For Red Sox fans convinced that this team is going to be good this season, yesterday’s 7-3 opening day win provided much validation for them. The received a strong starting effort from Curt Schilling, timely hitting including home runs from David Ortiz and Mike Lowell and some good defense with Manny Ramirez and Coco Crisp making nice catches in the outfield. In fact aside from a shaky ninth inning from Keith Foulke, this was just about a perfect way to start the season. Chris Snow looks at Curt Schilling and the Red Sox starting the season off in fine fashion. Sean McAdam has Schilling saying that he’s feels as good as he has since 2002, and it showed in his performance. Jeff Horrigan says that with all the changes to the roster this offseason, it was a pair of holdovers in Curt Schilling and David Ortiz that led the Red Sox to their first win of the season. David Heuschkel has a look at Schilling making a statement with his performance yesterday. Bill Ballou writes that the Red Sox came close to playing a perfect game yesterday.

Dan Shaughnessy says that the Red Sox are happy to see the return of their ace in Schilling. Tony Massarotti notes that Schilling pitched as a true number one, and used his number one weapon of old…the blazing fastball. David Borges reports on Schilling shining in his opening day outing. Jon Couture observes that things couldn’t have started much better for the Red Sox.

Gordon Edes says that despite not getting that new contract extension yet, David Ortiz is ready to get to work on the 2006 season. Michael Silverman also looks at Ortiz, who “resumed his unchallenged claim to being the best left-handed slugger in the American League” with his opening day performance. Edes also looks at the debut of Coco Crisp, who displayed some fine form in the outfield. Massarotti says that Crisp’s speed was on full display yesterday and responsible for the sparkling moments he had in the opener. Massarotti also has a quick look at Mark Loretta, who appeared right at home in the second slot in the batting order.

Silverman has a look at Roger Clemens stopping by for a chat with the Red Sox, and the possibility of a reunion with his old club. Shaughnessy also looks at Clemens’ visit to the Red Sox clubhouse and his meeting with the media. McAdam says that Clemens in right now only taking pitches from the Red Sox and other clubs, not making them. Borges has more on the meeting with Clemens, who insisted that retirement is on his mind, but admitted interest in the Red Sox situation. Ballou says that Clemens doesn’t seem in a hurry to return to baseball, and is enjoying the life he has at the moment.

Horrigan’s notebook looks at Keith Foulke, who isn’t too upset over his outing yesterday, blaming the struggles on control issues. Snow’s notebook has more on Foulke’s ninth inning struggles. McAdam’s notebook says that a home run for Mike Lowell made it a perfect opening day debut for the Red Sox new third baseman. Heuschkel’s notebook contrasts the outings of Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon. Borges’ notebook has more on Papelbon, who threw heat in his debut yesterday after getting the chance to meet his idol, Clemens, on Sunday night. Ballou’s notebook looks at the debut of Crisp, who was spectacular in the field, but a little less so at the plate.

The Patriots took a little dip in the free agent waters yesterday, signing former Kansas City cornerback Eric Warfield to a deal. Jerome Solomon has a look at the signing, which adds depth to the Patriots secondary. John Tomase and Tom E Curran also each have short reports on the addition of Warfield to the Patriots. Curran’s draft card today looks at Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass.

Mark Blaudschun, Matt Eagan and Mark Murphy look at Florida knocking off UCLA 73-57 to win the men’s NCAA basketball championship. Bob Ryan says that Joakim Noah used this NCAA tournament to “make perhaps the biggest leap in NBA esteem ever.” Blaudschun’s notebook says that the tournament was great, but the final lacked drama. Murphy’s notebook has Florida coach Billy Donovan lauding the defense of UCLA.

Ryan also has a profile of Dave Gavitt, a huge figure in New England basketball, who was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame this week.

Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett report on Doc Rivers pondering putting Kendrick Perkins in the starting lineup to see how he plays together with Ryan Gomes.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has a look at 20-year-old Patrice Bergeron, who despite the rough season the Bruins have had, remains optimistic for the future. Steve Conroy looks at Tom Fitzgerald, who is not yet ready to hang up his skates.

Mike Reiss has a sports media column looking at ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA Womens Final Four here in Boston. He spent an evening in their production truck watching the broadcast come together.

FSN has Celtics/Raptors at 7:00. CN8 has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:30. NESN has Red Sox/Rangers at 8:00. ESPN has the NCAA Women’s Championship with Duke/Maryland at 8:30.

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