Florida impressions

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

Impressions of the first three weeks of spring training ...

The Boston Red Sox go 1-for-86 in the World Series and are as gracious as a schoolyard bully winning a tussle at recess.

The Blue Jays now want to model themselves after the Minnesota Twins, after three years of modelling themselves after the Oakland A's. What, we wonder, was wrong with the Blue Jays of 1985-1993?

Pedro Martinez is with the New York Mets. He made some National League enemies pitching high and tight with the Montreal Expos. Now, he'll have to step into the batter's box.

Robbie Alomar, the new second baseman for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, looked less than ordinary on the weekend. Predicted one scout: "If he retires now, he still makes the Hall of Fame. If he hangs on for two or three years he doesn't get elected."

The New York Yankees are blasted for not speaking up in support of Alex Rodriguez and bashing the Sox in reply to Boston's Jason Varitek, Trot Nixon and Matt Mantei (he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yanks' hated rivals in 2004). Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams are too classy to fire at the Sox.

Somewhere in the borough of the Bronx is a four-year-old who has never seen the Yanks win a World Series in his lifetime.

In the good news story of the spring Tom Cheek will be back at the microphone with Jerry Howarth on opening day.

Someone is going to give a positive test and he -- not Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds, or anyone else -- will be the new poster child in the steroid scandal. It will happen, for players think they never will get caught.

Many baseball people think Bonds was a Hall of Famer before steroids were banned.

Scouts in Arizona are raving about Markham catcher George Kottaras who is in the San Diego Padres organization. After playing for Danny Bleiwas and the Ontario Blue Jays and Connors State, Kottaras hit .310, with seven homers and 46 RBIs with single-A Fort Wayne in 2004.

Never before have we seen so many fans wearing the red, white and blue Montreal Expos caps from their early years.

Former Expos and Jays lefty Denis Boucher of Lachine, Que., will scout Canada for the Washington Nationals.

Former Jays manager Jim Fregosi has a treasured possession: A picture of the late Huey Alexander with two hands. Alexander played seven games with the Cleveland Indians in 1937 and lost his left hand in an oil rigging accident in Oklahoma in the off-season at age 20. He scouted for 61 years for the Indians, the Dodgers, the Phillies and the Cubs, dying in 2000. Spring training hasn't been the same since.

The Mets may be able to close with Braden Looper, but how do they get from Pedro (six innings max) Martinez, Tom Glavine and the rest to Looper? They have Felix Heredia, Roberto Hernandez, Mike DeJean and Scott Strickland, coming off Tommy John surgery, as their setup men.

STERN TO STICK WITH SOX

Two members of the Atlanta Braves staff don't expect to see Rule 5 outfielder Adam Stern of London, Ont., back. Stern was selected by the Red Sox and could take the spot of departed Dave Roberts as a backup outfielder.

And unlike the previous couple of spring visits to Disney World, we didn't get the impression that the Braves' string of National League East Division titles will end.


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