Monday, April 03, 2006

Ah, Spring!

I am a happy man. That is always the case on Opening Day, and though I don't know that I have much more reason to be happy this year than others in recent Red Sox history, I find myself surprisingly pleased with this year's team. After all of the off-season turmoil and upheaval, I came out the end of it all with a positive outlook on the team.

Coco Crisp has been great, as has Mark Loretta and Josh Beckett, three huge new additions. Kevin Youkilis responded better than anyone could have hoped to being handed a full-time job, posting a monster Spring. Manny is in the best shape I've ever seen him in a Sox uniform, and the same could be said of Trot Nixon. Papi is Papi, and The Captain is The Captain. The only lineup spots that concern me are on the new left side of the infield, but Alex Gonzalez wasn't brought in for his bat, so anything we get there is a bonus. And Mike Lowell not only brings Gold Glove defense, but a professional attitude and a bat that, when working properly, can be dangerous in Fenway. Since it looked like he found his stroke at the end of Spring Training, I'm guessing he'll be just fine, thank you, at third base this year.

Sure, there are bullpen questions, and I still don't know where J.T. Snow or Wily Mo Pena really fit on this team, plus a lot of the starters are old. But this is a good team, there's even more talent on the way, and hardly anyone is picking the Red Sox to make the playoffs, let alone win anything, so there's no pressure of any kind.

Color me happy.

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