The countdown to something remotely resembling baseball has hit zero. As I write this, the season starts in roughly 45 days and counting. Between then and now comes the dawn. There's something to get your panties in a bunch about, eh?
Scrolling down through WEEI.com's excellent Full Count blog, I glossed over the sight of a manager in Red Sox-related clothing before doing the requisite double take. (Note: a double take is different than a spit take, which would certainly have resulted in 'evening drink' seeping into the innards of my computer, turning the screen into one of those pixelated images where, if you relax your eyes enough, you see a horse or a sailboat.) My eyes filled in the spaces behind the Red Sox managerial gear with Terry Francona but the manager in question was not the venerable Tito, but one Bobby Valentine. That's weirdness. I suspect that may happen a few more times. Eight years has a way of providing expectation to ye old oculars. By the way, that article with the Bobby Valentine video linked above is by WEEI.com's Alex Speier and quite appropriately covers the new manager's opinions of his team.
One good thing about this specific Spring Training is that when it ends, the questions about last year's collapse should end as well. ... HA HA HA! Ha ha ha... *sniff* heh heh... whoo... But, for real though. Jon Lester and Josh Beckett are both showing varying versions of contrition as to last year's embarrassing debacle. Jon Lester is saying all the right things while Josh Beckett is contrite, but not so much interested in actually apologizing (both links ESPN Boston). Which, when you come right down to it, doesn't really matter. Last year is obviously over, so right now this is about filling column inches and air time. In June when the Sox are in first place (or fourth place) whether or not Josh Beckett begged our collective forgiveness in mid February for something that happened last September will matter as much as the words you're reading right now. What will matter is the performance on the field for both men.
If you're interested in prospects, a Red Sox fan, but don't regularly read Sox Prospects, then you're just losing out. The site is doing it's typically great job covering the start of Spring Training with in-depth scouting reports on, well, just about everyone. Here is one they did on me. But more importantly, here is one head scout Chris Mellon of said site did on Colbrin Vitek and Oscar Tejada, two at least semi-maligned prospects.
The Yankees finally divested themselves of A.J. Burnett, dealing the mercurial pitcher to Pittsburgh for two minor leaguers and a Primanti Brothers sandwich. As to which will ultimately provide more value, my money is on the sandwich. Our own Marc Normandin wrote about how getting Burnett isn't a hot mess of sadness like maybe it might seem for Pittsburgh.
The passing of Hall of Famer Gary Carter was a sad event to be sure. Jonah Keri wrote eloquently about Carter at Grantland as did Jay Jaffe at Baseball Prospectus. BP's Steven Goldman wrote about Carter's biggest moment.