It’s another opening day, and your Boston Red Sox enter the season as one of the more intriguing teams in baseball. Despite having won 95 games last year, and adding several key pieces, not many of the experts in the media give them much of a chance to win the division or even make the playoffs. Fan expectation is still just as high as ever. I’m high on them, being a believer that their improved pitching and defense is going to win them a lot of games this season.

The sexy team for many media people this season is Toronto. I just don’t see it. The Blue Jays are going to be a pretty good team, but I don’t see them making the huge leap that everyone is predicting this season. Glenn Ordway is the leading Blue Jay booster in the local media, which immediately sends up all sorts of red flags and suspicions in my mind. What’s his angle? He’s not basing this prediction solely on his vast baseball expertise, I can guarantee you that much.

Here’s some links from the major papers this morning: Red Sox Daily Links page.

Here are some stories from the smaller papers today:

Rob Bradford takes a look at an incident 12 years ago which helped shape Keith Foulke into who he is today. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox are idiots no more. He has a look at the off-season overhaul this team went through in changing their identity. Garry Brown says everything with the Red Sox starts with Curt Schilling. Joe Haggerty has a look at Coco Crisp, who has both the Red Sox and their fans excited. David Borges says that a lot of the Red Sox success this season will hinge on Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke.

You can check previews of this opening series with the Rangers with the Fort Worth Star Telegram and the Dallas Morning News.

A couple notes from the weekend:

It pains me to bring this up, but Bob Ryan had a major brain cramp when writing his Saturday article on the NCAA Final Four. He wrote a column about “Certified Wide-Bodies” in College basketball, listing out some of the most memorable ones from the last 20 years or so. He then tells us:

Now, if you're a fan of the genre, boy, do we have a game for you. Make sure you tune in at 6:07 tonight, when contemporary college basketball's two best Certified Wide-Bodies -- one you probably know and one you might not be as familiar with -- will be playing each other.

He then tells us about LSU’s Glen Davis and George Mason’s Jai Lewis. He tells us that :

The idea of an occasional low-post joust featuring Big Baby and Just Plain Big Jai is an intriguing thought.

Intriguing, yes. One problem. LSU and George Mason didn’t play each other Saturday night. Whoops.

This is a double-whammy. Ryan got the matchups confused and wrote the column under the wrong premise. Then he submitted the column, and no one caught the error. Editor Joe Sullivan has gone all-out with the NCAA hoops coverage, but whiffed on the biggest stage here. Details…details.

The second item is also in the Globe, and is frequent offender Ron Borges, who alleged in his NFL Sunday notes column that the Patriots engaged in unfair business practices with Stephen Neal’s new contract. He gets Texans GM Charley Casserly on the record to make the accusation that Neal’s free agency was nothing more than a show.

Mike Florio on ProFootballTalk.com (Scroll down to the entry for 12:03 PM on Sunday) addressed Borges’ issue, noting that “the article raises new questions regarding Borges’ objectivity when it comes to the Patriots.” He notes that:

For example, Borges doesn't mention that his own paper ran an AP item indicating that Neal had visited the Vikings and the Bills. Another article from Nick Cafardo of the Globe said that Neal also had visited the Dolphins. The fact that Hurst took Neal on three visits undermines Borges' implicit suggestion that Hurst wouldn't let Neal talk to other teams.

Borges also fails to mention that, if Casserly's version of the events is true, it means that Casserly has admitted to an attempt to negotiate directly with a player who is represented by an NFLPA-certified agent, which arguably violates Article VI, Section 1 of the CBA.

It is curious that Borges is making a big deal about this, when his own relationship with agent Brad Blank could be called into question, giving him an “unfair advantage” (Borges’ description of the Patriots situation with Neal) when it comes to getting stories about say, the full negotiations of David Givens.

NESN has Red Sox/Rangers at 2:00, and a repeat at 7:00. ESPN2 has Giants/Padres at 7:00 and A’s/Yankees at 10:00. CBS has the NCAA Championship at 9:00 with Florida taking on UCLA.

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