Straight Out of the Pages

Boston sports are on life support. The once big, bad Bruins look like a species facing extinction in the “new” NHL. Fans of the Paul Pierce-less Celtics found them-selves praying for the ping-pong ball Gods to deliver Greg Oden. The Patriots’ epic final four collapse at the hands of Adam Vinatieri and the hated Colts still feels like a salted open wound. However, off in the sunny Fort Myers distance, the heartbeat that is base-ball has come to resurrect a beleaguered New England fanbase. Cowboy Up, Red Sox Na-tion: spring training is here to rescue us all.Good thing, because I was having my doubts about making it through winter. “Sweet Caroline” has been on my Ipod’s repeat list since October and I keep having the same dream about Hazel Mae. I have succumbed to Jimmy Fallon’s “winter guy” syndrome in Fever Pitch. The only DVDs on rotation in Hamilton 303 are Cowboy Up and Faith Rewarded. I keep channel surfing to NESN in hopes of catching a Pedro Instant Classic.I have even re-read Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (in my new Dice-K shirt, no less). I was starting to lose it.Thankfully, help is on the way. Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek and the rest of the Sox pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 16th in Fort My-ers, Florida. For Red Sox Nation, this signifies the fruition of an annual dream: the birth of yet another spring, summer, and hopefully fall devoted entirely to everything Red Sox. It is about time. I have been going through some serious Don Orsillo and Jerry “Rem Dawg” Remy withdrawals. I feel uninformed without Dan Shaugnessy’s daily state of the Red Sox address in The Boston Globe. I need to see the Monster. I need a $6 Fenway Frank. I need to reaffirm my hatred for the Yankees. I need spring. I need the Red Sox.It has felt like an eternity but baseball season is back. It is time for Manny to be Manny. Time for Jonathan “Wild thing” Papelbon to be the next Clemens. Time to confuse “BOO” with “YOUUK”. Time to fall in love with Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew. Time for Matsuzaka mania to sweep New England. Jump on Big Papi’s back, Red Sox Nation. Starting February 16, it is time.