And so it begins…

Are you ready for possibly one of the great sports weekends of all time? The weather is supposed to be great and yet people who have significant others who are sports fans are going to have a hard time getting them out of the house. The latest chapter in the Red Sox/Yankees saga is this weekend. The Yankees come into Fenway Park for a three game series up one game, with the division on the line.

Respectfully, perhaps Steven Krasner and Bill Ballou might want to give David Ortiz a little more consideration for the MVP award than perhaps they have to this point. Of course, there’s no doubt that this weekend will go a long way towards deciding the award, but the two writers might want to give a second thought to the theory that just because the offensive stats are similar, Ortiz should lose points because of his role as a DH. They, and many others seem fixated with Ortiz being a DH, so much so that they are blinded to just how Valuable this guy is in comparison to A-Rod. Ortiz did it again last night, not once, but TWICE. tying the game in the eighth with a solo home run and singling in the winning run in the ninth.

Chris Snow analyzes the win, which kept the Red Sox just one game behind the Yankees in the AL East. Jeff Horrigan also looks at Ortiz, who helped keep the Red Sox from falling two games back of the Yankees with three to play. The aforementioned Steven Krasner calls it “another MVP moment for Ortiz. Hmmm. David Heuschkel notes that it was more that just Ortiz in this one. Manny Ramirez brought the Red Sox to within one with a two run homer earlier in the game. David Borges says that the Ortiz heroics setting up this weekends series with the Yankees seemed inevitable. Joe Haggerty examines a game rich with indelible moments.

Gordon Edes has more on Ortiz, who continues to hold the Red Sox playoffs hopes in his arms. Jim Donaldson looks at Ortiz solidifying his case for MVP. Jim, you might want to have a chat with your colleague there…the one holding the MVP vote…Jeff Jacobs has more on Big Papi answering the MVP call. Steve Buckley has Ortiz dispensing some advice to his pitching staff for the Yankees series. Tony Massarotti notes that we still have no idea how this season is going to turn out, and might not know for three, four or five days still. Horrigan looks at Manny setting a tone with his home run last night. Rich Thompson and Tony Chamberlain each report on Jonathan Papelbon, who was another hero last night with 2 2/3 innings of dominating relief, invoking comparisons to Roger Clemens from some corners. Jon Couture outlines 10 moments to remember from this season which helped get us to where we sit today. Thompson has a brief bit on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton on special order from the Nationals. Horrigan looks at Lenny DiNardo improving his stock with the Red Sox.

Lenny Megliola says that we got what we wanted and wished for…a season ending Yankees/Red Sox series for all the marbles. Alex Speier previews yet another huge Red Sox/Yankees series, one that could even see a bonus game added. Jeff Goldberg looks at the media crush that will be around for this weekend series. Expect no surprises from Dan Shaughnessy. Red Sox/Yankees is also the topic of a Globe Editorial. Tony Chamberlain has Curt Schilling saying that he knew that things would come down to this final series. Jon Couture agrees with Johnny Damon that Red Sox/Yankees must be part of the divine plan. Steve Buckley (Subscription only) writes that this is a fitting end to the season. He notes that some take issue with how MLB devised their schedule, but says they really only screwed up in having the Red Sox and Yankees start the season against each other. In the Projo, Elizabeth Gudrais looks at a Red Sox fan in New York, and Mark Arsenault looks at a Yankees fan in New England. Suzanne Smalley reports on the police reinforcements which will be sent to Fenway for the games.

Heuschkel’s notebook has Kevin Millar denying that he was the one who took verbal shots at Curt Schilling. Borges’ notebook has more on the Red Sox picking up Mike Stanton for the weekend series against the Yankees. Garry Brown’s notebook has more on Stanton’s return, as does Snow’s notebook, which has a good number of other items as well. Krasner’s notebook looks at Jonathan Papelbon continuing to show his star potential. Horrigan’s notebook examines another poor outing for Matt Clement, who will work out of the bullpen this weekend.

The New York papers are also chock full of Red Sox/Yankees stories and coverage. Get the stories over at the New York Sports News page.

Karen Guregian speculates this morning that Tedy Bruschi might be thinking about coming back sooner than anticipated. She asked him about it, and believes it to be of interest that instead of denying it, he issued a “no comment” statement. Jessica Heslam in the Herald briefly talks to a couple of doctors about the possibility of a return to NFL play for Bruschi. Jerome Solomon has a good piece this morning on Guss Scott, who will be counted on to take a lot of the load at safety in the absence of Rodney Harrison. Just don’t compare him to Harrison, physically or verbally. Alan Greenberg and Chris Kennedy each have articles on Patrick Pass, who will also see an increased role on the field with the absence of Kevin Faulk. More and more, Pass has become a guy that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have confidence in, and perhaps the best thing that ever happened to him was getting released back in 2003. Michael Parente has a look at Amos Zereoue, who is cramming and getting prepared to get on the field for the Patriots.

Albert Breer says that Marty Schottenheimer knows that no matter how many injuries that the Patriots have, they’re going to come to play on Sunday. Ian M Clark has a look at the injuries that just keep piling up for the Patriots and how they’re addressing them. Eric McHugh notes that perhaps the Patriots gave Tom Brady so much time off during camp because they knew he was going to be throwing the ball so much early in the season. Those panic discussions from the like of Gary Tanguay seem pretty silly at this point, don’t they? Guregian looks at how Doug Flutie might help out the Patriots this week with his knowledge of the San Diego offense. Interesting observation in there that Flutie has played with both Walter Payton and LaDainian Tomlinson. That’s pretty amazing, actually.

Tom E Curran says that this Chargers offense is the very best that the Patriots will see in the first half of the season. Christopher Price also looks at the Chargers weapons on offense and discusses what might be the best ways for the Patriots to attack them. Solomon’s notebook and Kennedy’s notebook each have Zereoue’s former teammates in Pittsburgh giving him a hard time for deciding to sign with the Patriots. Guregian’s notebook has more on Zereoue coming to New England and getting up to speed on the playbook. Curran’s notebook also looks at Zereoue, and how he’s holding Kevin Faulk’s place for him while he heals up.

Jim Lazar and Jim McCabe each make their NFL picks. In the Herald, Double D and I.M. Bettor also make their selections and place their money for the weekend’s pro action. Patrick Hanrahan has his Fantasy advice for the weekend. The Globe tells you Who’s hot and Who’s not.

Check out coverage from San Diego on the Union-Tribune Sports page. Included is a piece on long-time Charger Rodney Harrison and if he is a Hall of Fame Candidate. Included are comments from Harrison this week on his injury and future.

Shira Springer continues to warm up for the beginning of Celtics training camp with an interview with captain Paul Pierce, who makes it clear he wants to stay in Boston, for good. Keep checking back with the BSMW Full Court Press, as more training camp previews are posted. Yesterday, the centers were examined. Celtics Blog also has a look at Pierce as the season nears.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Douglas Flynn each report on Sergei Samsonov as the speedy winger went through a full practice yesterday. Flynn also reports on Jonathan Girard being sent down to Providence, which is also covered by Joe McDonald and in Burrell’s notebook.

Check out Scott’s Shots which features an extensive interview with Bill Simmons as the ESPN Page2 columnist and former Boston Sports Guy weighs in on how he got to where he is, what held him back in Boston, and what the future holds. Bill Griffith looks ahead to a huge sports weekend, featuring wall-to-wall Red Sox coverage. Jim Baker also looks ahead to the weekend of Red Sox, Patriots and college football viewing. Andrew Neff examines why some Maine residents had to wait a while to get their Patriots/Steelers broadcast from CBS last Sunday.

UPN38 has Red Sox/Yankees at 7:00. (ESPN Nationally) ESPN2 has Pitt/Rutgers at 8:00.

Out of First

The Red Sox dropped out of their first place tie with the Red Sox as they were again shut down by a nemesis of theirs, lefthander Ted Lilly of the Blue Jays. If the Red Sox could make it their offseason priority to acquire Lilly and Rodrigo Lopez from the Orioles, then they would win the division in a romp. Just get those two guys and stash them in the minors somewhere, because the only team they can beat is the Red Sox. Nick Cafardo reports that that David Ortiz and the clubhouse remained loose after the game, despite the loss and the questions towards Ortiz for his bunt attempt in the seventh inning. Jeff Horrigan has Terry Francona commenting that it isn’t “fluky” that the Blue Jays keep beating the Red Sox. Kevin McNamara notes that this time it wasn’t the bullpen that imploded on the Red Sox, as Toronto teed off on starter Bronson Arroyo. Jeff Goldberg notes that this was certainly a bad loss at a bad time. David Borges says that Arroyo picked a poor time to have one of his worst outings of the season. Joe Haggerty asserts that if the Fenway crowd seemed lifeless and moribund, they were perhaps taking their cue from the uninspired play of the Fenway Nine on the field. Lenny Megliola looks at the Red Sox moving in the wrong direction.

Bob Ryan looks at how the Blue Jays, despite being long ago eliminated, continue to fight as if they are the ones with a playoff berth on the line. Sean McAdam says that the playoffs have already started, and the Red Sox are trailing. Kevin Gray breaks down and examines the strengths and weaknesses of the four competitors for three playoff spots remaining in the American league. Gordon Edes assigns a couple of brainiacs the task of determining the statistical probability that the Red Sox will return to the postseason. In an anti-climatic ending, they are unable to come up with the answer. Michael Silverman visits with the guys running the out of town scoreboard at Fenway, who have certainly been busy the last few days. Bill Reynolds says that things are as they should be…an old fashioned fight down to the finish.

Christopher L Gaspar looks at Bronson Arroyo’s September magic finally running out on him. Borges has a look at cousins Scott Schoeneweis and Jeremy Kapstein, who may be on opposing sides at the moment, but who share a close bond which continues to grow. Howard Bryant (subscription only) looks at Arroyo, who struggled last night while his famous nemesis, Alex Rodriguez was one of the heroes for the Yankees in their win last night. Silverman looks at one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox last night, as the bullpen was stellar after Arroyo was knocked from the game. Horrigan has an update on Keith Foulke, who is going to have season ending surgery. Tony Chamberlain reports on Alex Cora, who remains very happy to be here and playing in a playoff race.

Buddy Thomas makes his postseason award selections. Listening to The Drive on ESPN radio, it’s been interesting to note that they’ve talked to both Boston writers who have the MVP vote this year, Steven Krasner of the Providence Journal and Bill Ballou of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and both appear to be leaning strongly towards picking A-Rod for MVP for the reason that David Ortiz is only a DH. Cristina Silva has a piece in the Globe looking at how stressful this race has been for Red Sox fans. Chamberlain has a look at a guy who has always been a thorn in the side of the Red Sox, Frank Catalanotto, who stung the Sox again last night. Bruce Mohl has a piece in the Globe looking at a suit filed against 16 ticket resellers, including Ace Ticket, for scalping. Finally, Michael Silverman reveals that Manny was not relieving himself during that night in July where he went into the wall and was tardy coming out. He was merely talking, and came out late.

Cafardo’s notebook has more on Foulke’s season coming to an end. This is also the topic of McNamara’s notebook, which also notes that Francona is going to be “extra flexible” with his roster the rest of the way. Horrigan’s notebook looks at David Ortiz’s controversial bunt attempt in the seventh inning, a topic also pursued in Goldberg’s notebook. Foulke’s impending surgery is also the topic of Borges’ notebook.

John Powers in the Globe reports on the Yankees 2-1 win over Baltimore last night to move into sole possession of first place. Get all the coverage on the Yankees, as well as a number of Red Sox articles on the New York Sports News page.

Jerome Solomon looks at the void left by Matt Light, Kevin Faulk and Rodney Harrison and how the Patriots plan on filling the gaps. A fairly solid look from Solomon, when he’s not complaining about the lack of media availability to the players. Michael Felger looks at Eugene Wilson, whom the Patriots need to take the next jump in his career and become a star. While Solomon was telling us that “None of the players expected to fill the void left by Harrison were available yesterday.” Felger talked to Don Davis, and also Bill Belichick about the safety position and Wilson. Michael Parente says that facing adversity is nothing new to the Patriots, who have had to cope with this the last few years. Parente also has plenty from Don Davis about the safety spot vacated by Harrison, and what the Patriots might do to try an fill that hole. Alan Greenberg looks at a number of topics, including the injuries and the Tom Brady “Sports Century”.

Tom E Curran looks at how the Patriots will try to stop San Diego tight end Antonio Gates without the help of Rodney Harrison this Sunday. If Guss Scott is going to be involved, he’ll be giving up six inches and 55 pounds to the giant Gates. Karen Guregian looks at the threat posed by Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who is a triple threat on offense, with speed, power and good hands. Christopher Price has a look at SD quarterback Drew Brees. Albert Breer looks at Doug Flutie as he prepares to see his old San Diego teammates. Guregian notes that the absence of Harrison will take some of the edge off of the Patriots on the field. Felger talks to punter Josh Miller, who apparently isn’t a big fan of the Steelers trainer, who taunted him after a kick in the AFC title game last year. Check out the Patriots Game Day page for a preview of Patriots/Chargers.

One thing about the Patriots stance on injury information. They’ll never have a situation like the Jets are going through with Chad Pennington. In today’s NY Daily News, Rich Cimini chronicles the fiasco that has developed because of contradicting opinions regarding the extent of the injury to the Jets quarterback. With the Patriots, they’re never going to find themselves in a mess like that, having to scramble and get people on the same page, and having their head coach act like a doctor one day and then the next say he’s tired of playing doctor. They don’t give out the information, and thus do not put themselves in this situation.

Parente’s notebook looks at Kevin Faulk being sidelined. Curran’s notebook has Tomlinson disappointed that he won’t be able to go against old friend Rodney Harrison on Sunday. Solomon’s notebook looks at Michael Stone joining the team for his first practice. Guregian’s notebook looks at Faulk’s absence and the addition of Amos Zereoue.

Shira Springer looks at David Stern’s efforts to improve the image of the NBA. Check out the new BSMW Full Court Press as the training camp preview continues. A new entry should be up later today.

Stephen Harris talks to Andrew Raycroft about how the new more open style of play in the NHL will impact goaltenders. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell reports no movement on the Nick Boynton front, while Harris reports that some other teams might try to get in on the action for the defenseman.

NESN has Red Sox/Blue Jays at 7:00.

09.28.05 Afternoon

With Celtics training camp opening up next week, the Celtics Full Court Press is back in action with the first in a series of training camp previews. With the new season, we’ve got a newly designed page and address for the blog. Come check out the new page and look at the Celtics options at power forward.

Dan Pompei has a must-read article on Bill Belichick, calling him “possibly the best coach in the history of the National Football League”.

Mike Reiss continues his one-man crusade to bring respectability to the Boston Globe’s Patriots coverage with two extensive entries thus far today. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots lost much more than just a star player in Rodney Harrison. Eric McHugh examines the improvements in special teams for the Patriots against Pittsburgh. McHugh’s notebook says to watch the Patriots performance against the run in the coming weeks with the loss of Rodney Harrison.

Chaz Scoggins examines the Red Sox season as it comes down to the final five games. Mike Fine says that Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon might not be the best of friends, but they’re good teammates to each other, as Damon comes to Schilling’s defense. John Tomase indirectly speculates that the “unnamed teammate” might be Kevin Millar:

Schilling didn't name the teammate, but it should be noted that after recording a 3-1 putout last night, Schilling ignored Kevin Millar's raised glove and started the traditional around-the-horn himself, firing directly to Tony Graffanino at second without acknowledging Millar.

That is the implication, right?

Mike Loftus has an update on the progress of Jonathan Girard in his comeback with the Bruins this season. Win Bates looks at the Bruins putting a lot of trust in the new veterans they’ve brought in.

Deadspin reports on Bill Simmons’ book signing last night in NYC.