Welcome to a new era in Boston sports. Fans received two incredible gifts yesterday, as the Celtics introduced future Hall Of Famer Kevin Garnett to the press, and the Red Sox added former Cy Young winner Eric Gagne to an already impressive bullpen

It’s hard to argue with anything that Dan Shaughnessy has to say today, especially the last line: “There never has been a better time to be a sports fan in Boston.” Tony Massarotti agrees that Boston is now the top sports town in America, and rattles off the roster of pro athletes that we can boast here. He notes that it wasn’t all that long ago that Boston was being dubbed “loserville” (by Gerry Callahan).

Peter May has Garnett and the Celtics full of optimism…something that seemed laughable just last week. Mark Murphy has Garnett, Danny Ainge and Paul Pierce talking about what brought them together after things didn’t work out a month ago. Kevin McNamara looks at all that happened over the last month to make this new trio of Celtics All Stars possible. Scott Souza notes that watching the trio of Garnett, Pierce and Ray Allen together for the first time was a “goosebumps moment.” Bill Doyle says that the hope is that the New Big Three can bring back the glory days for the Celtics. Jessica Camerato looks at Christmas in July for the Celtics.

Julian Benbow looks at this deal as a dream come true for Paul Pierce. Steve Bulpett has Pierce talking about what the deal means to him. Desmond Conner looks at how Ray Allen and Garnett go way back, and that that was a big part of getting this deal done. Lenny Megliola says that maybe now the Celtics can get rid of all the sideshows at the Garden and just play basketball. David Willis looks at the deal putting the Celtics back into the spotlight and renewing hope for Celtics fans.

Bulpett also notes that the spotlight will now be on Doc Rivers to show that he can coach. May says that the Celtics owners deserve credit for going above and beyond in this case, as they will likely venture into luxury tax territory sometime in the near future. Conner notes that it is Now Or Never for the Celtics, who have traded away their future to obtain Garnett. Tim Weisberg has Paul Pierce getting exactly what he wanted, and says he now must deliver. Jim Fenton says that the deal puts the Celtics back on the map.

Murphy has Garnett glad to be here after realizing that the Timberwolves were going in a different direction than what he wanted. Shira Springer looks at the next order of business for Danny Ainge, namely filling out the roster. McNamara looks at a downside to the deal…having to part ways with Ryan Gomes, who Ainge praised as “one of the best people I’ve been around in 25 years of sports.” Michael Muldoon says that “the next few years had better be memorable” because there is going to be some ugly bills and a lack of talent to deal with afterwards. Jim Fenton says that trading away Al Jefferson may come back to bite the Celtics later. Massarotti has David Ortiz expressing his approval of the trade.

The Herald notebook has a look at some of the free agents out there that could fill the remaining roster spots for the Celtics. Weisberg’s notebook has Garnett realizing that there was no future for him in Minnesota.

Red Sox
Gordon Edes looks at the Red Sox landing Rangers closer and former Cy Young winning Eric Gagne yesterday. He also notes their inability to land another bat for the lineup, but says that could still happen. Sean McAdam says that this was the opposite of last year’s trade deadline. Michael Silverman has Gagne set to used in the set-up role for the Red Sox. Alex Speier has the Red Sox continuing to stockpile arms in their bullpen. Massarotti says that the team will now try to win with the best bullpen in baseball.

Jon Couture looks at Theo Epstein pulling the trigger on a difference-maker for the Red Sox. Daniel Malloy notes that Gagne’s flexibility in accepting a setup role to Jonathan Papelbon was key to this deal. Paul Jarvey looks at the huge boost Gagne can add to the Red Sox bullpen. Jeff Goldberg looks at the boost that Jonathan Papelbon gets from this deal.

Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox falling to the Orioles 5-3 at Fenway last night. Michael Silverman has more on the loss, which came despite two homers from David Ortiz. Dave O’Neil looks at Curt Schilling going seven scoreless inning in his third and final rehab start for Pawtucket. Ken Powtak looks at Big Papi perhaps getting back on track with two home runs last night. Powtak also looks at the addition of Gagne, which has Papi’s approval as well.

Benjamin’s notebook has Brendan Donnelly needing season ending Tommy John surgery. Silverman’s notebook has more on Donnelly. Couture’s notebook has more on Donnelly and also has a look at Ortiz’s (non)slump. Jarvey’s notebook looks at the arms that the Red Sox signing in the offseason for their bullpen not working out. Goldberg’s notebook has Ortiz reminding people last night that he can still hit for power.

Nick Cafardo reports from another night on the Barry Bonds watch.

Patriots
Just ran out of time this morning, plain and simple. Check out PatriotsLinks.com for all the local Patriots stories and blog entries.

We also got the first of our weekly features up on Patriots Daily, as Dan Snapp debuts the season’s first edition of Direct Snapp. Today he looks at why we can blame Deion Branch for Asante Samuel’s absence from camp.

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