And so it begins…

Is it really possible that a full year has elapsed already? The time, as they say, has flown by. Bob Ryan says that tonight isn’t game one, it’s really game eight, a continuum of an on-going series. Jeff Horrigan says that this matchup has been in the works all year. Dan Shaughnessy writes that this is the classic baseball rivalry, the year has been so eventful the characters so colorful that even ARod is almost afterthought at this point. David Borges examines the long awaited rematch. Tony Massarotti looks at the Sox new catch phrase – “Why not us?” David Heuschkel looks at the Red Sox pitching as an edge that they have in this series, including their pair of aces at the top of the rotation. Alex Speier says that that pitching is in fact the key to the series for the Red Sox.

Schilling is the focus for tonight’s game one, as he prepares to do something he’s done before, beat the Yankees in a postseason series. His ankle appears to be a concern to everyone except himself and the Red Sox. Bob Hohler looks at Schilling going into tonight. Stephen Harris also has Schilling expressing what he hopes to do at the stadium tonight, mainly make 55,000 fans be quiet. Steven Krasner has more on Schilling hoping to hush Yankee fans. Ron Chimelis writes that the Yankees will hope to wear down Schilling, but that he feels ready to the challenge. Steve Britt says that Schilling is a difference maker. Steve Conroy has a brief bit on the pitcher opposing Schilling tonight, Mike Mussina. Michael Silverman gives us five keys to beating the Yankees. Bill Reynolds tells us why the Red Sox WILL beat the Yankees. Sean McAdam and Gordon Edes breaks down the matchups for the series. Howard Bryant gives five keys to beating the Red Sox.

One of the many keys to the series is the two bullpens, and specifically the closers. Gordon Edes looks at how the series could come down to Mariano Rivera or Keith Foulke. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox have complete confidence in Foulke. Stephen Harris looks at the Sox bullpen as a whole, and the large role it could play. Michael Silverman writes that Rivera could rejoin the Yankees in time for tonight. Joe McDonald writes that if he doesn’t make it, the Yankees are prepared to go on for tonight without him. Howard Bryant (subscription only) writes that the Red Sox have plenty of experience against Rivera, and don’t really fear him the way most other teams do. They’ve beaten him before, and feel they can do it again. Could it be that the Red Sox view Rivera sort of the same way that the Yankees view Pedro?

Steve Buckley (subscription only) has John Henry revealing that Grady Little was gone after last season regardless of what happened in game 7. He says that even had the Sox won the World Series, Little would not have been back. Henry states that Little was not “on the same page as the rest of the organization”. Jackie MacMullan suggests reverse psychology as a way for Red Sox fans to get through this series. John Powers has a feature style article on the long rivalry between the teams. Steven Krasner looks at how the Red Sox and Yankees are opposites in nearly every way. Garry Brown says Mark Bellhorn could be an ALCS hero.

The ProJo notebook says Schilling’s ankle is responding well. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Jason Varitek, who hopes to break an 0-for-the-season slump at Yankee Stadium. Hohler’s notebook looks at the Sox adding former Yankee Ramiro Mendoza to their ALCS roster. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Mendoza. Chimelis’ notebook looks at the contrast in the teams. Borges’ notebook looks at the Sox going with 11 pitchers.

Karen Guregian looks at Joe Torre’s calming affect on his Yankees team. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at ARod earning his Pinstripes. Steven Krasner looks at the Yankees taking pride in their clean shaven and professional image. Steve Buckley looks at the depth of the Yankee lineup. Bob Halloran is on the Derek Jeter bandwagon, he compares him to Tom Brady. Stan Grossfeld catches up with Aaron Boone. McDonald’s notebook looks at Mike Mussina facing another test on the big stage. Guregian’s notebook says the Yankees will rally around Rivera. Dupont’s notebook says the status of Rivera is uncertain.

Kevin Mannix hands out his Patriots grades, including a “D” for Tom Brady. Nick Cafardo looks at a banged up Brady, who must be prepared to get blitzed and pressured more and more each week. Tom E Curran says that Brady and the Patriots passing game suffered from a decided lack of receivers on Sunday. Alan Greenberg says that despite having the unofficial record in hand, the Patriots aren’t about to let up. Mike Reiss previews a tough four game stretch coming up for the Patriots. Michael Parente looks at the Seahawks trying to move into the league’s elite. Christopher Price has a look at Christian Fauria preparing to meet his old team for the first time. Rich Thompson looks at the the challenge the Seahawks might pose for the Pats. George Kimball (subscription only) has a look at Corey Dillon, who missed the end of Sunday’s game with an apparent injury and didn’t get a chance at 100 yards, but isn’t unhappy about it. Today’s excerpt from Tales from the Patriots sideline” has the story of how the Patriots chose Clive Rush over Chuck Noll as head coach. Cafardo’s notebook has Josh Miller wondering what would happen if the Patriots found themselves short a placekicker as the Dolphins did on Sunday. Curran’s notebook has Bill Belichick holding off on the Hall of Fame induction for Vince Wilfork. Reiss’ notebook looks at stability on the offensive line.

The Celtics open up the preseason tonight in Manchester, NH. Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers acknowledging that not many people are likely to watch his team tonight. Shira Springer says that early reviews on Rivers from the players are positive. John Habib previews tonight for the people of Manchester.

Bill Griffith looks ahead to a huge day of Sunday programming for the Fox network in Boston.

Fox has Red Sox/Yankees game one at 8:00.