Happy New Year! Ringing in 2006 with Dick Clark and a chubby Mariah Carey was probably not the best way to start a year. It made me feel old, but mostly reminded me of how 2005 started so much better.

We kicked off 2005 with our beloved Red Sox as World Series champions for the first time since 1919. Just one month later, we watched the Patriots win their third Superbowl in four years. April rolled around and we watched the Sox receive their rings at Fenway, and to top it off, in front of the Yankees.

We had a lot of great baseball memories after that, but a lot of frustration and too-familiar painful memories as well. To me, ending up tied for first place with New York but still having them win the division was torture. Something that would have happened to a pre-2004 Red Sox team. When the off-season started, it started with a bang. Theo was gone, Mueller, Millar, Edgar – gone, Damon – gone. Two of our most talked about prospects, Hanley and Sanchez – gone. Manny trade rumors were (and still are) flying.

Now, we are 43 days away from spring training, and there are a lot of questions still unanswered. Who is the shortstop? Centerfielder? Lead-off hitter? It should make for an interesting January. Tejada and Matos for Manny and Clemente? Sign a fill-in left fielder and the team is pretty well set. Otherwise, keep Manny and…what?