This Just In

J.D. Drew at the Harlem Globetrotters game from Wed, Feb 24 in Fort Myers.
(BDD / Photo courtesy of Harlem Globetrotters)

Drew Still Favoring Right Shoulder

The J.D. Drew Crew Took In the Harlem Globetrotters Game
Against the Hard Charging Washington Generals in Fort Myers Last Night...
That's the Real Globetrotters, Not the Store-Bought NY Yankees $400 Billion Team
Rumor Has It the 'Trotters Won in a Close One, and Haven't Lost Since 1971
To Honor Drew, Meadowlark Lemon Sat Out the Game with a Sore Hamstring/Back

The Globetrotters will dribble their way into to Boston for two games (against the Boston Shamrocks? Atlantic City Seagulls?) at the TD Garden on Saturday, March 27 and Sunday, March 28. Get tickets here.


BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

First Class Seating

Mike Lowell addresses the press
(Barry Chin / Globe Staff)

Mike Lowell Is the Ultimate Stand Up Guy
But He'll Have to Take a Seat If He Stays in Boston

Lowell: 'No Real Playing Time for Me Here'
I Used to Be 10 Times Stronger, Too, Oh Nevermind. Sincerely, Mark McGwire
So Who's the Guy Who Felt Sorry for a Guy Making $12 Million to Play Ball?
He's As 'Dicey' As Your Articles Want Him to Be... And He's Not Dead Yet, Johnny
On the Texas Mess: Beyond the Annual Rumors, Being on Da Plane Was Weird
And With Vlad in the House, He's Obviously Not a Fit With the Rangers Anymore
On the Fans: He Says All the Right Things Because He's Smart, Stupid
He's a Cool Breeze to Boot: 'Want to Stress That I'm Not Stressed'

"I said hi to [Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre] today. I hadn't seen him before. I mean, I know him as a baseball friend. I've never had meals with him. But I think he has an opportunity to make $10 million. I don't really think he’s worried about it. If I'm him, I don't not sign on a team because of the other guy. Especially if the organization tells him you're going to play. I think he made it clear that Theo told him that whether he signed or not, I was not going to play third. I think that makes it a little easier for that guy... I don't need to see him to know where my status was. I think the writing was on the wall, basically the first day of the winter meetings." -- Mike Lowell, knows the score


Some Justice for Johnny

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Coming to Fenway Park This Summer
Photos: Damon Through the Years

Still Missing Manny?

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, center, clowns around with from L to R: Bill Hall, and second baseman Dustin Pedroia
(Barry Chin / Boston Globe Staff)

Yep.

The Sun Comes Up, The Sun Goes Down, And David Ortiz
Is Still Looking For Protection in the Red Sox Lineup

Papi's Ready to Do Some Damage, But He Wants a Little Help, Again
Ortiz Looks to Be in Great Shape, Can the Same Be Said for the Sox Lineup?
Living La Vida Loca, But Papi's Never Going to Look Like Ricky Martin
The Negativity In This Town Stinks and It Sucks. Sincerely, Rick Pitino... And Papi
Reunited Sooner Than Later? Manny Says He's Done with the Dodgers After '10

"Well, protection, in baseball, for a guy like me, is always going to be an issue. No question about it. Whoever knows baseball, knows that. If you look at the Yankees last year, [Mark] Teixeira when did he start raking? When Alex [Rodriguez] came back. Manny [Ramirez] and me, we did the same thing. If I'm a pitcher and I had to face Papi and I gotta face any other guy, in a tough situation, I'm not sure I'm not gonna shoot for the guy that I feel is not gonna be a tough guy in a dangerous situation for me. That's how baseball goes. And everybody knows that. So everybody needs protection in baseball... I've been doing that for years because I don't have Manny behind me all the time, all the time I've been here when Manny wasn't even playing I had to figure things out, you know, but it doesn't go like that the whole season. At one point you need someone behind you to see pitches... I'm not making out the lineup, I can't tell you right now [if I have enough protection]... ask Tito, he would tell you." -- 2.22.10, Ortiz speaks in Fort Myers

In Other Controversial News... Mike Cameron Forgot His Batting Gloves on Day One
Theo Called Him Out Like It's His First Day at School... Good Times

The New, New Big 3

The new big 3
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

Lackey, Lester, Beckett Ready to Roll to Another Championship

Lester: We're All Aces. It Takes 5 to Make a First Rate Rotation

"We all are (aces). You guys can label us whatever you want but in my mind it takes five starters to win a championship. That was proven back in '07. Just different guys that took over those roles. It's going to take all of us, all six of us, the whole season and hopefully we can all take our turns and all be healthy and get into the playoffs and have a good playoff but right now we're focused on tomorrow and throwing bullpens and trying to stay healthy." -- 2.19.10, Jon Lester


Catchers in the Raw

Catchers in the raw
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

'Tek Looks Great, But He's Still No. 2

In Theaters Friday

What will become of Wake?
(Andrew Capobianco / TheSportsHatch.com)

Tim Wakefield Has Vanished from the Red Sox Rotation
Critics Call It a Haunting Thriller That Will Keep You Guessing


This Just In ...

<img alt=
(Getty Images)

Daisuke's Back Is Just Fine... Daisuke Takahashi That Is

After Hard Lessons, Matsuzaka Softens Stance

Where's the Boof?

Boof is in the house
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

... In Camp Early, Too.
And He's Sporting Some Serious Calf Tats ...

Photo caption goes here
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

In Other Big News, Tito Speaks, Buchholz Too, and Lackey's in Town


BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Spring Is In the Air

Papelbon and Bard throw the ball around
(Steve Silva / Boston.com)

Early Birds Get to Work in Fort Myers

Here's the Pitch: Gone Are the Days of Waiting for Pedro to Arrive
Sox Hurlers Get to Work Early | Fort Myers Photos | Pap Speaks


Sadie Hawkin'

BDD_sadie_2.16.10_reu.jpg
(Reuters)

Great Scott! Sadie Wins at Westminster

How We Roll

Red Sox fans come out to see the equipment truck
(David L. Ryan / Globe Staff)

Fans Celebrate Another Spring

By Bob Ekstrom, Boston Dirt Dogs contributor Just as Yawkey Way flows into Brookline Avenue, so too does winter flow into spring, and the instance of time carved by their union has a name. For as long as I can remember, we’ve called it Truck Day.

To a New Englander, Truck Day is like Saint Peter waving our hopes through his pearly gates to a metaphoric journey from cold city streets to verdant pastures under a Florida sun. Within a mere three days, the boxes, bags, and sundry packages – I saw a red tricycle - crammed into the hold of the 18-wheeler resting on Van Ness Street will be spilled onto those pastures, the tools of another baseball season.

My job on this February morning was easy: don’t get in the way, and let my thoughts carry me to a better place. But the north and westerly winds whipping off the Charles that negated any benefits of the bright sun made for a surreal experience to any baseball fan. I see myself a world removed from those humid nights balancing a hot dog and a beer in my grandstands seat while wrestling with usurping neighbors for the prized armrests on either side. It still seems hard to leave winter behind.

Yet around me, a robust crowd approaching two hundred simply turned their collars to the bitter breeze and more bitter memories of a season past. Anthony Pleva and Vanessa Lee, both of Boston, were on Van Ness Street since nine o’clock this Friday morning.

“It is kind of cold,” acknowledged Pleva. “It takes a lot to come out here. But after October, you’ve put your life on hold until now.”

Pleva, originally from Tampa, has been a Sox fan for years, but Lee, a local college student playing hooky, is enjoying her first full season as a member of the Nation, and she likes what she sees.

“John Lackey is a strong pitcher, and I think he’s going to help out our rotation,” she said. Lee has also become an instant fan of Theo Epstein’s new-found mantra of pitching and defense. “I think we’ve got enough big bats,” she added.

All the way is Kelly Jefferson’s expectation for the upcoming season. The Shrewsbury resident took the day off from work, as did friend Karen Potter of Sutton. Both are long-time fans – Potter recalls listening to Red Sox broadcasts from a radio fastened to field hockey goalposts during her high school playing days – raised in Yankees households. Not surprisingly, they enjoy sticking it to the Empire.

“I think we beat them in pitching – at least, our top five,” assessed Potter, who is also relishing the anticipated departure of Johnny Damon to someplace far away.

“Damon not being anywhere near the Northeast helps the Sox,” she explained. “It’s not only what he brings to the table in terms of skill level. It’s also that psychological thing. It’s like . . . [he’s] polluting the Northeast.”

“Not that we’re bitter,” clarified Jefferson.

And for Kelly Oconor of Arlington, Truck Day is a reunion of sorts. She is part of a vibrant online community that embraces opportunities like this to put faces to screen names. To help her, she brought along a companion.

“Steve T. Ferret,” went the formal introduction of the stuffed companion attached to her waist garbed in Red Sox road grays. “It can be hard when you only know people online to figure out where you can find them when you all meet up somewhere, and you have a whole group of crazy Red Sox fans. We’re the only ones with ferrets.”

Unlike its distant cousin, Punxsutawney Phil, Steve T. does not run from his shadow, and that portends good things for Oconor today.

“It’s the first harbinger that it’s finally going to stop being cold and that baseball is back, especially when it’s in the middle of this sports lull.”

Just after noon, the engine of the day’s guest of honor cranked over, and the frigid air raking through the heat of twin exhaust stacks melted into a meadow breeze laced with diesel aftertaste. Spring - that damnedest of all liars, as proven in 89 of its last 91 incarnations - had begun.

On this early afternoon some eight and a-half months removed from a potential Game Seven of the next World Series, not a spirit in attendance could be stilled by the riches of a thousand shipbuilders, however soon they may be dashed by the wealth of one.

“This is like family,” proclaimed Anthony Pleva as he surveyed the fevered crowd. “You come here today for the family that can’t be here.”

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

It's Truck Day. The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
Today's 2010 Photos Here. Video, Too.
Honorary Mayor of Truck Day: Should Senator Brown Have Tossed the First Pitch?

A Star Is Born?

(ESPNLosAngeles.com Video)

Not Exactly. Nomar Makes His TV Debut on Baseball Tonight.

No Word Yet If Nomar Stayed Behind the Red Tape Line Before the Taping
Reports That He Fractured His Wrist Clipping on the Microphone Unconfirmed

Nomar's Analysis of the Dodgers: "Well I think they're definitely gonna compete and I think the difficulty right now is the way the team is you know say I really feel for Ned Coletti right now, I don't think he can really go out there and go get kind of the starter like you may be talking about that would really help them out so much because you don't what the team [signature nervous laugh] you know the condition the team is in right now know ... and that makes it difficult. But I think you know they're gonna be there. They're the Dodgers they have great guys coming up from the minor leagues, they have a wonderful system and a wonderful pitching in that system and I think you might see a couple guys come up [no names of course] and really step up."

Spring Has Sprung
in Fort Myers

The Red Sox Are Arriving! The Red Sox Are Arriving!

Youk, Lester, Papelbon, Delcarmen, and Even Masterson Among 50 in Camp Early
Confidence at Cleanup: Youk Thinks Sox Have a 'Pretty Good Team'
... and the Yankees Are a 'Great Team' in Their Division
But Bottom Line Is Youk's a Bostonian | More of Youkilis on The Hub
Papelbon: 'It's the Same Old, Same Old'
Gift of Gabby

"It was tough, walking away from the season like that. We had a good season. Won 95 games. We made the playoffs and came up short and got beat by a team that was better than us at the time. For us, this year, I think we have a pretty good team and hopefully we can get to the playoffs again and go further than the first round." -- Kevin Youkilis to WBZ radio's Jonny Miller in Brownie Points


Will Tiger Be Back in the Swing of Things Soon?

Rehab Master Tiger Woods Phones a Friend in Hattiesburg
Reports: Woods Considering Tavistock Return

'Played Like an Absolute Dog'

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

So Much For All the He's-Better-Than-Mr.-Gisele Stories

Photos: Poutin' Payton | Shaughnessy Writing About a Wrong
Breer Offers a Mea Culpa on the Colts


BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Nomar Says It Ain't So

BDD -- Nomar's not dead yet
(BDD Photo Illustration / Chris R.)

Reports Of Garciaparra's Demise Were
Greatly Exaggerated... Or Not

Retirement Report Update: Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting
to See Old Nomar Garciaparra Stepping Into the On-Deck Circle
But Lou Merloni Says Nomie's Not Ready to Hang 'Em Up
The Most Ironic Media Hire May Wait Before Joining MLB TV
Let's Have More Cowbell Because Nomah's Calf Is Feeling Good
Hey, He's Still a Legend Aroud These Parts... For Some

More Super Bowl Picks

BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

Hell's Got the Colts, Most Everyone Else Is Praying for the Saints

Super Bowl XLIV Prediction Roundup | How the Colts-Saints Match Up
Mazz: Seeking Peyton's Place in History
The Latest from Miami

Is Nomar Throwing
in the Towel?

BDD_NG_towel_20410_bgjd.jpg
(Jim Davis / Globe File)

Report: Garciaparra Expected to Say Goodbye to Baseball

"Nomar Garciaparra ... it's widely expected that he will retire, and while he has not announced that, he has not been linked to any teams this offseason." -- San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer Susan Slusser

In a Perfect World, He Coulda Been the Next Ted Williams
And Nomie Wasn't All That Jacked in the SI Cover Photo
Nomar Gets Emotional, Dreams of Finishing in Boston
Mazz: Nomar and the Two Bostons | Gallery: Nomar Through the Years
Haaaaaaaa ... Nomar Said He Didn't Want to Leave Boston
Mr. 'False Positives' on the Steroid Problem in '04: 'Testing Is Just Not the Answer'
A Reminder to Kids: Nomar's Not a Fan of Signing Autographs
Remember When He Sat Out and Jeter Dove in the Stands? That Was Awesome
Globe Archives: Garciaparra Traded | Shaughnessy: In Short, Time for Him to Go
BDD Archives: How to Leave Boston on Bad Terms | Soccer Bomb
Achilles' Heel Is Fine Now | Thanks Blue-tiful


BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)

"Kids crying all over Boston for a month or two, or maybe some even now still crying at night going to sleep. Nomar was... hey look, I feel it's saad that Nomar's still not a Red Sock. He was the link. Williams. Yaz. Nomar..." -- ESPN's Nomar Delusionist Chris Berman, October 2004

Herald: Padres GM Hoyer: Not So Fast on Adrian Gonzalez
LA Times: 'Ramirez Provision' Banned | Where's Manny?
NY Post: A-Rod Dating Like a Man Possessed

Sneak Preview

BDD Photo Illustration
(BDD Photo Illustration)

Next Week on Lost, Captain Jason Varitek
Finds Himself Back on the Island


NESN.com: 'Tek Takes You Through a Workout, and His House


Pedroia's Pumped and Jacked
For the New Season

Dustin's Working Out, and Bradford's In the House

WEEI.com: A Day in the Life of Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia Mends Some Fences in Woodland
TATB: 20 Predictions for the 2010 Sox | Best Boston Sports Nicknames

Missing Mary Ann?

BDD
(BDD Photo Illustration)

Mary Ann Tom Has Turned Into Ginger Brady

"At what point did things change on Gilligan's Island? Brady used to be Mary Ann, now he is Ginger. Peyton used to be Ginger, maybe even Mrs. Howell (Lovey), and now has become Mary Ann! Brady used to be the likeable 6th rounder who defied odds and someone you always wanted to hang with (Mary Ann), now he runs in exclusive circles and has become that untouchable--almost insufferable (pictures of yourself w/a animal over your shoulders) person you can not relate to (Ginger). Meanwhile, Manning has gone from the elitist, robotic QB that no one could stand/want to hang with even though they are immensely talented (Ginger) to now the self depreciating, likable midwesterner that you may just want to hang out with (Mary Ann). Seriously, at this point, whose house would you want to go over to for a BBQ? Aside from the fact that Gisele would be at one---and let's face it, at this point I am not even sure Brady WOULD HAVE A BBQ---probably a fondue party where the required dress would be an ascot. Good grief Tom---get back to being Mary Ann!" -- Rick B.


BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons
(BDD / James MacLeod Cartoons)
BDD is a feature of Boston.com. The site is not produced by the Boston Globe sports dept.

Boston Globe:

Red Sox agree to deal with Pierzynski > Sox non-tender Bailey, Kalish > Sox face arbitration decisions

Boston Herald:

Sox set Bailey, Kalish free > Doug Fister dealt to Nats > White Sox agree to 1-year contract with C Flowers

ProJo:

Pierzynski reaches deal with Red Sox > Kalish, Bailey non-tendered > Mike Napoli still ideal at first base > Middlebrooks, Red Sox both looking for improvement

NY Post:

Cashman pessimistic on Yankees re-signing Cano > Report: A-Rod called PEDs 'Food'

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