Opening Night. "And Pedro Martinez is prickly, peeved, petulant, pouting, and feeling persecuted." Gordon Edes says that could be an encouraging sign. ... The time is now. ... "It's hard to recall a season with bigger expectations." ... The Herald has its big preview section today.
Bobby Jones beat out Tim Hamulack for the final spot in the bullpen. ... Lowe and Varitek have no doubts about Pedro's arm or velocity. ... The Globe has a "Dog Fight" between two vendors from Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. ... The Red Sox will have a different Opening Day 2B for the 11th consecutive year. ... Boston is 50-52-1 all-time on Opening Day (29-35-1 on the road). Pedro Martinez has never lost a decision on Opening Day (3-0, 2.43 in 6 games).
Kevin Millar failed to run out a ground ball that he thought was foul and was thrown out at first while he stood a few feet from the batter's box. Francona spoke to him and it blew over quickly. Even Manny joked: "I hope you learned your lesson." More here. Does anyone else think that if Ramirez had done this, it would have been written up that Manny was still out to lunch and still can't play the game the right way? I mean, Ramirez did this once in freakin' 2002 and members of the media still won't shut up about it.
What Planet Do These Writers Live On? Dan Shaughnessy, New York Times: "New England has not yet recovered from the classic fall in the Bronx last October, and the nuclear winter of 2003-4 did nothing to diminish the angst of the Red Sox Nation." ... Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun: "The Boston Red Sox arrived in spring training this year with dysfunction written all over them. ... The Red Sox led the major leagues in offseason angst ..." ... I have found the exact opposite to be true. Fans are insanely ready and beyond excited about this season. Because we all know that It Is On.
What else? ... Andy Pettitte: "The Red Sox offer pretty much blew everybody else out of the water. But I just couldn't see going against the guys that I had won so much with over there and competing against them on a yearly basis, 19 to 25 times a year. And for the New York fans, too. That wasn't me." ... How did the off-season begin? Less than 12 hours since Josh Beckett tagged Jorge Posada, ending the World Series, "the phone in Brian Cashman's office rang. Texas Rangers general manager John Hart was calling, offering an upbeat message ... [Then Hart] shifted gears. 'Hey, listen, while I have you, we're putting A-Rod on the market,' Cashman recalls Hart saying. 'We're meeting Boston at four at the St. Regis. Will you meet with us at six?'"
Peter Gammons will be talking baseball and rock and roll and signing copies of "Hot Stove, Cool Music: Volume 1" at the Best Buy at Landmark Center (2 blocks from Fenway) on Friday, April 9 (the day of the home opener) from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. All proceeds from the sale of the CD benefit the Jimmy Fund. Gammons's rendition of "Carol" is on the CD; other musicans include Kay Hanley, Pearl Jam, the Dropkick Murphys, American Hi-Fi and Trauser (with one Theo Epstein on bass). Visit Hot Stove Cool Music for details or email: email@example.com