And so it begins…

Are you ready for possibly one of the great sports weekends of all time? The weather is supposed to be great and yet people who have significant others who are sports fans are going to have a hard time getting them out of the house. The latest chapter in the Red Sox/Yankees saga is this weekend. The Yankees come into Fenway Park for a three game series up one game, with the division on the line.

Respectfully, perhaps Steven Krasner and Bill Ballou might want to give David Ortiz a little more consideration for the MVP award than perhaps they have to this point. Of course, there’s no doubt that this weekend will go a long way towards deciding the award, but the two writers might want to give a second thought to the theory that just because the offensive stats are similar, Ortiz should lose points because of his role as a DH. They, and many others seem fixated with Ortiz being a DH, so much so that they are blinded to just how Valuable this guy is in comparison to A-Rod. Ortiz did it again last night, not once, but TWICE. tying the game in the eighth with a solo home run and singling in the winning run in the ninth.

Chris Snow analyzes the win, which kept the Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East. Jeff Horrigan also looks at Ortiz, who helped keep the Red Sox from falling two games back of the Yankees with three to play. The aforementioned Steven Krasner calls it “another MVP moment for Ortiz. Hmmm. David Heuschkel notes that it was more that just Ortiz in this one. Manny Ramirez brought the Red Sox to within one with a two run homer earlier in the game. David Borges says that the Ortiz heroics setting up this weekends series with the Yankees seemed inevitable. Joe Haggerty examines a game rich with indelible moments.

Gordon Edes has more on Ortiz, who continues to hold the Red Sox playoffs hopes in his arms. Jim Donaldson looks at Ortiz solidifying his case for MVP. Jim, you might want to have a chat with your colleague there…the one holding the MVP vote…Jeff Jacobs has more on Big Papi answering the MVP call. Steve Buckley has Ortiz dispensing some advice to his pitching staff for the Yankees series. Tony Massarotti notes that we still have no idea how this season is going to turn out, and might not know for three, four or five days still. Horrigan looks at Manny setting a tone with his home run last night. Rich Thompson and Tony Chamberlain each report on Jonathan Papelbon, who was another hero last night with 2 2/3 innings of dominating relief, invoking comparisons to Roger Clemens from some corners. Jon Couture outlines 10 moments to remember from this season which helped get us to where we sit today. Thompson has a brief bit on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton on special order from the Nationals. Horrigan looks at Lenny DiNardo improving his stock with the Red Sox.

Lenny Megliola says that we got what we wanted and wished for…a season ending Yankees/Red Sox series for all the marbles. Alex Speier previews yet another huge Red Sox/Yankees series, one that could even see a bonus game added. Jeff Goldberg looks at the media crush that will be around for this weekend series. Expect no surprises from Dan Shaughnessy. Red Sox/Yankees is also the topic of a Globe Editorial. Tony Chamberlain has Curt Schilling saying that he knew that things would come down to this final series. Jon Couture agrees with Johnny Damon that Red Sox/Yankees must be part of the divine plan. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that this is a fitting end to the season. He notes that some take issue with how MLB devised their schedule, but says they really only screwed up in having the Red Sox and Yankees start the season against each other. In the Projo, Elizabeth Gudrais looks at a Red Sox fan in New York, and Mark Arsenault looks at a Yankees fan in New England. Suzanne Smalley reports on the police reinforcements which will be sent to Fenway for the games.

Heuschkel’s notebook has Kevin Millar denying that he was the one who took verbal shots at Curt Schilling. Borges’ notebook has more on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton for the weekend series against the Yankees. Garry Brown’s notebook has more on Stanton’s return, as does Snow’s notebook, which has a good number of other items as well. Krasner’s notebook looks at Jonathan Papelbon continuing to show his star potential. Horrigan’s notebook examines another poor outing for Matt Clement, who will work out of the bullpen this weekend.

The New York papers are also chock full of Red Sox/Yankees stories and coverage. Get the stories over at the New York Sports News page.

Karen Guregian speculates this morning that Tedy Bruschi might be thinking about coming back sooner than anticipated. She asked him about it, and believes it to be of interest that instead of denying it, he issued a “no comment” statement. Jessica Heslam in the Herald briefly talks to a couple of doctors about the possibility of a return to NFL play for Bruschi. Jerome Solomon has a good piece this morning on Guss Scott, who will be counted on to take a lot of the load at safety in the absence of Rodney Harrison. Just don’t compare him to Harrison, physically or verbally. Alan Greenberg and Chris Kennedy each have articles on Patrick Pass, who will also see an increased role on the field with the absence of Kevin Faulk. More and more, Pass has become a guy that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have confidence in, and perhaps the best thing that ever happened to him was getting released back in 2003. Michael Parente has a look at Amos Zereoue, who is cramming and getting prepared to get on the field for the Patriots.

Albert Breer says that Marty Schottenheimer knows that no matter how many injuries that the Patriots have, they’re going to come to play on Sunday. Ian M Clark has a look at the injuries that just keep piling up for the Patriots and how they’re addressing them. Eric McHugh notes that perhaps the Patriots gave Tom Brady so much time off during camp because they knew he was going to be throwing the ball so much early in the season. Those panic discussions from the like of Gary Tanguay seem pretty silly at this point, don’t they? Guregian looks at how Doug Flutie might help out the Patriots this week with his knowledge of the San Diego offense. Interesting observation in there that Flutie has played with both Walter Payton and LaDainian Tomlinson. That’s pretty amazing, actually.

Tom E Curran says that this Chargers offense is the very best that the Patriots will see in the first half of the season. Christopher Price also looks at the Chargers weapons on offense and discusses what might be the best ways for the Patriots to attack them. Solomon’s notebook and Kennedy’s notebook each have Zereoue’s former teammates in Pittsburgh giving him a hard time for deciding to sign with the Patriots. Guregian’s notebook has more on Zereoue coming to New England and getting up to speed on the playbook. Curran’s notebook also looks at Zereoue, and how he’s holding Kevin Faulk’s place for him while he heals up.

Jim Lazar and Jim McCabe each make their NFL picks. In the Herald, Double D and I.M. Bettor also make their selections and place their money for the weekend’s pro action. Patrick Hanrahan has his Fantasy advice for the weekend. The Globe tells you Who’s hot and Who’s not.

Check out coverage from San Diego on the Union-Tribune Sports page. Included is a piece on long-time Charger Rodney Harrison and if he is a Hall of Fame Candidate. Included are comments from Harrison this week on his injury and future.

Shira Springer continues to warm up for the beginning of Celtics training camp with an interview with captain Paul Pierce, who makes it clear he wants to stay in Boston, for good. Keep checking back with the BSMW Full Court Press, as more training camp previews are posted. Yesterday, the centers were examined. Celtics Blog also has a look at Pierce as the season nears.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Douglas Flynn each report on Sergei Samsonov as the speedy winger went through a full practice yesterday. Flynn also reports on Jonathan Girard being sent down to Providence, which is also covered by Joe McDonald and in Burrell’s notebook.

Check out Scott’s Shots which features an extensive interview with Bill Simmons as the ESPN Page2 columnist and former Boston Sports Guy weighs in on how he got to where he is, what held him back in Boston, and what the future holds. Bill Griffith looks ahead to a huge sports weekend, featuring wall-to-wall Red Sox coverage. Jim Baker also looks ahead to the weekend of Red Sox, Patriots and college football viewing. Andrew Neff examines why some Maine residents had to wait a while to get their Patriots/Steelers broadcast from CBS last Sunday.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally) ESPN2 has Pitt/Rutgers at 8:00.

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