Baseball season officially begins today. The Yankees are in town. With the win over the Angels yesterday at Fenway, the Red Sox move into a first place tie with the Bronx Bombers. Bob Hohler uses the terms “How sweet” and “How delicious” to describe the win and the anticipation of the series with the Yankees. Jeff Horrigan says that yesterday’s Burkett/Lackey matchup was almost like an undercard for the big fight which starts tonight. Sean McAdam agrees, noting “the undercard is done.Time for the main event.” Jeff Goldberg points out that Burkett and Fossum were recently flip flopped in the rotation…likely because of Burkett’s historical struggles against the Yankees. Art Martone and Rich Thompson note that this time, Burkett was able to dodge those sixth inning woes that have plagued him in recent starts. Kevin Gray says it was a NH kid who Trot threw the ball to Saturday afternoon, keeping the Angels rally alive. Gerry Callahan is not letting Trot off the hook this morning on WEEI, Gerry is one of the few in the media here who will go after Trot. He got on him about his weight this spring, and he’s not this gaffe from the weekend slide. He’s noting the hypocrisy of people who won’t let things Manny does slide. John Dennis says a perfect comparison to Manny is Allen Iverson in Philadelphia. He’s held to a higher standard because he’s a superstar. I don’t see the connection at all, John. Karen Guregian has a newsflash…Roger Clemens should go into the hall of fame with a Red Sox, because you know, he got most of of his wins here, and played longer here. In a related story, Dan Shaughnessy tells us there is a long history between the Red Sox and Yankees. Keeping on the “masters of the obvious” theme, Michael Gee’s pay column is wholly devoted to telling us not to get excited, and that this series will not decide the season. You can’t win the pennant in May. Thompson also looks at Bill Mueller looking for his first taste of the Red Sox/Yankee rivalry. Gordon Edes gushes over Alfonso Soriano. Alex Speier, in his weekly notes column for the Metro, looks at Jose Contreras. first base problems for the Yankees and Rafael Palmeiro. Jack O’Connell looks at the Yankees eager to come up and play in Fenway. Hohler’s notebook looks at Person’s first save with the Sox. In McAdam’s notebook Person knows there is plenty of room for improvement. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the Giambi brothers getting their first chance to go head to head in the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry. The same theme is the first topic in Goldberg’s notebook.

Howard Bryant provides two pay columns today, the first one is a look at the Yankees struggles since their blistering 18-3 start. In the second column Bryant honors pioneering writer Sam Lacey, who died last week at the age of 99. Lacy, the first African American to be allowed into The Baseball Writers Association of America, started writing in 1934, and continued right through until last week. Bryant tells us:

Transcendent individuals always seem more relevant, more necessary in crucial times. And even in death, Lacy reappeared at the most opportune of moments. At a time when the news business seems to have lost its way, the contrast could not be clearer. Sam Lacy inserted himself into his work to advocate a position, which is a distant cry from the dynamic of today, where the mill of opinion is fed not out of advocacy for a position but of egocentricity and cheap entertainment.

He concludes the article with these thoughts

In Boston, the murky space between reporting and shock jock is the most pronounced in the nation, and in an unfortunate sense, it seems fitting that here would be the place where a venerable, respected presence would slip into the quicksand.

As much as Ryan's fall should serve to caution journalists about the increasingly blurry lines between celebrity and real journalism, between solid reporting and bombastic opinion, so too should the life of Lacy provide an eternal road map - and a reminder - that this business is at its best when the cause comes before the individual.

I was hoping that someone locally would write about Lacy, since there are so many baseball historians around town. My gut tells me that perhaps Bryant was hoping someone else would write the piece as well, and when no one did, he went ahead with it. I’ve no evidence for that, just a feeling. Bryant shouldn’t have had to step up and write this, though he is the best qualified to talk about Lacy. One of the so-called ‘baseball dudes” should’ve written about this earlier.

Other then the Red Sox, there isn’t a whole lot going on. Joe Thornton’s arrest over the weekend is the subject of a couple of articles. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the incident, in which the assault seems to consist of Joe pushing a couple officers who were arresting his brother. Tom Farmer says that a friend of Thornton’s backs his version of the story. What that version is, isn’t clear.

Alright, I’ll say it. Joe Thornton is arguably the best player in the NHL right now. Why isn’t this getting more attention here? If this was Manny, or Antoine Walker or Tom Brady, wouldn’t he be getting raked over the coals right now by the press? You can’t blame this just on the lack of popularity of Hockey. After all, Dan Shaughnessy did a feature article on Thornton for ESPN the magazine. Why isn’t there the rush to judgement to condemn Joe? Because the press likes him. The same way they like Trot. Am I asking for the media to go after Joe? NO. So those of you who think I’m sitting here complaining that the media is too hard on players and now complaining when they look the other way…I’m just pointing out the double standard.

This little nugget is from today’s Inside Track:

Yes, that was WEEI's afternoon host Glen Ordway breaking bread with the head of FOX Sports Net at Davio's the other day. Ordway is disgruntled over pay cuts his co-hosts got hit with last week and may be looking at other opportunities when his radio contract runs out.

NESN has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00 (ESPN2 nationally) ESPN has Senators/Devils at 7:00. TNT has Mavs/Spurs at 9:30.