Lester Speaks

Red Sox rookie Jon Lester spoke with the media for the first time since it was revealed that the 22-year-old is suffering from a rare form of blood cancer. (Anaplastic large cell lymphoma.) He will be starting chemotherapy treatment at the Dana Farber Clinic on Friday. Tony Massarotti is awed that Lester was able to remain stoic and steady, as well as dignified while talking about his experience and situation. Gordon Edes says that the rookie is in good spirits as he gets set to begin his treatment. Ian Browne looks at Lester bravely taking on his fight with composure and confidence. Steven Krasner has Lester hoping to be able to talk and think about baseball come spring, but knows there is a load road to travel before then. Tom Yantz thinks that Lester appeared slightly pale during his appearance yesterday. Lenny Megliola notes that Lester will need some of the toughness he showed on the mound during this fight that he’ll have on his hands for the nest few months. Alex Speier has Lester adjusting to the diagnosis and preparing for the tough times ahead. Bill Ballou says that Lester will be looking to join a select group of major league players who have successfully fought off cancer to return to the majors. Joe Haggerty notes that Lester appeared to be “fighting back the flowing tears of confusion, fear and uncertainty” while revealing to us a lot about his character.

The Red Sox did play a game last night, though it was over quickly, as they were trounced by the White Sox 8-1 at Fenway Park. Jose Contreras was dominant for Chicago. Coco Crisp scored the only Boston run on a solo home run. Gordon Edes reports on Marlins rookie and former Red Sox prospect Anibal Sanchez pitching the first no-hitter in the majors since 2004. Jackie MacMullan looks at how this season has worn on Terry Francona, and how his coaches fret over his health. Steve Buckley does his best SNL “old man” imitation, saying that in the old days, the booing was much more harsh than anything these young whippersnappers of today could ever imagine in their worst dreams. That’s the way it was and we LIKED it…Bill Reynolds, with an outstanding grasp of the obvious, tells us that this team isn’t nearly as good at the 2004 Red Sox.

Get the rest of the Red Sox stories, including coverage of last night’s loss, over on the Red Sox Daily Links page.

Patriots/NFL

The NFL kicks off the regular season tonight with a matchup between the Steelers and Dolphins. The Globe has an NFL preview today, with several articles focusing on the kicking game in the NFL.

Mike Reiss looks at the Patriots efforts to transform themselves from an old team into a younger team – all while remaining a contender. He notes that the current roster now has an average age of 27 years. He also looks position-by-position through the roster.

These kicking articles in the Globe, while all very good, just seem to me just a little bit of a swipe against the Patriots for losing Adam Vinatieri. Obviously there is a connection…had Vinatieri not gone to the Colts, would all these articles be in here today? I doubt it. I don’t know…just a little weird to me.

Ron Borges has a feature on the history and evolution of the kicking game in the NFL. This is Borges at his best…no Patriots or Belichick mentions or agenda…just pure football. Dearly departed (to Houston) Jerome Solomon offers up an article on how the best kickers (such as Vinatieri) handle the pressure of clutch kicks. Jackie MacMullan looks at how Vinatieri is adjusting to his new surroundings with the Colts, while Reiss looks at the Patriots rookie kicker Stephen Gostkowski adjusting to life in the NFL.

The Herald has a more complete Patriots preview. Articles include Michael Felger wondering (shrieking?) if the new-look Patriots are any good. There is a John Tomase article on Richard Seymour. Karen Guregian has Brady giving a thumbs up to his receivers.

Tim Weisberg has 10 NFL questions from around the league. Christopher Price looks at the Patriots prepping for opening day. Ian Clark says that the strength of the Patriots begins up front. Michael Parente has Ben Watson poised for a breakout season. Alan Greenberg has a look at rookie Ryan O’Callaghan. Lenny Megliola looks at Doug Flutie being honored with a Wheaties Box. Check out more Patriots articles and blogs on the Patriots Daily Links page.

Bill Doyle has a nice piece on the venerable Gil Santos, who started calling Patriots game from a shack atop Fenway Park back in 1966. Reiss looks at NBC, proud to be back with the NFL.

Coming soon…WEEI Ringtones? God help us all.

NBC has Steelers/Dolphins at 8:30. ESPN2 has Tigers/Twins at 8:00.

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