I think baseball season is upon us. With no more Patriots, and the winter teams struggling, New England is buried in snow, and talk of the Red Sox is heating up. Howard Bryant makes his feature debut at the Herald (he’s written a few Patriot sidebars for them in recent weeks) with the first of the three part series on the Red Sox management. The first part looks at the hiring of Theo Epstein, and the personality of Larry Lucchino. Bob Hohler and Gordon Edes report on the Red Sox breaking an “informal code” by claiming Kevin Millar despite the Marlins having sold him to a team in Japan. Their article also has details on which Tony Massarotti reports; that the Yankees have succeeded in keeping Bartolo Colon away from the Red Sox, as they have engineered a three way deal in which Colon will end up with the White Sox. Edes and Hohler seem to have inside information on the Millar situation as only they report that it looks promising that the Red Sox will end up with him. They even have Benny Agbayani pegged as the guy the Red Sox will compensate the Japanese team with. The other articles look negatively at the situation. David Heuschkel reports on the Sox claim of Millar, is uncertain they can get him, and is out of the loop on the Colon deal. Art Martone doesn’t think the Red Sox have much of a chance at all of getting Millar to play for them. Martone, it appears is of the opinion that the young GM looks a little foolish in this episode. Michael Silverman doesn’t give them much of a shot, either. John Tomase looks at the Red Sox supposedly barren minor league system, and digs out four possible gems.

Michael Felger provides the first NFL draft article of the offseason. He gives some names that the Patriots might be interested in. The Genius is loving the NFL playoffs, Ron Borges’ favorite team, the Oakland Raiders pushes forward. He counts their age and experience as positives. They (and he) still can’t let an article go by without a shot at the Patriots though. “Last year we felt like we were a better team than New England. We still feel we were the better team.” Michael Gee says to cut the referees some slack. Felger also has a look at former Patriot punter Lee Johnson, still kicking (and thriving) in Philadelphia.

Mark Murphy writes about how Texas, where everything is bigger, has exposed the Celtics fatal weaknesses. Shira Springer writes that the trip was good for some midseason evaluation, and what they could use as trade bait to secure reinforcements.

Steve Conroy reports that Joe Thornton hopes to hit. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that young goalie Andrew Raycroft is ready to get thrown into the fray. Russ Conway doesn’t like the value that the Bruins got for Grahame and Defoe. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook also reports on Thornton and has news of a couple callups from Providence.

Bob Ryan discusses the gaps between “athletic” and “academic” colleges and opines that the system that throws them all under one umbrella, the NCAA, doesn’t make any sense. Had anyone else wrote this, I doubt I would’ve read it. ESPN has a page reporting on the Will McDonough tribute at the Fleet center. So did Bill Parcells attend, or not? I don’t think he did, perhaps he’ll come to the actual funeral. I think it’s been put out there that it would be “too difficult” emotionally for Parcells to come. Bill Belichick was there yesterday, and we know how the media loves to paint him as an unfeeling monster. If Parcells doesn’t show, it speaks volumes about him as a human. Show up, Bill.

FSNE has Celtics/Hawks at 7:00. NESN has Bruins/Panthers at 7:30. ESPN has Kings/Mavs at 9:00. ESPN Classic will have an NFL Films special remembering Foxboro stadium at 7:00.

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