Here we are again, another Red Sox opening day with a sense of renewed optimism surrounding this years edition of the Boston nine.
Gordon Edes has David Ortiz getting ready for another year as the Red Sox main man in the lineup. Kevin Gray says that it is a good thing the season is finally here, because the offseason was getting ridiculous, even by Red Sox standards. Bill Ballou has the Red Sox opening their season by returning to the scene where their 2006 season began to fall apart. Jon Couture says there is just something about opening day.
Dan Shaughnessy has the Red Sox coming off one of their most active offseasons into a new year of anticipation. Sean McAdam says that this Red Sox club is improved, but not perfect. He lists out five questions that need to be answered about the club. Jeff Goldberg says that the bridge to closer Jonathan Papelbon is the biggest question facing the 2007 Red Sox. Rob Bradford has Josh Beckett trying to find a comfort zone as he starts his second season with the Red Sox.
Michael Silverman’s notebook has Francona optimistic heading into the opening game of the season. Nick Cafardo’s notebook has the Red Sox early schedule giving them a chance to jump out to an early lead on the AL East.
If you missed it from yesterday, Amalie Benjamin had an extensive Q&A with Red Sox owner John Henry.
The Boston Metro has a mini Red Sox preview today as well. Joe Haggerty has the retooled Red Sox ready for opening day. Alex Speier says that the bullpen is still a work in progress. He also has Dustin Pedroia attempting to disprove his doubters, looks at the Red Sox trio of talented starting pitchers. Haggerty helps us to meet the new guys.
Boston Herald Red Sox Preview
Michael Silverman notes that Red Sox fans and their new favorite, Daisuke Matsuzaka are both still in the process of learning one another, something that will continue throughout the season. Horrigan says that the most vital investment made by the team in the process of obtaining Matsuzaka was establishing good will towards the Red Sox in the far east, where the club’s reputation had been sullied in the past. Karen Guregian says that Matsuzaka has the same type of must-see viewing appeal to him that Pedro Martinez possessed. Tony Massarotti says that because of Matsuzaka, the Red Sox are now much more than a regional obsession, they are now an “international phenomenon.” Silverman notes that while the club is hoping to recoup on their huge investment in Matsuzaka, three forces are working against the Red Sox in their efforts.
Silverman looks ahead to what the J.D. Drew Era will actually be like here in Boston. Tomase has Julio Lugo hoping to add stability to the Red Sox shortstop position, where that spot has been a revolving door the last four seasons. Steve Buckley says that rookie second basemen, such as Dustin Pedroia, aren’t such a rarity in Red Sox history.
John Tomase says Curt Schilling enters the 2007 season with absolutely nothing to prove, yet everything to prove. Steve Buckley says that with a pair of strong seasons to close his career, Schilling is looking at the Baseball Hall of Fame, and we should enjoy that time that we have him here. Silverman says that Schilling’s blog has gotten plenty of attention this spring, but that the team needs Schilling to have ace stuff on the mound this year, and that is where the focus should be.
Massarotti tries to explain exactly what Big Papi David Ortiz means to Red Sox, and even all of baseball. Gerry Callahan tells Red Sox fans to enjoy Manny Ramirez while you still have him, because after next season he’ll certainly be gone. Karen Guregian has Coco Crisp hoping to bounce back strong from a rough first season in Boston. Massarotti has Terry Francona entering his fourth season at the helm of the Red Sox, and gaining stature and confidence with each year.
Horrigan writes that while closer was a question heading into camp Jonathan Papelbon appears to be the answer. He also writes that simply putting Papelbon at the end of the ‘pen gives the Red Sox the deepest and most consistent bullpen they’ve had in the Theo Epstein Era. Massarotti says that there is a plan in place for using the bullpen, even if Francona hasn’t revealed it yet.
Massarotti says that the Red Sox have become more like the Yankees than any Boston fan would care to admit, but that it isn’t a bad thing at all. Horrigan has a quick five things that have to happen for the Red Sox to win their second world title in four years.
The Celtics continue to play spoiler, both to other teams, and to their own chances in the draft lottery. Yesterday the suffering a heartbreaking win, as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-96 at the Garden. The Celtics now sit just 2 1/2 games behind (ahead of?) Milwaukee for the second worst record in the league. Gerald Green led the Celtics with 25 points, while Al Jefferson had 24.
Scott Souza notes that an anticipated LeBron James/Paul Pierce matchup never happened as both stars sat this one out. Steve Bulpett has Atlanta and Milwaukee both headed for the deep end of the tank, as the Celtics continue to win and make things tight. Shalise Manza Young has the refs practically giving this one to the Celtics as Delonte West had two free throws with the score tied and less than two seconds left after a phantom foul. Shira Springer‘s game story/notebook has more on the night at the Garden.
Souza had a good feature on Rajon Rondo in Saturday’s MetroWest. Tim Weisberg looks at Pierce hurting both physically and mentally as this season winds down. Bulpett’s notebook has more on Pierce and LeBron taking a pass on this game. Young’s notebook has Ryan Gomes getting his first start in five weeks for the Celtics yesterday.
Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback reports that the Patriots/Seahawks preseason game in China has been called off. WEEI’s Big Show will need new fodder for the next four months. Mike Reiss and John Tomase report on the story locally.
Stephen Harris and Fluto Shinzawa report on the Bruins 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils yesterday. Harris’ notebook has Tim Thomas poking fun at another embarrassing moment at his own expense at Continental Airlines Arena.
It is Florida and Ohio State for the NCAA basketball championship tonight – a rematch of the football national championship game. Bob Ryan and Mark Murphy look at Ohio State’s dynamic freshman duo of Mike Conley Jr. and Greg Oden. Mark Blaudschun has Florida trying to make some history tonight by being the first school to repeat as national champs since 1992.