It may not feel like it, but spring is here. The Red Sox are set to open Fenway Park for the first time this season today. Interestingly, the Herald has about three times as many full articles on the Red Sox in the sports section as the Globe has.
Gordon Edes has a feature on Red Sox closer (was he ever anything but?) Jonathan Papelbon, who we realize more and more as time goes by, was really made for the role of lights-out closer. Gerry Callahan says that it is the smell of fear in the hitters, the thrill of the kill that fuels Papelbon in the closer’s role. Jeff Goldberg has Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hideki Okajima looking forward to their Fenway Park debuts this week.
Tony Massarotti has Theo Epstein very aware of the pressure and scrutiny that surrounds him as GM of the Red Sox. Steve Buckley has Terry Francona trying to keep the difficult balance of looking out for his players as well as himself, all while managing in Boston. Karen Guregian has Daisuke Matsuzaka handling his fame and hoping to fit in here in Boston. Garry Brown has more on Matsuzaka mania.
Michael Silverman looks at the offseason investments in J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo. Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox optimistic about this season despite coming off a .500 opening week. Massarotti notes that once again the Red Sox are facing a relief gap. Horrigan says that today’s starting pitcher, Josh Beckett, still has plenty to prove with the Red Sox in 2007. Alex Speier says that a big year looms for Beckett.
Dan Shaughnessy has Carl Yastrzemski talking about how different things were around Fenway and the Red Sox prior to 1967. Buckley talks to 1967 rookie pitcher Billy Rohr, who will be back at Fenway today as a tribute to that year’s Impossible Dream team. He also has Rohr giving a little advice to Matsuzaka. M. Charles Bakst of the ProJo was at Yankee Stadium for the near no-hitter by Rohr and remembers the day. Lenny Megliola says that opening day is a spring tradition in Boston, and makes some ovation predictions. Joe Haggerty also has a look at the tribute to the 1967 squad.
Alex Speier notes that the 2007 Red Sox will honor the 1967 Red Sox, but are nothing like that magical squad. Joe McDonald has several members of the 1967 team getting ready for today’s ceremonies. Jennifer Toland notes that after a late (and lingering) winter, Red Sox fans are ready to get back to Fenway Park.
Amalie Benjamin takes a look at some of the change around Fenway for the 2007 season. Featured is the new seating section in Conigliaro’s Corner, where tickets are sold for $25 apiece and only available on the day of the game, and for immediate entrance.
The Globe notebook has J.D. Drew getting off to a terrific start with the Red Sox and looking forward to getting settled in Boston. Horrigan’s notebook has the Red Sox bringing in J.D. Durbin for a look after claiming him off waivers from Arizona. Durbin was once a top prospect, who dubbed himself “the real deal.” McDonald’s notebook also looks at the claim of Durbin.
Mike Reiss first reported last night that the Patriots will match the Denver Broncos offer to punter Todd Sauerbrun. He also reports that they’re talking to free agent defensive back Tory James. John Tomase has a good look at some misconceptions and realities of the Patriots draft philosophy, based on the seven drafts under the Belichick era. Shalise Manza Young says that defensive back will be a priority for the Patriots in the draft. Albert Breer has more on Sauerbrun staying put with the Patriots, as well as a few other team notes.
Christopher L. Gasper has the Celtics going without Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson, and Delonte West as they hit Atlanta tonight. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics and tonight’s foe both limping to the finish line of the season. Kevin McNamara has a look at the op prospects for the NBA draft this June. Mike Petraglia says that the Celtics young players back Doc Rivers and want him back.
Steve Conroy says there weren’t too many positives to take away from this Bruins season. Stephen Harris has Peter Chiarelli trying to point out the positives. Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins leaving the Garden for the final time this season and pondering the future. Douglas Flynn has GM Chiarelli defending his team as a work in progress. Bud Barth says that there will be select changes made to next year’s Bruins club. Mick Colageo notes that there isn’t room to make too many changes, with only six free agents on the roster, and none of them key players. Mike Loftus says that the Bruins were a bit too soft in some areas. Shinzawa’s notebook has Tim Thomas able to establish himself as a starting goaltender in the NHL this season.