Rough Wake
The Red Sox took on the Minnesota Twins tonight at Hammond Stadium in Grapefruit League action. Here, in the first inning, when the Twins Jason Kubel (not pictured) hit a high pop to the infield around the mound, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield (right) held off Kevin Youkilis
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe Staff)

Twins Win, Tim Gets Tagged

Twins 5, Sox 2
Ramon Ramirez Looks Like the Real Deal
Masterson (Sharp) Replaces Wakefield... for One Night Anyway
Pedroia Picks Up Where He Left Off
Lowrie Playing Like Lugo's the Backup
A Bard Days Night... Nothing Gets By Josh
Ellsbury Looks Good, Except Leading Off
A Minor Sensation: Jeff Bailey
Mayor's Cup in Jeopardy

"I don't think he threw the ball poorly. It was nice to see him out there getting his work in. Seven base runners is a lot, but we didn't have to go get him." -- 2.25.09, Tito talks about Wake's outing

Report: Dodgers Make Manny a Two-Year, $45m Offer
Where's the Down Economy Discounted Price?

Fenway On His Mind

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez flips his bat after swinging and missing a pitch against Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero during the fourth inning of their spring training opening baseball game in Dunedin, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009. Rodiguez hit a two-run on the next pitch.
(AP)

A-Roid's Already Thinking About His Reception

2.25.09, New York Post: "A-Rod downplayed the insults hurled at him by those in the stands and concentrated on the ones that were supportive. 'Fans were okay, I would like to invite a bunch of them to Fenway Park. They were pretty nice,' Rodriguez said."

George King: A-Rod Climbs Into Car with 'Steroid' Cousin Yuri
Oh, and The Unnatural Hit an A-bomb

Eagle Eye
 The Red Sox kicked off the Grapefruit League season with a game at City of Palms Park vs. Boston College. Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett is shown as he fires a pitch to Boston College's Harry Darling in the top of the first inning.
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe Staff)

Beckett Looks Sharp Against College Kids

Sox Rally for 7-1 Win in Exhibition Opener | Box Score | Photos
Beckett Gives It the Old College Try, Retires All Six He Faced
Lugo? Lowrie? Or 2-for-2 Yamaico Navarro at Short?
Bats Come Alive in Inning 5: Angel Chavez and Chris Carter Lead the Way
Sam Shaughnessy Struck Out Once, Rocco Twice
Buchholz, Tazawa in Good Form in Short Stints
Eno Guerrero Pinch Hits for Papi, Draws Walk

Shaky Start for Dice-K

Pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka #18 of Japan attends a practice session prior to playing an exhibition match between Japan and Australia at Kyocera Dome Osaka on February 24, 2009 in Osaka, Japan.
(Junko Kimura/Getty Images)

Matsuzaka Struggles Against Australia

Sox Righty Gives Up 2 Runs on 5 Hits in Just 1 2/3 Innings

"There were good points and bad points. I'll work hard to get ready for the actual games." -- 2.25.09, Daisuke Matsuzaka on his first outing

The Real Deal

BDD -- Manny negotiations continue
(BDD Photo Illustration)

Ramirez Now a Distraction for Dodgers as Talks Drag On
Los Angeles Finally Gets to Meet the Real Manny
Scott Boras Can't Avoid Getting Low-balled by LA
And Manny Just Can't Escape His Exit From Boston

LA Times: Spring Games Begin, Manny Talks Still Haven't Ended
Olney Today: Decision-Makers Have Decided on Manny
'Low-Level' Inside Sales Rep Doesn't Really Know Manny's Deal | Ticket Seller Audio
John Heyman Boras: Ramirez, Dodgers Make Compromises, Get Closer
Dodgers GM Denies Rumors of Done Deal for Manny

"Ramirez is one of the greatest hitters we have ever seen, a unique talent who put on one of the most extraordinary performances of our generation in his 10 weeks with the Dodgers, and he's probably going to have to take about half of what Jim Thome got from the Phillies six years ago. The primary reason for this, unquestionably, is the sport-wide perception that he did not honor his contract in Boston, and went to extraordinary depths to get himself out of that contract. -- 2.25.09, Buster Olney, ESPN.com


Happy Days Are Here, Again!

Fan drinking a beer on Yawkey Way 9.5.02
(Matthew J. Lee / Globe File)

Sox Introduce Stimulus Package for Themselves,
Move Game Times to 7:10 p.m.

They've Drilled Down on the Numbers, Scrubbed All the Data
And By Moving Games Times to 7:10 p.m.
The Sox Will Sell a Helluva Lot More Beer and Gear
And You'll Get Home Later, Too!

Larry being Larry: "During the week approximately 60 percent of our fans enter the ballpark after 6:30 p.m. Moving the starts by even a few minutes will give them a little more time to make it to Fenway Park from work or home, take advantage of pregame festivities and ballpark amenities, and reach their seats before the first pitch." -- Larry Lucchino, Red Sox President/CEO

A-Roidgate Rages On

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the practice field of the of the George M. Steinbrenner field during spring training, Friday, Feb. 20, 2009 in Tampa, Fla.
(A-Rod, AP Angel Presinal, Los Angeles Times/Carlos Chavez Yuri Sucart Daily News/Schwartz)

The Alex Rodriguez Story Is Falling A-part
Amateur Hour... Courtesy of The Professional

NY Daily News: Steroid-Linked Trainer Accompanied A-Rod for 2007 Season
ESPN: Presinal Had Strong Ties to A-Rod; Rodriguez Could Face Suspension
ESPN 2007 Archive: Presinal's Past Makes MLB Wary About His Present
ESPN: Primobolan Not Legally Available in Dominican Republic Like A-Roid Said
Danny Picard: Congressman Lynch Says Don't Rule out A-Rod Hearing | Audio
Just Another Day, Another Round of New Questions for The Ultimate Cheater
... Who Spoke Briefly Today

New York Daily News and we're still counting how many reporters: "Embattled Yankee Alex Rodriguez has had a long relationship with a steroid-linked trainer who's been banned from major league clubhouses, four independent sources told the Daily News.

Angel Presinal, who was banned from private areas of every MLB ballpark after an October 2001 incident involving an unmarked gym bag full of steroids, has been tight with the Yankee slugger dating back to his time with the Texas Rangers, several sources said.

A former New York-area scout says Presinal, whose named surfaced in the Mitchell Report, was with Rodriguez in New York and Miami as recently as this past fall.

MLB has warned players to stay away from him.

He has been thrown out of clubhouses in Cleveland, Anaheim and Texas.

"He's an unsavory character," said a source.


Who's Your Trainer?

Pedro and Nomar back in the day

Pedro: 'Nao Has Worked with Me a Long, Long Time'

2.14.07, ESPN, Mike Fish: Angel Presinal: "Boston wanted to do surgery on Pedro Martinez [during the 2001 season]. Pedro says, 'I don't need surgery. I want to first try with my personal trainer.' He came to me at the end of the season and I worked with him. He had no operation and he came back and challenged Barry Zito for the Cy Young."

And David Not Only Works Out at His Place, He Was a Client...

"The walls of his [Presinal] cramped office in the bowels of the basketball arena are lined with photos of Presinal and some of the top-shelf players he professes to have trained: David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez, Raul Mondesi, Pedro and Ramon Martinez, Stan Javier, Adrian Beltre, Ruben Sierra, Vladimir Guerrero." -- 2.14.07, Mike Fish, ESPN.com


Hey, Nao! He's No Angel

Angel Presinal wearing a Sox cap
(Victor Perez / ESPN)

And He's Wearing a (Gulp) Sox Cap!


This Just In ...

David Ortiz on Comcast SportsNet Sports Tonight
(BDD / Comcast SportsNet Screen Image)

Papi Address Six-Degrees-of-Angelgate

On Comcast SportsNet, Ortiz Says He Just Got His Work in at Presinal's Place

2.20.09, Ortiz on Comcast SportsNet Sports Tonight: “This place where he [Presinal] works it is a facility that’s like five minutes away from my house. It’s like an Olympic place where everybody go and hit, run, do all their work in. That’s like in the middle of everybody’s house. So we all go there and workout and… he’s a good trainer. He’s the guy that… he’ll teach you how to train. How to get your body ready to go, but besides that, I have no idea about all this...

"He got into some trouble before from what I hear and that’s something that he’s got to deal with, especially with what is going on right now but like I say, you have a facility close to your house, when I’m there, and I go and get my work in cause otherwise you show up here then nobody wants to see you so, we go there. Get our work in. That’s about it."

March 2006 MLB.com: More on Angel and the DR WBC Team, His Clients
July 2005 LA Times: Another Look Back at Nao and His Client List
Peter Gammons on SportsCenter: 'I Worked Out There, But Didn't Take Steroids'
In Other Worlds: Manny: 'A Choice of Winning or Losing' for LA Says Boras
Also, The Curse of Cursing Craig Sager: KG Goes Down
Mazz Is On the Lugo Bandwagon
Off the Air: Kevin Youkilis Approaches Gerry Callahan at Sox Camp

2.21.09, Gerry Callahan on WEEI: "And then he [Youkilis] just walked over, bat in hand, I thought he was going to smash some stuff on the table, and just... we had it out."

Peace and Quiet

Jim Davis, Boston Globe Staff Photos
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe Staff)

Fort Myers Is a Million Miles from A-Rod*

Thursday: All's Quiet in the Fort
Wednesday: Papelbon Was Breaking Down Last Year, Henry's Salary Cap Dreams
Tuesday: Jason Bay, the Straw that Stirs the Drink, Speaks... Fans Go Wild
Monday: Mike Lowell May Land on DL With Hurt Feelings
Most Excitement In Camp Is 3,000 Miles Away: Larry Bowa vs. Brad Penny


Yuri-ka!

First Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin holds his parachute during training near Kirzhach, Russia, in this February 1963 file photo. In 108 minutes on April 12, 1961, the 27-year-old Gagarin made man's first orbit of the Earth.
(AP File)

Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin, the First Man in Space, Is Not
A-Rod's Steroid Sidekick... But Yuri Sucart Is ...

My Cousin Yuri: A-Rod's Cousin Found in Miami
MLB Wants A-Rod to Keep Talking

ESPN.com report: "Yuri was a mule, not a guy who would initiate anything," a friend once close to Rodriguez said Wednesday. "He did what Alex told him to. He was only looking out for Alex. He is not a guy who would take the initiative to go out and buy drugs. Alex said during the press conference that his cousin just did what was asked -- that is perfect for Yuri's MO. He is a person who would be with him forever, a loyal guy without a bad bone in his body."

Damon: Murder Is Worse Than Steroids

Watch Johnny Damon wax on about A-Rod here
(BDD / ESPN screen image)

In Times Like These, The Nation Turns Its Lonely Ears
to the One and Only Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon speaks to the media today in Tampa following A-Rod’s presser: “Yeah he did some bad things. He took a steroid. Definitely do not condone that, at all, but there could be a lot worse things he could have been doing out there. He hasn’t done a crime. So there’s worse things that he could have done but you know I’ve known Alex since he was 15 and he’s always been super nice to me and so I’m going to support him and try help him through this time. (Reporter: Johnny, what would have been worse?) Murdering someone... There’s plenty of things that could be worse than what he did. (Reporter: In your mind, is what he did cheating?) For part time in his career, perhaps, but you know what, the pitchers that were facing him too at the time were doing it.”


New Video Game Release...

Josh Coles / BDD Photo Illustration
(Josh Coles / BDD Photo Illustration)

In the Next Episode of A-Rod Confessions, Alex Sits Down with Matt Lauer and Explains How His Neighbor's Uncle Helped Him Stack the Testosterone Over the Boli...

Mystery Cousin Revealed

In Top Secret Grand Jury Trial Testimony,
Cousin Vinny Says A-Rod Not to Blame, Was Just a Yoot

Dissing Cousin

Yankees Alex Rodriguez addresses the media at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009.
(BDD Photo Illustration)

"My cousin would administer it to me. But neither of us knew what we were doing."
-- 2.17.09, Alex Rodriguez

Nervous A-Rod Shares More Details of His Steroid Use

Jayson Stark ESPN: A-Rod's Hard to Believe
I Can't Believe He Threw His Cousin Under the Bus. Sincerely, Ty Law
Boli, Boli... Boli, Boli, Boli... Was Injected Twice a Month
Confessed Cheater Also Took the Stimulant 'Ripped Fuel'
The Really Curious Case of Alex Rodriguez:
Mature 18-Year-Old MLB Veteran Grew Younger and Stupider by 28
Suddenly, He Remembers What He Took and Where He Got It, Really?!?
Moral of His Sad Story: Stay in School... and Don't Turn MLB into the WWE


A Man Is Known by the Company He Keeps

These are 2008 file photos showing Marion Jones, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens.
(AP)

A Cheater Is a Cheater Is a Cheater Is a Cheater
And Cheaters Cannot Go into the Hall of Fame. Period.

Danny Picard: Release the Rest of the Names

Missing Manny

Red Sox DH David Ortiz spoke at length after the workout this morning about his left wrist injury and the steriod questions that surround the game of baseball. Here he is shown as he waits for his turn to hit in the batting cage.
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe Staff)

David Wants His Goliath

Do You Know Who I Am? Sincerely, Kevin Youkilis
Some Deep Thoughts on Doubters, Steroids, from Ortiz
Clean Papi Wants the 'Roid Boys Banned for the Season
Ryan: Ortiz Out to Prove Doubters Wrong
Papi Doesn't Need 'Roids! Negative Comments Make Him Stronger!

Extra Bases: Ortiz reiterated his belief that the Red Sox need another power bat. He said both Terry Francona and Theo Epstein asked his opinion and he answered them honestly. "We missed Manny last year," said Ortiz. "Who's your cleanup hitter? When your cleanup hitter walks away from your lineup, that's tough." ... When asked whether he'd like see Manny Ramirez back, he said, "Why not?"

And Since He's Unsigned, Manny Can Vacation into March Without Reprimand
The Smart Money Has LA Ram to Strolling into Dodgers' Camp Mid-March
Julio Lugo, Comeback Player of the Year... You Heard It Here First
Don't Believe Everything You Hear from the Horse's Mouth
Tito's Next Day Spin Control Says J.D.'s Back is Great... Whew!


In Case You Missed It ...

Linda Pizzuti, John Henry's fiance, John Henry, and team owner Jack Roush, Matt Kenseth and his crew celebrate after Kenseth won the the rain-shortened NASCAR Daytona 500 auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009.
(AP)

John Henry Signed a Power Hitter... For His Other Team
Matt Kenseth of Roush Fenway Wins Daytona 500

Deja Drew
J.D. Drew is shown here stretching his back while shagging in the outfield during batting practice before Tuesday night's playoff clinching game at Fenway Park vs. the Indians.
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe File Photo)

Not a Good Sign... J.D. Shows Up with a Bad Back

I Can Show Up Stiff for a Whole Lot Less Cash. Sincerely, Trot Nixon
Sunday's Recap from Fort Myers

"I'm not concerned that I won't be at full capacity to play. If we had to go out there and play a game today I could do that. It wouldn't be a problem. That being said, I have battled with this the entire offseason, just as far as stiffness goes. Not really mobility as much. You wake up stiff, you move around, you do a few things, you down for a while, you get stiff." -- 2.15.09, J.D. Drew


Papi's Not So Big

Red Sox DH David Ortiz arrived in camp today, and he did some solo running around a foggy field in the morning.
(Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

The Shape of Things to Come
Ortiz Has a Spring in His Step

Papi Arrives... Still No Sign of Manny
Josh Beckett Q&A | Mazz on Beckett
Photos: First Official Sox Workouts | The Worst Breakups in Sox History
Jason Varitek's Straight Face Says All the Right Things... in Public
Really?!? No Problem with Short Money and a Shorter Deal? Really?

Friday the 13th

Red Sox captain Jason Varitek arrived in camp today, just in time to take part in the team's conditioning drills that they put players through at the beginning of the season. He is shown leaving the field after the drills, drenched in sweat.
(Jim Davis / Boston Globe Staff)

... Jason Lives!

Lucky Day: The $5 Million Man Is In the House
Get Ready for Smoltz... In June


My Funny Valentine

Alex Has a Crush on Someone...

And It's Not 'That Lady Reporter' Who (cough) Was Hired by That Magazine to (cough) Break into His House in Miami Where She (cough) Went Up to His Daughter's Bedroom and (cough) Was Arrested by the Police (cough)...

Can You Believe It Donald Fehr?
Player Warned Union About 'Roids in '98...
Bud Selig is Shocked... Shocked!

Book 'Em, Tito

Francona in Fort Myers; Juliana at Fenway
(Jim Davis / Globe Staff and Steve Silva / Boston.com)

Francona Fires Back at J-Ram's Charges

Inside Track: Many Versions of Manny Tale
Herald: Francona Disputes Manny’s Book Talk

2.12.09, Boston Herald: "That Julianna Ramirez should be among those taking shots at McCormick is particularly ironic, according to Francona, because it was McCormick who asked the manager for permission to allow Julianna on the team charter, a forbidden practice except on designated family trips. She wanted to accompany her husband on the road trip to Houston. “It was Jack’s idea to waive the rules to allow Julianna (on the charter),” said Francona. “I don’t remember it the same way Manny does, or for that matter, Gene Mato, who wasn’t there.”


The Best Thing the Union Ever Did ...

BDD Photo Illustration, PS

(BDD Photo Illustration / PS)

Was Kill the A-Rod to Boston Deal

Bob Lobel: People in Glass Houses
Selig Won't Rule Out Punishment for A-Rod; Considering Adding Asterisk
Daily News: Selig Makes Complete Asterisk Out of Himself

Read All About Him!

Becoming Manny
(Boston Dirt Dogs)

Move Over Joe Torre... New Manny Tell-All Will Be Best Seller
Juliana Says You Don't Know Jack

Inside Track: Book Gives Manny's Side of the Meltdown
WEEI Audio: 'Becoming Manny' Author Tries to Speak Over Old D&C Rants

"Jack [McCormick] disrespected Manny for many years and on many occasions,” Ramirez’s former agent Gene Mato says in the new, authorized biography “Becoming Manny.” Manny’s bride, Juliana, added that her husband’s request for tickets to a Sox-Astros game was for fewer seats than the 16 cited in media reports. “Jack’s response was very rude,” she recalled. “And Jack had a history of insulting Manny in front of the other players... The team management didn’t have his back,. They gave him up to the press instead of protecting one of their own players." -- 2.11.09, Boston Herald, Inside Track

This Just In: Manny Still Likes to Stiff the Working Class Citizens


It Was The Best of Times, It Was ...

BDD  Lucy Goosey
(CBS Photo / AP)

Loosey-Goosey As In Steroids Were Banned in Baseball Since 1991 And Were Against the Law in the United States of America

The A-Rod Fiasco Continues...
Deadspin: Gammons Admits to Messing Up Interview
Jeff Pearlman: Peter Gammons is the Larry King of Sports Television
More MLB Player Backlash: Roy Oswalt Would Erase A-Rod's Numbers
ESPN.com: Experts: A-Rod Must Have Known What He Was Taking for Three Years
More A-Rod Lies: Cops Say No Record of Trouble with Roberts
NY Daily News: Hard to Get Pumped for Mr. Clean
Lupica: A-Roid Turns Dry Eye Toward Hall of Fame
More NY Stories: Straw Bares Met Sexcapades | Roberto Alomar Shocker


This Just In ...

Red sox pitcher Josh Beckett did some throwing this morning in a bullpen.
(Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

Beckett Got Off the Porch, Lost the Gut

Beckett Throws Bullpen Session | Sox Spring Photos

Brad Penny Is Another Story...

New Red Sox pitcher Brad Penny threw in a bullpen this morning.
(Jim Davis / Globe Staff)

Did the Big Righty Eat Schilling for Breakfast?

Stump Towers
Stump, a Sussex Spaniel, runs with its handler during the Sporting Group judging at the 2009 Westminster Dog Show in New York February 10, 2009.
(Reuters)

The Old Boy Was In It to Win It

Stump Steals The Show
10-Year-Old School Sussex Spaniel Wins Westminster | Photos

At 10, Stump became the oldest best in show winner ever at the Westminster Kennel Club, coming out of retirement only last week and walking off with the top prize Tuesday night.


Coming to a Ballpark Near You This Summer

The NY Junkies - A Tradition of Excellence on TwitPic

SI.com: Verducci Rips A-Rod, Interview
Appeals Court Will Decide Fate of 'The List'
This Just In: Jose Canseco Is Here to Help
A-Rod's Former Coach 'Surprised' by Steroid Use
Obama Calls A-Rod Situation 'Depressing'
Eric Wilbur: Lie to Me, Alex

Sorry Alex
BDD / nickmerrilldesign.com

...But Your Scotty Scripted, Too Little, Too Lame Apology
Raises Many More Questions Than Answers, Really

Really Alex? You Didn't Know What You Were Putting in Your Body, Really?!?
Really? The Union Never Told You That You Tested Positive, Really?!?
Really? You Stopped Using When You Got Some Neck Pain, Really?!?
So It Was All Available at Your Neighborhood GNC, Really?!?
You Never Took Anything as a Youth in Florida, Really?!?
Really? You Only Used for Three Years Alex? Really?!?
So You Lied to Katie But Not to Gammons, Really?!?
Now You Want to Influence Children, Really?!?

"There are two kind of lies, lies with short legs and lies with long noses. Yours...happen to have long noses." -- The Turquoise Fairy to Pinocchio


The Other Boras Client

...Is Still Unemployed

HE DID IT

Send in the Clown

(BDD Photo Illustration / Rich Hinds)

A-Fraud Guilty As Charged
Everything About Baseball is Tainted

A-Rod Sings to Peter Gammons; Admits to Using Performance Enhancing Drugs
Now Let's Have the Rest of the Names

Alex Rodriguez to Peter Gammons: "I was young, I was stupid, I was naive, and I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth . . . being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance and for that I am very sorry and deeply regretful."


No Wonder He Was Able to Knock
That Ball Out of Arroyo's Glove

arodslap_BDD_mh.jpg

(Boston Dirt Dogs Photo / Mike Hansen)

A-ROID...
A-ROID...
A-ROID
(AP Photo)

No More Whispers About A-Rod
He'll Get the Message Loud and Clear at Fenway This Summer

SI.com: A-Rod Reportedly Tested Positive for Steroids
Can Someone Please Leak The Other 103 Cheating Bums on the '03 Test List?
This Just In: Jose Canseco... Right Again

Yankees Star Alex Rodriguez* tested positive for two anabolic steroids during his MVP season with Texas in 2003, Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site Saturday. The New York Yankees star has long denied using performance-enhancing drugs. He declined to discuss the tests when approached by SI on Thursday at a gym in Miami. "You'll have to talk to the union," he said.

How We Roll

BDD - Truck Day
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

It's Truck Day. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Get Your Photos Here.


With Truck Day, Life Rolls On

Republished from Feb. 10, 2008: A Red Sox season used to be something that you ran away from. With the final heart-breaking out, fans would turn to the Patriots - and, before them, the Celtics – as antidote for the pain of another Fenway collapse. Now, in the wake of back-to-back gut-wrenching Patriots finishes, the baseball season has become Boston’s salvation.

That was no more evident than on Yawkey Way Saturday morning. It was Truck Day, cause for several television crews, Dirt Dogs staff, and a hundred fans to celebrate this distinctly Boston tradition so unique in all of professional sports. For all, it was the precursor to spring and hope. And for many, it was also an occasion for healing after Sunday’s Super Bowl. I know. I was one.

My son and I started last week bent on attending a parade. Although Truck Day was not what we originally had in mind, we hopped in the car just the same, I maneuvering traffic on the Southeast Expressway, my son doing likewise on the radio whenever the first chords of Runnin’ Down A Dream or Breakdown could be made out. After only six days, we weren’t about to let Tom Petty back into our lives yet. When we arrived at Fenway Park, we found our parade. Not one with confetti guns and rolling rock bands and a day free of school and work. Not one with conquering warriors riding duck-billed chariots among the liberated masses lining Boylston Street. Not one of triumph; but rather, of consolation. And among the intimate crowd awaiting the 10 a.m. send-off, consolation was working its mission.

“I had nothing else to do on a Saturday morning so I figured, why not ease the pain after the Patriots,” said Jonathan Flanagan of Canton, who also persuaded his father, Larry, to join him. Like many assembled under the gray skies outside Gate D, it was a first for both.

“I saw it on NESN, and figured it would be a fun thing to do,” said the senior Flanagan. “It doesn’t help the undefeated season thing, but life goes on.”

Indeed it does. Banners draped on either side of the Atlas Van Lines trailer parked on Yawkey Way proclaimed as much. Only 59 Days To Opening Day.

“Bring on the spring,” echoed Jonathan.

Aft of the 18-wheeler, a small flatbed sat curbside, hitched to a Ford Super Duty. Within its plywood sides, a group of Fenway Ambassadors led by Wally the Green Monster lobbed sponge baseballs out to passers-by.

“It was a letdown with the Patriots,” acknowledged Declan Power of Milton, who brought his son, daughter, and a Pug puppy named Wally into town for the send-off and some souvenirs. “We read about it in the paper and we said, what a great idea to come see [the original] Wally and start off the next run.”

For Cheryl Giuliotti, an East Boston resident who grew up in Wisconsin a Packers fan, her motive was not as therapeutic.

“I was going to B.U. to get a Valentine’s Day present,” she explained. “I’m not a Belichick fan, so I’m not a Patriots fan. I was kind of glad the Giants won because they’re NFC.”

Shortly, a buzz started through the crowd as aluminum ladders were pulled away from the trailer and its rear doors swung shut, sealing the efforts of three and a-half months.

“It’s almost an off-season-long process - ordering the equipment, packing it,” explained Red Sox VP of Media Relations John Blake. “Our equipment people work all winter. They’ve been packing boxes for several weeks, getting everything ready. They packed all day yesterday and finished this morning.”

With a burp of air, the tractor’s parking brake released and puffs of heated exhaust lifted from the twin chrome stacks, melting the leaden sky that had enveloped The Hub in a week of wintry melancholy. The first Florida-bound roll of wheels brought the assemblage to spontaneous clapping and whistling. Under police escort, the procession headed down Yawkey Way and onto Brookline Avenue for the first leg of a two and a-half day journey to Fort Myers. The 2008 season was officially underway.

“We’ll get into Fort Myers Monday night, and we’ll start unpacking Tuesday morning,” said Blake. “There is kind of a science to the way they pack the truck, because they do have to unload in two places.”

The first destination is City of Palms, which hosts Grapefruit season games beginning February 28. After that, it’s on to the Minor League complex, where pitchers and catchers report Thursday. But on this Saturday morning, it was comfort enough for a city reeling with disappointment to watch a new chapter roll in as the convoy disappeared around the corner.

And to the glee of all, the truck did not see its shadow. That can mean only one thing. Just 59 days left until spring. -- 2.10.08, Bob Ekstrom, Boston Dirt Dogs contributor

Only a Matter of Time

Boston Dirt Dogs -- Zeprock
(BDD Photo Illustration / Zeprock)
Bonds's Failed 5 Drug Tests

Feds: Bud Selig's Home Run King Failed 5 Drug Tests
Trainer Talks About Injecting Barry Bonds*

Barry Bonds's Trainer Greg Anderson: "No, what happens is, they put too much in one area, and . . . actually ball up and puddle. And what happens is, it actually will eat away and make an indentation. And it's a cyst. It makes a big [expletive] cyst. And you have to drain it. Oh, yeah, it's gnarly . . . Hi, Benito . . . Oh, it's gnarly."


Here's to the King

Henry Aaron, Globe File Photo
(Boston Globe File Photo)

Happy 75th Birthday to Baseball's True Home Run King

Hammerin' Hank to Celebrate Birthday in Atlanta Tonight
Barry*: Henry How My Cake Taste?

Manny Being Salted

Boras and Manny Get 'Salted' by President Obama
Over Their Obnoxious Salary Demands

The Real Boras on Manny: "What I do know, you better watch out when you’re playing chicken." ... we know what 'watch out' means in Boston, Scott. Should be a good time for the team that gets sucked into signing him.

Boras: Don't Play Chicken with Manny
Cashman Says Yankees Won't Be in the Manny Mix
Edes: Varitek Saga Might Be Lesson for Ramirez
Meanwhile: Bonds’s Urine Retested, and Result Is a Positive
Shocking: Tests on Drug Evidence Show Links to Clemens’s DNA
And Torre's Embarrassing Book Tour Rolled Into Regis & Kelly Today

Desperate Times

BDD: Deal or No Deal?

(BDD Photo Illustration)

... Call for Desperate Measures

Random People Somewhat Familiar With the Thinking of Scott Boras Believe
He Will Come Back to Theo With a Two-Year Deal for Manny


Now Playing in GM Offices Everywhere

Meir Weinberg / BDD Photo Illustration
(Meir Weinberg / BDD Photo Illustration)

Now Playing in Theaters

Eric Diaz / BDD Photo Illustration
(Eric Diaz / BDD Photo Illustration)

Eric Wilbur: A Manny with No Plan

He's Still Out There

Manny Ramirez celebrates with teammates after they clinched the National League West following their game against the San Diego Padres in Los Angeles, September 25, 2008.
(Reuters)

Dodgers Make Manny an Offer He Can Refuse... And He Does

Manny Rejects LA's Second Pitch

Manny Ramirez received a new one-year contract offer worth a reported $25 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers last night ... and he promptly rejected it.

Grady Sees His Shadow

Grady Little came out from his stump at Gobbler's Knob on Groundhog Day, Monday, Feb. 2, 2009, in Punxsutawney, Pa. The Groundhog Club said Grady saw his shadow and predicted six more weeks of winter.
(BDD Photo Illustration)

Grady Little Saw His Shadow Today and
Predicted Six More Weeks of Winter

A Tell-All from 'Tek?

Scott Boras and John Henry Discuss the Newest Contract Negotiation Technique.
Tell-All Book Threats!

BDD is a feature of Boston.com. All posts are by Steve Silva unless otherwise indicated.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox end losing streak > Shaughnessy: Debunking myths about the 2014 Red Sox > Cherington: Everyone needs to get better

Boston Herald:

Ortiz, Red Sox bats break out to end losing streak > Buchholz still bewildered > Memory loss haunting Red Sox

ProJo:

Lester was once a good hitter, now heading toward dubious record > Travis Shaw brings hot bat to Pawtucket > Ranaudo shines > Betts not a candidate for Boston, yet

NY Post:

St. Louis lets Ozzie Smith bid Jeter goodbye > Yanks prevail in extras again > Nonsense leads off in MLB broadcasts > Beltran elbow on mend

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The "Curt’s Pitch for ALS" program is a joint effort by Curt and Shonda Schilling and The ALS Association Mass Chapter to strike out Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

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The SHADE Foundation thanks Red Sox Nation for joining in their fight to save future generations from melanoma.
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