Things I’ve contemplated while waiting under the mistletoe, and waiting, and waiting

• I haven’t been very happy with the Red Sox’s offseason moves so far, but I think the Daisuke Matsuzaka signing may turn into the best of the Theo Epstein era, this side of David Ortiz. If he reaches his incentives, Matsuzaka will be the biggest bargain in baseball at $10 million a year. And, of course, Scott Boras will probably have him holding out for a new contract by year 3.

But it’s a stretch to think Matsuzaka will be the staff ace from Opening Day, 2007. It’s going to take some time for him to adjust to a new team, a new culture, a new brand of baseball (not to mention loaded American League lineups), and this has me worried. There is a segment of Red Sox Nation, the most vocal one at that, that has no patience and takes it way too personally when someone costs a lot of money and doesn’t dominate every time they’re on the field. They’re the ones who will be factoring the $51 million posting fee into Matsuzaka’s salary, even though he won’t see a cent of it (and even though it doesn’t hurt the Sox with the luxury tax) and cry that he isn’t acting like a $100 million pitcher when he’s 4-3 in May. They’ll boo and heckle him the first time he goes to a 3-0 count. I’d understand if Matsuzaka wants to wait a while before starting the English lessons.

• That having been said, it’s going to be hard not to be a hypocrite and resist the urge to get all over J.D. Drew when he goes 1-for-15 in the first series with the Yankees.

• If Red Sox ownership had a sense of humor, the plane would have touched down at Hanscom on Wednesday, the door would have opened, and Doug Mirabelli would have emerged in full uniform with a state police escort awaiting him on the tarmac.

• At what point will the Boston media start asking why the Patriots are so beset by injuries every year? When it happens one year, that’s just the breaks of football. Two years in a row? Maybe you’re snakebit. Three years in a row? It’s time to wonder what is causing, or at least contributing to, the pattern. Injuries are a part of the game, but this is getting ridiculous.

• Why do I suddenly feel less comfortable in the knowledge that the entire Patriots offensive line is signed to long-term contracts?

• I know LaDainian Tomlinson is having a record-breaking year, but he’s the MVP in fantasy football. Drew Brees is the NFL MVP, hands down.

• I have some DVDs of NFL games from the 1970s and 1980s and it’s funny to see some of the things that you just don’t see anymore in football. Wide receivers used to line up in a three-point stance. Punters used to wipe their hands with a towel and then just leave it in the middle of the field while they were kicking. Referees used to just call it “offsides” instead of “neutral zone infraction, unabated to the quarterback.” And the Raiders used to win.

• Speaking of dying NFL traditions, whose idea was it to take away Saturday afternoon football in December? I used to be able to enjoy a game while decorating the tree or wrapping presents with my family. Now, I have to listen to Feliz Navidad for the 807th time.

• Any Celtics fan who thinks it would be a good idea for Danny Ainge to trade for Allen Iverson because it would give the Celtics a chance to make the playoffs should find another team to cheer into mediocrity. Any Celtics fan who wants them to get Allen Iverson just because it would make the team more “entertaining” should give up on basketball altogether.

• You’re either a high school basketball fan or you’re not, but if you’ve ever thought about moving from the latter category into the former, this is the year to do it. We have more terrific teams (Edward Little, Mt. Blue, Mountain Valley, Maranacook, Dirigo and Winthrop) and players (Troy Barnies and fellow future Black Bear Sean McNally, Andy Shorey and Ryan Martin) within an hour drive of Lewiston now than at any time that I can remember.

• Anyone who can’t grasp why it’s so hard to find coaches these days need only study the resignation of Dana Doran at Gardiner to understand.

• First Jon Lester, now Phil Kessel. I think I speak for everyone when I say I’ve had enough with young athletes battling cancer. Nothing would make me happier in 2007 than to see both of them with a clean bill of health and back in action.


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