February 10, 2004

High Hopes. Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to Fort Myers February 20; the full squad is due four days later. Terry Francona will greet a squad of only 52 players, since Theo Epstein feels there are few jobs to be won on the 25-man roster. ... There's optimistic and then there's optimistic. I'm looking forward to this season as I have never looked forward to a season before, but I'm still not seeing things as rose-colored as MLB's Tom Singer. In his rundown of the AL East, he offers these final standings:
Boston Red Sox       105  57  --

New York Yankees 92 70 13
Toronto Blue Jays 91 71 14
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 78 84 27
Baltimore Orioles 74 88 31
That's real pretty to look at, but there is no way the balance of the East has swung 19 games in the Red Sox's direction. I can't see the division being won by any more than it was last year. I'll take Boston, but by no more than 5 or 6 games. ... I picked up a mess of pre-season magazines (a Penn Station newsstand had the Boston regional covers!), so I'll be posting those soon.

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