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Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  April 19, 2012 03:24 PM

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...his decision not to attend Fenway's 100th anniversary fete. That's what former Red Sox manager Terry Francona did on Wednesday. Francona, who was not brought back as manager following the team's epic September collapse and was blemished by subsequent revelations of poor clubhouse comportment by players, initially told Dan Shaughnessy he would feel "hypocritical" attending the celebration. Francona's about-face about coming to Fenway on Friday is some much-needed good news for the Sox in a week highlighted by new manager Bobby Valentine creating a firestorm with comments questioning Kevin Youkilis' focus. Francona showing up to get a deserved salute from the fans for his eight years of service, which included a pair of World Series titles, might finally allow the healing process to begin for the Sox, on and off the field. It's been obvious thus far that the wounds of last season remain raw and only festered during the offseason. Perhaps, Francona's presence will prove cathartic for him, his former players and the fans, who have lashed out at his replacement as a symbol of their displeasure with the team's current state. Last September can be buried, once and for all, on the sacred grounds of Fenway, so the Red Sox can resume the business of winning baseball games.
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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news


...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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