No doubt you have heard that expression before but, in this case, the meaning is not what it seems. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to the official start of spring training! It has come just in the nick of time after another Patriots Super Bowl collapse, the pitiful play of the Celtics, and the Bruins in a funk. (Someone, quick, check the Boston Garden for empty boxes of Popeye’s chicken!) Pitchers and catchers have reported (early) and position players have shown up before their appointed hour. Perhaps in their haste to put the Great Collapse of 2011 behind them, the Red Sox appear ready to rock. We have heard from some of last year’s offenders, such as Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz who each get an A- for appearing contrite and apologetic, and Josh Beckett who gets a C- for being…well…Josh Beckett. They appear ready to move on. We can only talk about chicken and beer for so long. All the chicken jokes have been clucked. It’s time to move on. Red Sox veteran knuckleballer, Tim Wakefield, has officially hung ’em up and Captain Jason Varitek appears to be right on his heels. The Old Towne Team is going to have a whole different look and feel this year — especially with Bobby Valentine at the helm. It is at once sad and also kind of exciting to wonder what will happen this year. So, I declare it time to look ahead to spring and put last fall behind us. Oh, don’t worry — I have not lost my edge. Like a stubborn Josh Beckett who is not ready to move on from his anger at whoever leaked to the press, I am not completely over it. I will always be loyal to My Team even if they don’t give a flying fig about my loyalty. It’s the price we pay for being fans. But I have a more realistic view about life in the big leagues — and it is not terribly attractive. I will forgive and move on but I will never forget feeling fooled, duped, and angry at the lack of effort I witnessed before my very eyes. So, my dear Red Sox, I will be watching. I will be watching for signs of life this spring. I suspect there will be many others watching as well. I would suggest that you, my dear Red Sox, do not get off to another 0 – 6 start like last year. No longer the golden boys in town, you have no place to hide. We are watching.
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