, that's as good as Toronto can hope for.
Sunblock Day? And on the seventh -- eighth? -- day, the sun came out. Beautiful on Monday, sunny and 70 and yes, a sunblock day.
Likes: I still get a big kick -- too big, perhaps -- out of the fact that the Blue Jays' vice-president of communications is named Jay, Jay Stenhouse. Jay of the Jays. Perfect. ... Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson in Roy's for dinner Sunday evening in Tampa. Don't know what Reg was eating, but the seared and blackened Ahi was superb. ... The 2010 Baseball Prospectus will be in bookstores soon and, as usual, it's a must-read -- for executives, scouts, baseball writers and fans. You will not find more thorough scouting reports, and smarter analysis. ... Good to see Troy Glaus healthy in Atlanta's camp. He says he's feeling terrific and says the move to first base should be no big deal. ... When it's a bright, sunny day -- as Monday was (finally) -- there is no more spectacular sight in Florida than cruising over the Tampa Bay on the Sunshine Skyway, pretty blue and green water surrounding you for miles. ... Paul Schaffer's book We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives is a fun read. Some very entertaining behind-the-scenes stories from the Saturday Night Live, Blues Brothers and David Letterman days. Who knew the legendary Bob Dylan was a huge fan of Larry "Bud" Melman from the old Letterman show? You'll read this and other nuggets in this page-turner. ... Sandy Koufax actually taking the stage with Dodgers manager Joe Torre for a benefit for Torre's foundation Saturday night in Los Angeles, the two allowing themselves to be grilled by LA Times columnist T.J. Simers.
Dislikes: Anybody who knows me knows I love Bruce Springsteen and the E St. Band. And within that, I think Clarence Clemons can do no wrong. However ... oh my Lord, Clemens' "book" Big Man: Real Life and Tall Tales is unreadable. Just brutal. Here's the problem: He picked the wrong guy to write it. The New York Times reviewer nailed it when he wrote that ghost writer Don Reo "hijacked" the book. Reo keeps butting in with show biz stories of his own that he thinks are terrific and, apparently, Clemons does, too. But what they are is lame. Lame and unfunny. Nobody bought the book to read name-dropping and stories from Reo, a television writer who worked on such shows as M*A*S*H and Blossom. It is maddening. I picked up the book not expecting much over the winter, and it fell miraculously far below even my very low expectations.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"My allergies were bad so we moved to the desert to a city called Palm Springs
"We trick-or-treated at Liberace’s house
"Each finger had a diamond ring
"We met Elvis Presley in the middle of the summer
"He hugged my sister for far too long
"Well, it felt kinda weird, but I woulda pimped her out
"Just to hear him sing a song
"We talked Hollywood, and baseball in the car
"The voice of Jack Buck; It would travel really far"
-- Steve Poltz, Brief History of My Life