Quick afternoon links while trying to figure how to work in an evening nap. Mike Fine says that the Red Sox believe Pedro Martinez is going to be ready to take care of business tonight. Bob Stern looks at the Red Sox opening up the series with a bang. Bill Simmons was a little nervous during the game and will tell you that he is still a nervous wreck because of last year’s playoffs. Tom Caron’s mailbag tells us to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Fine looks at the mentality of the California fans. On the other hand, Peter DeMarco looks at Boston fans making the trek out west. Gordon Edes had an online chat this afternoon about the game last night and the rest of the series. I introduced a Steve Buckley column this morning by portraying that he was making a big deal about Pedro not showing up for the pregame press conference. Buckley dropped me a very pleasant note to clarify that he was more talking about Pedro not taking part in the pregame introductions. He stated that we laud the Patriots when they get introduced as a team, shouldn’t we perhaps question when a guy is a lone holdout during another pregame ceremony. I’m not sure I concur with everything he said, but I appreciate his input.

Eric McHugh notes that the Patriots are improving their third down efficiency, and actually becoming more of a clutch team. The headline of Mark Farinella’s column pretty much tells you all you need to know about it. “FARINELLA: Patriots taking the joy out of winning.” A couple people have asked about an apparent discrepancy between Mike Reiss and Nick Cafardo’s columns this morning about the Matt Light deal. Reiss said Light’s agent is Jim Steiner, while Cafardo stated it was Ben Dogra. The simple answer is that both agents work for SFX. Steiner is actually Light’s agent, but is currently out of the country. The way I hear it, Light really doesn’t want Dogra handling any of his business as the latter is something of a publicity seeker and the type of leaky “source” that certain writers love to talk to. (Where you do you think Nick got/gets his Damien Woody information from?)

Michael Muldoon looks at the impact Gary Payton could have on the Celtics.