Has this been the longest offseason ever? It sure feels that way, but in a sense, it also feels like the Red Sox never went away. They were a topic all winter long – even more than usual.

Now, finally, they can actually begin playing games that count, and hopefully focus can shift more to the action on the field, rather than off of it. Good luck with that, I know.

Long winter makes baseball’s return that much sweeter – Jon Couture says that baseball is for fresh starts, and this team desperately needs one.

Reasons aplenty to expect no title for Red Sox – On the other hand, Dan Shaughnessy accurately sums up what many people feel about the Red Sox heading into the 2012 season.

Shockingly, I tend to be more of an optimist, and see that this team does have the talent to contend. Whether they can put it together and stay healthy is anyone’s guess.

Sox season begins under much uncertainty – Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox will not be able to ease into this season.

25 Red Sox, 25 Questions: Predicting the performances of the ’12 team – WEEI.com and their staff of writers look at every player on the roster.

GM Ben ready to ‘sit back and watch’ – Gordon Edes has the Red Sox GM eager to see how his team performs.

Meanwhile, out in Chicago, here is the cover of the Sun-Times:

No pressure there.

Good start crucial to put nightmare of 2011 to bed – I think Tim Britton is saying that it is OK to overreact if the Red Sox lose this afternoon.

Transcending The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry – Kids with cancer can make even the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry melt, as Heather Murphy in the Hartford Courantexperienced.

Trust exercise – Eric Avidon says that the first order of business for the Red Sox has to be regaining the trust of the fans.

Bobby Valentine plays down NY chats – Steve Buckley has the Red Sox manager talking about his weekly gig on NY radio.

Raising hell with Sox bats – John Tomase says that the team will need to rely on their offense to overcome their shaky pitching.

Alfredo Aceves to close deal – Scott Lauber looks at the call to make the former Yankee the new closer. Nick Cafardo meanwhile, is not happy with the choice. He says Daniel Bard would’ve been the “common sense” choice.

One bump can’t stop Boston – Peter May says that despite the one-point loss to the Spurs last night, the Celtics feel good about where they are.

Meet your new sixth man: Avery Bradley – Paul Flannery looks at Bradley’s 19 points off the bench last night and sees a terrific sixth man. Steve Bulpett has more on Bradley, who earned praise from Gregg Popovich for his play.



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